I’m Peter Neill, director of the World Ocean Observatory.
With this edition, World Ocean Radio begins an informal partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Ocean Portal to address ocean solutions and innovative projects in the context of the Global Earth Optimism Summit to be held on Earth Day Weekend, April 21-23, 2017, in Washington DC, and around the world.
The mission, as announced by the Smithsonian, is as follows:
“The global conservation movement has reached a turning point. After decades of patient study, we have documented the fast pace of habitat loss, the growing number of endangered and extinct species, and the increasing speed of global climate change. We have communicated our findings to a concerned public, and we have their attention.
But this is the beginning, not the end, of a conversation. For while the seriousness of these threats cannot be denied, there are a growing number of examples of improvements in the health of species and ecosystems, along with benefits to human well being, thanks to our conservation actions. Innovations to reduce our impact on the planet are also starting to make a difference.
On Earth Day weekend in April 2017, the Smithsonian will convene colleagues from around the world - thought leaders, practitioners, pioneering scientists and researchers, major civic and industry participants, artists, national and international media, and philanthropists - to discuss and share solutions. What’s working in conservation, why, and how can we scale up and replicate our successes? What are the best minds, boldest experiments, and most innovative community practices telling us about how to preserve biodiversity, protect natural resources, and address climate change?
The DC proceedings will be live-streamed for global viewing, and sister events will take place around the world. With its 2017 Earth Optimism Summit, the Smithsonian Institution’s Ocean Portal celebrates a change in focus from problem to solution, from a sense of loss to one of hope, in a dialogue about conservation and sustainability. We invite you to join us in pursuit of the models and success stories that will inspire progress at the species, ecosystem, and global level, grounded in sound science and collective experience.”
The event is intended to be “a celebration of success, where the science and stories of conservation accomplishments are shared and discussed. The goal is to overwhelm participants with the magnitude and diversity of what is working in conservation, moving the conversation from doom and gloom to optimism and opportunity. The audience is intended to be thought leaders, practitioners, pioneering scientists and researchers, major civic and industry participants, artists, national and international media, and philanthropists. There will be a special emphasis on youth and traditionally under-represented groups; streamed internet access to plenary and concurrent sessions; films, storytelling, the arts, musical performances and theater; and public conversations featuring major figures in the conservation and innovation world addressing issues such as biodiversity and agriculture, saving species and protecting spaces, energy of the future, sustainable cities, and environmental justice.”
In anticipation of this event, the World Ocean Observatory, through World Ocean Radio and its social media, will broadcast a series of profiles of exemplars and environmental innovators and ocean activists, individuals and organizations around the world that are but a sample of the new vision, new ideas and inventions, and new behaviors that are transforming our relationship with the natural world.
Why optimism? Well, it surely beats the depressing pessimism that grips so much of the news today. Optimism may be defined as “a disposition or tendency to take a favorable view of things and to anticipate favorable results,” and such an orientation is evermore necessary particularly when times seem dire. Conservationists, on land and sea, have made and are making still major changes in how we engage on every level and in every place with the urgent need to preserve natural places, endangered species, and ecological systems. Through research, innovative practices, and political activity, they are changing our world for the better. This is neither naïve nor ineffective; it is hard work, persistence, commitment, and success in many more ways than we may today know or yet understand. The Global Earth Optimism Summit, and the people and projects we will describe are on the front line of “favorable results” and should be known and celebrated.
We will discuss these issues, and more, in future editions of World Ocean Radio.
With this edition of World Ocean Radio we embark on an informal partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Ocean Portal to address ocean solutions and innovative projects in the context of the Global Earth Optimism Summit to be held Earth Day Weekend in April 2017. The Smithsonian will convene thought leaders, scientists, philanthropists, the media and more to discuss and share solutions. In this episode we introduce the ideas behind the Earth Optimism Summit and the subsequent series of radio broadcasts profiling exemplary people and projects, new visions, new ideas, inventions, and new behaviors that are transforming our relationship with the natural world.
About World Ocean Radio
Peter Neill, Director of the World Ocean Observatory and host of World Ocean Radio, provides coverage of a broad spectrum of ocean issues from science and education to advocacy and exemplary projects. World Ocean Radio, a project of the World Ocean Observatory, is a weekly series of five-minute audio essays available for syndicated use at no cost by college and community radio stations worldwide. A selection of episodes is now available in Portuguese, Spanish, French, Swahili, and Mandarin, enabling us to reach 75% of the world's population. For more information, visit WorldOceanObservatory.org/world-ocean-radio-global.
Space Station View of the Chesapeake Bay, July 2016 | NASA
About the Earth Optimism Summit
April 21 - 23, 2017
The Earth Optimism Summit, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute’s Ocean Portal, will be an unprecedented gathering of thought leaders, practitioners, pioneering scientists and researchers, major civic and industry participants, national and international media, and philanthropists who make up the conservation-minded citizens of our world. They will convene to discuss and share solutions – what are the best minds, boldest experiments, and most innovative community practices telling us about how to preserve biodiversity, protect natural resources, and address climate change?
The Earth Optimism Series is brought to you by the World Ocean Observatory in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Ocean Portal, to raise awareness of the Earth Optimism Summit during Earth Day weekend, April 21-23, 2017 in Washington, D.C. and around the world. Share your ideas at earthoptimism.si.edu.
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