It may feel like climate change is too big a problem to overcome but don’t lose hope because people and communities around the world are working together right now to develop solutions that will help preserve our planet for generations to come.
The Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Initiative was created to shine a light on the people who are developing sustainable solutions that preserve nature as well as our own well-being. By changing the narrative from one that dwells on the negative to one that celebrates optimism and opportunity, we aim to inspire all students, activists, and community leaders to start thinking about what Life on a Sustainable Planet means to them and become part of the growing team that is building a sustainable future for all.
- The Earth Optimism Youth Action and Leadership Program provides opportunities for teen changemakers to identify problems in their communities and work together to build sustainable solutions.
- The Smithsonian Science for Global Goals project provides free curriculum materials for teachers to use with students ages 8-18 across the globe to help them use Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education to discover, understand, and act on the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Guides provide support for 2-12 weeks of instruction, are available in multiple languages, and cover topics such as biodiversity, biotechnology, food security, mosquito-borne disease, sustainable communities, environmental justice, and more.
For lifelong learners:
- The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s monthly Virtual Earth Optimism Lectures feature talks by experts about science and conservation projects from around the world
- The Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Summits celebrates conservation success stories. Explore a selection of inspiring recorded sessions from our two summits on our 2017 Youtube playlist and our 2020 Youtube playlist.
- In 2022, the Earth Optimism x Folklife Festival brought storytellers, community leaders, innovators, scientists, artists, and more out to the National Mall to explore new ways of living, learning, and working towards a more sustainable future. Browse through blogs, playlists, and more with Smithsonian Folklife.