Stubborn optimism is a deliberate mindset.
Humanity has the capacity and ingenuity to address any challenge – including the climate crisis.
Optimism is not the result of a success, it is the necessary input for addressing any challenge if we want a chance of success.
Optimism is not blind to reality. It is not oblivious to the hard facts. Optimism is a choice.
The climate and ecological crises are accelerating with terrifying speed. The resulting suffering and the ongoing loss of lives and livelihoods is devastating. Climate and Earth systems scientists are screaming red-alert from the rooftops, but have also made clear that humanity still has an opportunity to create a world in which we can thrive, rather than one in which we struggle to survive.
For this, two key transformations need to occur this decade. We must:
1. Cut global greenhouse gas emissions in half, and
2. Protect all remaining ecosystems from further destruction, actively repairing and regenerating those we have depleted.
There is no guarantee we will succeed: we have never done anything like this before. And we are coming at this from a strongly entrenched high-carbon, extractive economy.
Some will say that it is too late, too difficult – that making the enormous changes we need is now impossible. With a stubbornly optimistic mindset, we believe ‘impossible is not a fact, it is an attitude’. And our attitudes are fully under our control.
We have the responsibility and the historic opportunity to choose a better future today. The generations before us didn’t have the scientific knowledge or the technology to enable a choice. And for our children it will be too late – by the time they sit at the decision-making tables the choice will have been made.
When faced with an enormous challenge that we feel we have no agency or control over, our mind can do a little trick to protect us. We don't like to feel like we're out of control facing big forces, so our mind will tell us: 'Maybe it's not that important. Maybe it's not happening in the way that people say, anyway.' Or, it plays down our own role: 'There's nothing that you individually can do, so why try?'
As Global Optimism's Founding Partners Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac learned during their stewardship of the Paris Agreement, if you do not control the complex landscape of a challenge (and you rarely do), the most powerful thing you can do is change how you behave in that landscape, using yourself as a catalyst for overall change.
Who we are and how we show up in the world defines how we work with others, how we interact with our surroundings and ultimately the future we co-create.
Global Optimism invites and inspires people and businesses from all over the world to face the climate crisis head on and take action towards a regenerative future. We do this through trusted partnerships, an award-winning podcast, and public engagements. If you'd like to learn more about our work, please visit here.