Conservation optimism – a movement for all

E.J. Milner Gulland Munib Khanyari

Basic • burnout, psychology, biodiversity loss, public, social media • 50 Seats • Short • Starts at 14:00 – 16:30 on DAY 3

In this workshop we will start with a presentation explaining the background to conservation optimism, why we feel it is important, and how it fits within the broader discourse on the future of the planet. We start by talking about how damaging and disempowering an unremitting “gloom and doom” message is for both conservationists and the general public. We present evidence from psychology that a more positive framing can lead to better engagement with conservation messages among the public and highlight the potential for isolation, burnout and despair amongst conservation professionals. We next introduce the Conservation Optimism movement and set it within the context of sister Optimism movements (Ocean Optimism, Earth Optimism). We lay out the philosophy underlying conservation optimism, its aims and theory of change, and its ambitions as a grassroots network.

Following a Q&A, we break people into groups to discuss:
a) is there a need for Conservation Optimism? b) what are the challenges and pitfalls and how could they be overcome? c) how can it inspire change in the general public, government, business, and engage new sectors in conservation? d) how can it support conservation professionals to do their jobs better and improve their wellbeing? e) how could we as individuals engage with such a movement? In plenary we will discuss the answers to these questions and wrap up with a way forward.