skip to content

Press release: Conservationists unite in Earth Optimism

Conservation and sustainability experts to highlight the need for optimism in an online celebratory festival.

Celebrity speakers, leading conservationists and youth leaders are coming together to deliver stories of hope for our natural world in a free, open-to-all virtual event running from the 26 March to 4 April 2021.

Led by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, and taking place in conjunction with the Cambridge Festival, Sir David Attenborough, Liz Bonnin and Chris Packham, along with leading conservationists, will celebrate environmental success stories from around the world.

2021 is a pivotal year for biodiversity, with an unprecedented series of meetings of world leaders setting out the conservation agenda for the next decade. Celebrating the conservation wins, as well as learning what individuals can do for the planet, is critical in setting the stage for these discussions.

Sir David Attenborough said: "We all know that there are great problems but we don’t hear enough of some of the successes. Successes which can give us the courage, information and the inspiration which we need to continue.”

Earth Optimism includes talks such as Why Nature Inspires Optimism by award-winning author Helen MacDonald; Lessons from the Dodo: Saving Species and Rebuilding Ecosystems by Carl Jones, a conservationist who has saved more species from extinction than almost anyone else alive; and Stubborn Optimism with Tom Rivett-Carnac, one of the key instigators in the UN’s Paris Climate Accord.

More than thirty passionate speakers in the Stories of Hope sessions will present compelling accounts of conservation success from the restoration of Wicken Fen to a group of women saving the golden eagle in Mexico, sharks in the waters around the Maldives and the critically endangered Mauritius kestrel. The event will also be hosting a Film Festival with documentaries from across the world.

In the Importance of the Natural World, TV star and presenter Chris Packham will explain his reasons for being optimistic about the future of nature, and his insights into why the natural world is so important for us all. During Hope for our Planet Liz Bonnin discusses how to solve the planetary crisis with Sir David Attenborough, who will also be answering questions sent in by audiences around the world.

Running alongside the talks and interviews, the event will include a Solutions Fair, an interactive series of digital activities for all ages. Drop in to discover what you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint, support biodiversity and live more sustainably. Featuring ‘stalls’ from local eco-businesses to international conservation organisations, the Solutions Fair will cover everything from making our gardens wildlife-friendly, and using our pensions to tackle the climate crisis to ways of reconnecting children with the natural world.

Dr Rosie Trevelyan, director of the Tropical Biology Association and organiser said: “We are shining a light on stories that teach us valuable lessons that can be scaled-up. Earth Optimism offers an invitation to focus on the positive and the potential of nature to recover, while reminding us of our responsibility to do what we can, wherever we are, rather than resigning ourselves to apathy over nature’s fate.”

You can see a full list of Stories of Hope speakers and Solutions Fair stalls on our website. The entire event is free for the public, but booking is required for the talks. For more information please visit


For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Ness Amaral-Rogers, Science Communications Executive: 07506 144901 / 

Editor’s notes:

  1. Earth Optimism Cambridge is being hosted by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and nine leading internationally focused biodiversity conservation organisations based in and around Cambridge, UK  
  2. The Cambridge Festival hosts an extensive programme of over 350 free, online events that tackle many of the critical global challenges affecting us all. Coordinated by the University of Cambridge Public Engagement team, it features hundreds of prominent figures and experts in the world of science, current affairs and the arts, and focusses on four key themes: health, society, environment, and explore.
  3. The event in Cambridge is one of a number of #EarthOptimism celebrations happening around the world, alongside Cambridge, Sydney, Nairobi and Rio are all holding their own events over the next few weeks. To find out what other countries are doing, visit