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Pessimism paralyses.  The best thinkers on climate change including those quoted here advocate optimism and lead advocating and initiating innovation and creativity.  Lead with optimism.

Joyce Msuya, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations

“I am an eternal, impatient optimist. The environmental challenges we face are daunting but I believe we have the knowledge, ingenuity and tools to transform our planet. We owe it to future generations. In the last year, the state of our environment has been making headline news and young people are on the streets holding us to account. This groundswell of commitment grows each day and I am incredibly optimistic because time and again, humanity has risen to the challenge and I believe we can do so again. As anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.”

Youssef Nassef, Climate Adaptation Director, UNFCCC

"What makes me optimistic? I believe in the ability of humankind to imminently reverse the degradation of its interface with nature - an imperative condition for our continued existence on Earth."

Bruce Davis, Managing Director of Abundance Investment

"Optimism fuels invention. Optimism fuels change. Optimism finds ways to solve problems.  Climate change is a cause that needs optimism."

Thomas Waitz

"We have to stay optimistic or we won't find solutions to implement the Paris agreement into practical policies.  We keep optimistic that we will find solutions"

Michael Mann

“People ask me how I can possibly be optimistic about prospects for averting dangerous climate change in the face of the obstacles standing in our way.  I tell them it's simple. It's all about the re-engagement of young folks we are witnessing today"

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK

 "I have always been deeply optimistic about the potential of technology to make the world a better place. If we get this right, future generations will look back on climate change as a problem that we solved by determined global action and the prowess of technology."

Francesc Badia

"The Amazon, now on fire, has become the central political and geopolitical hot spot for humanity’s right to its own future. Optimism is the gasoline that must feed the fight."

in "The Open Amazon and its Enemies: a Call for Action and Optimism"

Bina Venkataraman, author of "The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age" 

"as tempting as defeatism may be, there are practical reasons not to jump on this bandwagon. Even if it were true that we’re nearing the end of the world as we have known it, what we would need, more than ever, is optimism. Not the Pollyannaish belief that we are destined for brighter days or the naive hope that the arc of history bends toward justice, but an engaged kind of optimism — where we see the possibility of social and political change, even amid despair, and then act to make it happen."

Climate Change and Innovation: Opportunities and Optimism

Jacinda Ardern, PM of New Zealand

"You may well argue that, based on our current trajectory, now is not the time for optimism.  But if we only talk about the loss of glacier mass or sea level rises we run the risk of a society that believes all is lost and that it is simply too late. It is not. No one has the luxury of copping out. Not those who deny climate change, nor those who believe it’s too far gone. "Now is the time for optimism and for hope and crucially a plan.”

Antonio Guterres, Secretary General, United Nations

"The vibrant contributions of regions, cities, businesses and investors, and the fact that the public is engaging with governments makes me optimistic that we can reverse the trends of Climate Change"

Crucke Jean-Luc, Ministre Wallon du Budget

“If you really want to combat climate change, the weapon to use that does not result in fatalities is innovation. Counter pessimism with optimism and intelligence. This fuels innovation.”

Imran Ahmad

“Optimism is what keeps us moving, it helps in achieving our goals and a better society. My work on climate change and sustainability is driven by optimism, a sustainable future for all."

Shyla Raghav Vice President, Climate Change at Conservation International

"The incredibly powerful voice and commitment of young people makes me optimistic about our chances of solving the climate crisis."

David Roberts @drvox

“When it comes to climate change, there is no such thing as “game over” or “too late” or “screwed” or “no hope.”

David Wallace-Wells

"I don’t believe fear and alarm are the only options; there is a place for hope and optimism."

Gerald Kutney

"Science is a powerful force, and the science of climate change, especially, has gotten stronger every decade. The day is rapidly approaching that science will prevail and meaningful policies against climate change will be enacted. I am optimistic that climate change can still be beaten."

Dr Steven Moffic

"I am an optimist about the climate because even with the dire scientific projections and continued denial by politicians and some public, we have the ingenuity to discover safer energy technology and the psychological expertise to further overcome our denial of the climate risks."

While Australia Burns: What Psychiatrists Can Learn From Each Other

Climate Action as a Source of Optimism

Professor Daniel SchwartzBoeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering

I am optimistic about this being *the* consequential decade where we get on track for arresting global greenhouse gas emissions because:

  • The price/performance balance has tipped to favor renewable energy and battery electric vehicles, so society is on the cusp of a decade-worth of exponential growth in adoption.
  • The mobilization of massive companies like Seattle's Microsoft and Amazon toward addressing their roles and responsibility for climate change feels fundamentally different than in the past, and that matters, because you only become one of the five biggest publicly traded companies if you know how to execute global-scale goals.
  • The megatrends driving renewable energy and zero emission vehicle adoption are more about technology and manufacturing advances, as well as environmental/social responsibility goals of investors, consumers, and employees, rather than public policy actions, which makes it feel like a robust movement.

Daisaku Ikeda, President of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist network

"When young people's will to transform reality merges with an indomitable optimism, the possibilities are limitless."

(See January 2020 Press Release)

Malcolm Crompton Information Integrity Solutions

"What makes me optimistic is that the next generation may be waking up to the real issues of our time: climate change and the rise in income inequality and demanding action."

Saleem ul Huq, ICCCAD IIED

"The biggest reason for a renewed sense of optimism is the unleashing of the power of youth across the world to mobilize for actions in every country that recognizes  climate change as the emergency it is."

Rob Gell

"I am optimistic that the world's most influential corporations understand that 'business as usual' is not sustainable; that the major risks to business are now global warming-related; that the rapid switch to renewable energy generation is essential"

Miranda McKearney 

"it's the rising generation that makes me Optimistic - especially their leadership on climate change.”

Wendy Born

"The youth of today makes me really optimistic about the future. They have such direction and enthusiasm, and they are conscious of things like climate change and other world issues at such a young age."


Gerald Butts, Eurasia Group

"I'm going to say something you don't hear set very often when it comes to climate change. You should be an optimist. You should be a skeptical optimist, but an optimist nonetheless. Let me explain what I mean. We are scaling up climate solutions faster than even the most ardent among us thought possible a decade ago. Consider this. In 2010, about half of US electricity was generated from coal. This year less than 20% will be, and it's trending towards zero at increasing velocity..."

"I'm #optimistic because the demographics are finally on the side of #climate action."

Renowned physicist Professor Brian Cox is optimistic that humanity can come up with the "tremendous technological advances" needed to reverse climate change.


Sue Reid has Reasons To Be Optimistic After Disappointing COP

"Investors are mobilizing on climate action more than ever before"

"Public pressure for Climate Action at the necessary speed and scale has never been stronger"

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