Why Optimism Will Save the Planet: Katie Patrick

"We need a beautiful optimistic vision of the amazing future we are making. And amongst the onslaught of negative news about our planet, this vision has been painfully missing."

So said Katie Patrick in her Ted Talk "Why Optimism and Creativity (Not Doom) Will Save the Planet."


"So you've heard my version of I Have a Dream. What's yours? What would the vast and endless sea be that you would have people join you on? What would you write on this notepad? And this dream of yours, it has a secret superpower. It's optimism. Think of optimism like a vitamin. Study after study shows that optimism is good for you. Optimists work harder; optimists make more money. Optimists are healthier. Optimists even live longer. And optimists achieve their goals because they don't give up. And when it comes to changing the world, being optimistic about the future of climate change or food or democracy, it doesn't mean living in a naive bubble of complacency; It's having a goal and having the fire of motivation in you to make that dream happen.

And optimists are happier. And that's because in the brain, optimism releases dopamine, the chemical responsible for happiness and motivation. And happiness matters in our quest to save the world because a positive mood allows us to solve complex problems and come up with great ideas...

"I'm talking about tackling the biggest engineering design challenge that ever was - building a modern civilization that can exist harmoniously and sustainably on the planet. That requires a vast revolution in all of our infrastructure. Our factories, our farming, our scientific research, our electricity grid, the way we teach our children, and even how we eat need to be redesigned. That is far more complicated than going to the moon, and it is a far bigger and greater design challenge and way more exciting than going to Mars. And this process of imagining this new world and creatively making it happen is the process of literally reverse engineering the future.

"So which brain will get us there? The small stressed out, neurotic brain, riddled with stressed, trapped within the problem, looking out through a tiny pinhole, or the big optimistic brain that is high on ideas and dopamine?"


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