1Be Ecologically Literate
- Be informed and understand our dependence on natural systems for the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the materials used to make everything. Environmental education needs to be a core element of the school curriculum.
The Importance of Being Optimistic
Our society faces serious environmental challenges, but based on humanity’s track record of successes over the past 50 years, the ready availability of effective solutions, and the potential for future innovation, today’s problems can be overcome.
The Big Picture
Nature’s Comeback Stories
Many species of animals are enjoying remarkable comebacks because we’ve smartened up and improved our once-damaging ways.
Pacific Humpback Whale
Overhunting caused the humpback whale population to decrease from more than 125,000 to 10,000 during the 20th century. Implementation of the International Whaling Convention that ended hunting has enabled humpbacks to recover to more than 80,000, with steady annual increases.
Once believed to be extinct in North America, a remnant population was discovered and used to kickstart a captive breeding program. Today thousands of black-footed ferrets are living in Canada and the US.
The last sea otter in Canada was killed in 1929, but otters reintroduced froom Alaska have flourished and are spreading up and down the B.C. coast, helping to restore ecosystems damaged by their absence.
Even the world’s fastest animal couldn’t escape the deadly impacts of the pesticide DDT, which eliminated these birds from vast swaths of North America. Breeding programs and banning DDT have rebuilt peregrine populations to healthy levels.
Across the world, more than 25 million square kilometers, an area the size of North America, has been set aside in parks and protected areas to protect vital wildlife habitat.
Healthy Environment, Healthy People
Thanks to clean air laws, most people are living longer, healthier, happier lives, and the health and economic benefits are measured in the trillions of dollars.
Ways You Can Take Action
Take optimism to action by following these steps in your life.
2Vote for the Environment
- Be a green citizen and exercise your democratic rights. In local, provincial, and national elections, support the candidates who have a track record of environmental achievements.
3Spend Time in Nature
- Research demonstrates that spending time outdoors boosts your physical, mental and emotional health, as well as encouraging you to use your voice for nature. Especially vital for kids!
- Use your purchasing power to support businesses that are local, organic, fair trade, cradle-to-cradle, or certified as sustainable. Use the same criteria for banking and investing.
5Smaller Footprint, Bigger Smile
- Research shows that human happiness depends not on how much stuff we own but on the quality of our relationships with family, friends, and community, and the rewarding nature of our work.
- Solar panels installed every minute in 2014 globally
- of Stockholm commuters walk, ride, or take transit to work
- 2 sec
- two more people have safe drinking water since 1990
Looking for Good News About the Environment?
You’ve come to the right place! The Optimistic Environmentalist delivers dozens of surprising and inspiring success stories about meeting the world’s challenges.Purchase the Book
- “Is there hope for the future? Yes, as David Boyd brilliantly demonstrates, because of the energy and commitment of people who know the problems and take action to solve them.”
- “David Boyd delivers an inspiring antidote to environmental despair, demonstrating that we are capable of remarkable achievement when we act together.”
- “A Surprising, uplifting, and inspiring book. Boyd has assembled a dazzling array of success stories guaranteed to brighten your outlook about the future of this beautiful blue-green planet.”
- “Boyd, one of the real leaders of the Canadian environmental movement, provides an uplifting view of our collective accomplishments and the path forward.”
- “David Boyd has given us all a great gift — a book to lift our spirits. As story after story is recounted by one of Canada’s leading environmental lawyers, we catch some of his contagious enthusiasm.”
“I am an optimist. it does not seem too much use being anything else.”