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What is “Climate Optimism?”

Do you ever feel like all you see is bad news about the state of the earth and climate? You’re not alone! Climate-related news can often be scary, anxiety-inducing, and downright depressing. So, how do we ensure the bad news doesn’t paralyze us but instead fills us with action-oriented hope and motivation? Because despite how it may appear, it’s not too late to look out for our neighbors, support the planet, and protect the spaces we love. 

“Climate Optimism” is the idea that as we make progress to slow and reduce the effects of climate change, we must take moments to acknowledge the good work being accomplished instead of solely focusing on setbacks or major hurdles. 

It’s important to note that we can’t let the good news stop us, either. We must use the excitement and hope of the recent strides in climate change mitigation to inspire continued work toward a world we know is possible. 

When you need action-oriented hope and inspiration, check out some of our team’s favorite climate optimism resources below.

Climate Optimism Resources

News sources

  • Good Good Good Co. 
    • About Good Good Good Co. from their website: 
      • “Founded in 2017, Good Good Good is an independent media organization covering positive news and resources about the good in the world. In an effort to help our audience feel more hopeful and do more good, we create the Goodnewspaper: a monthly print newspaper filled with good news, the Goodnewsletter: a daily dose of good news in your email inbox, Sounds Good: a weekly podcast about making the world better, and GoodGoodGood.org, a website with daily good news stories and articles about how readers can get involved and make a positive difference.”
  • Solutions Journalism Network
    • About Solutions Journalism Network from their website: 
      • “The Solutions Journalism Network is leading a global shift in how people understand and shape the world by focusing reporting on responses to problems and what we can learn from their successes and failures. Research shows that when news reveals what’s working (or promising), it elevates the tone of public discourse, making it less divisive and more constructive, allows communities to see better options, and builds agency and hope. This leads to meaningful change.”
  • Grist 
    • About Grist from their website: 
      • “Grist is a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future. Our goal is to use the power of storytelling to illuminate the way toward a better world, inspire millions of people to walk that path with us, and show that the time for action is now.”

Books on climate optimism

  • Climate Optimism
    • About Climate Optimism:
      • “Zahra Biabani, a climate activist focused on hope and action, wrote this book to help readers learn why we need to and how we can stay optimistic in the face of the climate crisis. People are doing good things for our planet all over the world; it's time we highlight it!”
  • Generation Dread
    • About Generation Dead:
      • “Climate and environment-related fears and anxieties are on the rise everywhere. As with any type of stress, eco-anxiety can lead to burnout, avoidance, or a disturbance of daily functioning. In Generation Dread, Britt Wray seamlessly merges scientific knowledge with emotional insight to show how these intense feelings are a healthy response to the troubled state of the world… We have to face and value eco-anxiety, Wray argues, before we can conquer the deeply ingrained, widespread reactions of denial and disavowal that have led humanity to this alarming period of ecological decline.”
  • All We Can Save
        • About All We Can Save:
          • All We Can Save is an anthology of writings by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward… Intermixing essays with poetry and art, this book is both a balm and a guide for knowing and holding what has been done to the world, while bolstering our resolve never to give up on each other or our collective future."

Social media accounts that share good climate news

  • @Browngirl_green 
    • Kristy Drutman, @browngirl_green, frequently shares positive climate news, meaningful ways to get involved in the climate movement, and even job opportunities to pursue in the climate space. 
  • @Itsthegarbagequeen 
    • Alaina Wood, @itsthegarbagequeen, lives in Tennessee and highlights good climate news around the world and locally, brings attention to current and potential climate hazards in the Appalachia region, and debunks some of those flashy headlines claiming that it’s too late.
  • @istherehopein
    • @istherehopein is an Instagram account specifically for good climate news from Zahra Biabani, author of Climate Optimism. This account shares a roundup of “Weekly Earth Wins” and showcases why there is hope in things like protecting the Arctic, youth involvement, and more.

Local groups to engage with

We are better together. Being in a community with like-minded people is a great way to stay connected, committed, and optimistic. These are some wonderful local groups that inspire hope and positive change amongst their members. 

  • Native American Indian Association of Tennessee (NAIA)
    • About NAIA from their website: 
      • “The Native American Indian Association is a service agency for Indians residing in Tennessee. It is a private non-profit agency established in 1980 to help improve the quality of life for Native American people in the state. To raise the level of consciousness of the non-Indian population in the state of Tennessee to a fuller awareness of the past history and current status of Native American Indians by sponsoring, promoting and conducting seminars, institutes, education programs, and public information activities.”
  • Tennessee Immigrant and Refuge Rights Coalition (TIRRC)
    • About TIRRC from their website: 
      • “The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration. Our mission is to build power, amplify our voices, and organize communities to advocate for our rights. Our vision is a stronger, more inclusive Tennessee where people of all nationalities, immigration statuses, and racial identities can belong and thrive.”
  • Walk Bike Nashville 
    • About Walk Bike Nashville from their website: 
      • “Since 1998, Walk Bike Nashville has sought to make our city more walkable, bikeable, and livable. We want our streets, sidewalks, and bikeways to support active living, additional commuting options, and recreational opportunities. We are a 501 c3, nonprofit organization that advocates for improved infrastructure and safer streets and works to support a culture of walking and bicycling through events and educational programs.”
  • Recycle & Reinvest
    • About Recycle & Reinvest from their website: 
      • "Welcome to RECYCLE AND REINVEST, a grassroots organization dedicated to closing the gap between crime and litter by promoting sustainability and providing job opportunities. We firmly believe in addressing environmental racism issues through the Environmental Justice movement. Here at RECYCLE AND REINVEST, we strive to create a better future by developing green spaces and implementing the broken glass theory. Join us in our mission to foster safer communities and a cleaner, greener environment for all."
  • Cumberland River Compact
    • About Cumberland River Compact from their website: 
      • “The Cumberland River Basin, one of the top three most biodiverse regions in the world, encompasses cities, farms, schools, factories, and neighborhoods. Our efforts in education, restoration, and outreach all contribute to keeping our water healthy. We work on root problems of water pollution, both urban and rural. Our goal is to give people the tools to be smart, impactful stewards of their watershed and to constructively partner in policy planning with government agencies.”
  • Turnip Green Creative Reuse
    • About Turnip Green Creative Reuse from their website:
      • “We foster creativity and sustainability through reuse. We provide a welcoming, inclusive space to divert materials from the landfill and connect them with people who need them, such as teachers, students, artists, and more."

Our intention in sharing these resources is that each of us finds a moment of respite and celebration in the good news and reaches out to our community for hope and inspiration in times of eco-anxiety. Ultimately, we can’t let the despair win. Resiliency is within all of us, but the true power of resilience lies in community. We’ve seen this example countless times throughout human history. When the Earth sends us a message, we must unite, listen, and adapt while remembering that there is always a cause for celebration in life.

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