LONDON • 20-22 APRIL 2017



Conservation is too often seen as a crisis discipline, one in which bad news predominates. Although nature is facing huge challenges, we feel there are many positive stories out there where conservation has made a difference to people’s lives and to the status of wild nature. Progress, at the moment, tends to be overshadowed by negativity. It may well be happening, but it can be slow-burning, local and less immediately obvious than the sometimes overwhelming challenges faced.

We believe this is counter-productive.

Budding and perennial conservationists need to feel inspired and continue in the profession, not put off by pessimism. The public, businesses and government need to know that their actions can make a difference. With this summit, we aim to reframe the conservation movement by celebrating positive thinking in conservation, and putting forward a road map for change towards an optimistic and forward-thinking future.

We believe being optimistic doesn’t underestimate the challenges faced in conservation, but it can help us to learn from both success and failure and move forward. In this effort we are joined by the Earth Optimism Summits taking place in Washington DC, Cambridge UK, and around the world.

Beautiful Venue

Dulwich College has a wide range of meeting rooms to support the Summit’s varied workshops, presentations, and collaborative sessions.

The Great Hall provides an impressive environment for large meetings and conferences with a raised stage complete with a PA system and excellent acoustics.

The College provides a wide variety of classrooms that can be used in conjunction with the larger halls. The Laboratory houses five adaptable Informatics suites with free-thinking spaces to stimulate creativity, a seminar room with full video conferencing facilities and versatile 240-seat auditorium with an outdoor piazza for recreation and performance.

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  • ‘I’m lucky enough to have the medium of television to discuss and investigate environmental issues that I think are important. One thing I’ve learned is how important it is to present positive solutions and to keep hope alive, as well as educating audiences about the problems facing the world. ‘I’ve met so many people doing fantastic work to protect and restore our natural world. We should be sharing these inspiring stories far and wide, rather than always getting bogged down in doom and gloom. I’m therefore delighted to support the Conservation Optimism initiative and its partners in their mission to spread a new wave of positivity throughout the environmental community.’

    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall environmental campaigner and well known chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Public Earth Day Event

On Earth Day, we will welcome everyone to our public event at the Zoological Society of London, during which we will showcase positive actions that are making a difference in people’s relationships to nature. We highlight particularly local grassroots or community-based actions in London, and youth-focussed conservation activities.

A series of short talks, films, panel sessions and debates will go on throughout the day in the lecture theatre, meanwhile stalls and exhibits which showcase local action, conservation organisations’ positive approaches to nature, meet an optimistic conservationist, and more will be on display for visitors to pursue at their own speed.

Weather permitting, we will also have dancing, soapbox science, and performance art will be among the many ways that zoo visitors can engage with our Earth Day event.

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Plenary Speakers

Anna Oposa

Anna R. Oposa is a multi-hyphenated changemaker who is best known for being the Co-Founder and Chief Mermaid of Save Philippine Seas (SPS), a movement to conserve and restore the Philippines’ coastal and marine resources.

Niki Harre

Niki Harré is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland. She is also the leader of a Sustainability Network within the university’s Faculty of Science.

Andrew Balmford

Andrew Balmford is a professor of conservation science at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on planning conservation, comparing the costs and benefits of conservation and how conservation can be reconciled with other activities.

Lisel Alamilla

Lisel Alamilla is a conservationist and politician from Belize. She currently serves as the Chair of the Commission at Toledo Maya Land Rights Commission.

Dr. Helen Crowley

Dr. Helen Crowley is the Head of Sustainable Sourcing Innovation at Kering, and actively participates in international
 forums such as CITES, IUCN, CBD, TEEB and SAC.


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Special Thanks

Jean-Charles Gordon
Lucy Erickson
John Fellowes
Vanessa Lovenburg
Laurence Romeo
Vanessa Reid
Elizabeth Bennett
Rory McCann
Russell Mittermeier

Fiona Underwood
Karthiyani Krishnasamy
Leejiah Dorward
Nafeesa Esmail
Debbie Tripley
Marie Fischbourn
Amy Fitzmaurice
Roberta Kamille Pennell
James Hardcastle


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