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Thoughts: Is environmental positivity naive?

Updated: Jul 15, 2019

I am an environmental optimist. This doesn't mean I don’t know how bad the situation is. I realise lots of people might think it’s being naive to be positive in the face of things. But being positive is a very thought out step I have taken to in my own journey and thats the narrative I want to portray to others too. Here’s why.

Our planet is facing a lot of threats. I have seen the scale of plastic pollution in The Philippines, dealt with poachers in Malaysia, seen the scale of development and farming in The UK and driven through endless palm oil plantations in South East Asia, just to scratch the surface. I’ve read climate papers and studied climate change to degree level. Trust me when I say, I know how bad it is. Sometimes I am fully taken over by "eco-anxiety."

But dwelling on this doesn’t really do much to help. It takes a lot of personal energy to be sad about the state of our planet. Getting in a rut is sometimes a natural path when working in this field, but staying in that rut is bloody depressing.

However, being positive is really the only way up, literally. We can push forward and push for change or we can mope. Moping and being depressed and alarmist is one way to tackle and engage. But I have found it is much MORE engaging to the general public when we talk positively. When we empower and talk about change as a real possibility.

Of course, there is a point in which "being positive" becomes ignorant. There is a time for negativity and there is a time for realism. No body wants to be in this situation where we are dealing with the impacts of climate breakdown. But we are and we have to find our own ways to deal with this. And I know for me, that being positive works to empower me and I hope that it empowers and inspires others too.