On Earth Day, These Leaders Will Restore Your Hope


Apr 16, 2018

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The age of climate change means environmental work is more challenging than ever. These nonprofit leaders are optimistic about earth’s future anyway.


 

In honor of Earth Day, I asked 12 environmental changemakers why they’re hopeful about the future of our planet. Here’s what they said:

“I am hopeful about the future of the planet, even as I am sometimes overwhelmed about the severity of poverty and injustice that dictate people of the world. Youth are awakened, governments are on notice, participation and sustainability are synonymous, and oh such good one person or group can do.”

— Yossef Ben-Meir of High Atlas Foundation

“People are the solution to the challenges facing our fabulous biodiversity on Earth. Young people are more supportive of caring for our natural world than any previous generation. We have more and better and more effective tools than ever before—help nature win!”

— James Danoff-Burg of Helping Rhinos

“Changing our habits is part of the solution to one of the greatest threats on our planet, climate change, and this does not require special financial or behavioral sacrifices. Solving climate change—rather than an expensive problem—is a fantastic opportunity to live better, produce more efficiently and create smart technologies, while preserving natural resources for our children and grandchildren. The big effort is communicating and educating the public, and I am doing this everyday!”

— Paola Catapano of Association Polarquest

“Every time we share high-fives with students after planting trees at their schools or witness village celebrations to welcome fruit trees into communities, we are reminded of the powerful vision shared by so many people for a healthier, cleaner Earth, which gives us inspiration to continue together on our mission.”

— Cem Akin of Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

“I am hopeful about the future of planet Earth because ordinary people and organizations such as Village Improvement Project, Inc. are working to help the masses of humanity use cleaner energy in the form of solar lights and more efficient cookstoves and fuel.”

— LeRoy Boikai of Village Improvement Project

“At SOS, we’re thinking big picture, trying to bring about fundamental changes to the way that the rainforest ecosystem is valued, managed and protected. But we’re also celebrating small steps—the trees planted, communities engaged, and orangutans’ lives saved. We’re making great strides towards realising our vision of a thriving population of Sumatran orangutans living wild and free in their healthy and protected rainforest home, and that, for us, is reason for optimism.”

— Helen Buckland of Sumatran Orangutan Society

“I am hopeful about the future of planet earth because in my experience, when we treat people with kindness and respect, giving them space to be themselves, they can heal deeply, they can think creatively, and they can move mountains. These will all be necessary if we and our planet are to flourish.”

— Theodore Mayer of Sathirakoses Nagapradipa Foundation

“Trees are the best solution to climate change. We are hopeful because entire nations as well as a growing number of corporates are taking a stand: pledging to protect and restore the world’s degraded forests. The world is starting to recognize the power of trees.”

— Marie-Noëlle Keijzer of WeForest

“I am inspired by the creativity, expertise and vision of the growing community of young environmental leaders in our Global Environments Network, including participants in the 2018 Global Environments Summer Academy held at University of Oxford. I am hopeful their efforts will snatch sustainability and wellbeing from the jaws of environmental destruction.”

— Gary Martin of Global Diversity Foundation

“A greater number of people worldwide are witnessing first hand, or are aware of, our challenged natural environments. Their active solution is positive change through hands on projects or supporting these projects. We are the earth’s guardians and are intrinsically connected to its well being. We can protect the future!”

— Madeleine Faught of Rainforest Rescue

“Every day, more and more people join in to do their bit to save the planet: recognizing human rights, rejecting violence, promoting universal accord. We at Iracambi are doing our part! We work for the restoration of our degraded areas, fight against predation, help young people to understand the issues and to become the conscientious leaders of the future.”

— Arielle Canedo of Iracambi

“Local communities must be empowered to develop their natural resources for a greener Earth. Through years of patient work, Seva Mandir is witnessing a grassroots movement, led by very poor peasants in the tradition of Gandhi-ji’s satyagraha (truth force) for protecting the environment. Our hope is that the government and global citizens will join hands with them.”

— Priyanka Singh of Seva Mandir

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22. Donate to one of the phenomenal projects featured above or another Earth Day project that inspires you.

FIND YOUR EARTH DAY PROJECT

Featured Photo: Help 10 At-Risk Youth Obtain World-Class Education by Fundacion United World College Costa Rica

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