Youth Activists, David Attenborough, and What’s Next at COP26 in This Week’s Earth Optimism: Climate Edition

These stories celebrate success, uncover a spark of hope, share a new idea, or might just make you feel good about Planet Earth – this week with a focus on COP26.


To start this week's round up, I'll admit that, on the surface, finding optimism during our climate crisis is a daunting task. It is uniquely challenging during a global meeting where people may be feeling let down by leaders and other key players falling short of their obligations to our planet. But with Earth Optimism, we discover hope in the people who persist as a force for change and the solutions they create. Whether it's the scientists researching climate impacts, the creative minds engineering energy solutions, the youth who aren't afraid to play David to the extractive industries' Goliath – the reasons to be hopeful are hiding in plain sight. Jeff Goodell gives Ten Reasons for Optimism on Climate Change in Rolling Stone with this same forward-looking vision and kicks off this week's list with the right outlook.  



In case you missed it, you'll want to watch Sir David Attenborough's remarks at the start of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) World Leader's Summit. He addressed the leaders in attendance and, with his unfailing captivating presence, asked for cooperation and change. "In my lifetime, I've witnessed a terrible decline. In yours, you could and should witness a wonderful recovery." Watch Sir David Attenborough's Address to World Leaders at COP26 on the Conference's official YouTube channel. 



Within the first few days of COP26, there have been various pledges and commitments from countries already. From phasing out coal to halting deforestation, these are some of the big picture efforts to follow over the next few years. It can be hard to keep track and sift through the headlines to see what else will come from COP26, so I'd recommend bookmarking Axios' page, The Major Climate Pledges Made at COP26 So Far, for a one-stop-shop during the remainder of the UN Climate Change Conference. 



Youth are making a lot of noise and getting a lot of attention at this summit – and it's incredible to watch. The younger generations are not sitting idly to listen to world leaders talk; they're making their voices heard and asking for more than platitudes. They want accountability and tangible change. Nothing makes me more hopeful for the future of our planet than witnessing the next generations rise to the challenge with unparalleled ambition. Read about a few of these inspiring activists in Generation Climate: How the Crisis Made Young People the Adults in the Room from Rachel Ramirez for CNN.



Teachers and parents, this one is for you. The New York Times has an excellent activity to get students engaged during COP26. Help them be part of the next-gen of climate leaders by teaching them how to think about climate challenges and develop a plan to mitigate them using real solutions. Find it here: Explore 7 Climate Change Solutions.



Earth Optimism is proud to be participating in COP26 through the U.S. Center. Watch our program, Our Shared Future: Life on a Sustainable Planet, live on November 5, 2021 at 6 pm GMT (2 pm EDT) on the U.S. Center YouTube page

Learn more about the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) at