Planet Earth’s Most Potent Optimist: Christiana Figueres

Art By Annabel Driussi for Our Daily Planet

The planet needs an optimistic woman and fortunately for us, we have a really powerful one — Christiana Figueres. After having guided the Paris Climate Accord to completion — she served as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010-2016 — now Figueres is trying to change the narrative around achieving a sustainable future. 

She founded the organization Global Optimism, and through a weekly podcast, Outrage + Optimism, and a book, The Future We Choose, she hopes to flip the script on climate change, from a story about our doom to one of opportunity that will result in a more equitable and healthier future.  She is building on decades of experience in the field of global climate change, having been a member of the Costa Rican negotiating team 1995- 2009, and having played a number of key roles in the governance of the UNFCCC before formally joining the Secretariat.

Now she talks of “stubborn optimism” and a refusal to accept failure to stem the tide of climate change and biodiversity loss — pushing us to exchange the “reality we are given to the one that we want,”  for our children and grandchildren.  She says, “if we cut our current greenhouse gas emissions in half over the next ten years, we open the door to an exciting world where cities are green, the air is clean, energy and transport are efficient, jobs in a fair economy are abundant, and forests, soil and waters are regenerated. Our world will be safer and healthier, more stable and more just than what we have now.”

To Go Deeper: Watch her Ted Talk on changing our mindset to one of stubborn optimism here.

Up Next

One Cool Thing: Gold Medal in Recycling

One Cool Thing: Gold Medal in Recycling

While an Olympic medal is special in its own right, the ones being handed out at the Tokyo 2020 games come with a little extra magic. After Tokyo won its bid to host the games, the Tokyo Medal Project, called on the Japanese people to donate their old recycled old electronic gadgets such as smartphones […]

Continue Reading 132 words
New Federal Bills Target Food Waste

New Federal Bills Target Food Waste

by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A new series of bills have been introduced in Congress that aim to quell food waste. These bills — the Zero Food Waste Act, and the Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques Act (COMPOST) —will reduce food waste and in turn help create jobs, slow climate […]

Continue Reading 552 words
One Cool Thing: Goats in the City

One Cool Thing: Goats in the City

Two dozen goats were unleashed in Manhattan’s Riverside park last week to get to work chomping down on invasive weeds. Crowds of spectators went to the park Wednesday to witness the ceremonial “running of the goats,” as the animals were released into the area, where they enjoyed a multi-course meal of Japanese knotweed, porcelain berry, multiflora rose, and even […]

Continue Reading 199 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.