Knowlton stressed that optimism shouldn't be confused with a Pollyannaish view that all is well with the world. Far from it.
“There is plenty of bad news out there, don’t get me wrong; it’s hard to argue there’s a good story from Great Barrier Reef bleaching, for example,” she said. “And a lot of these solutions are still, or seem in isolation to be, small scale. But part of conservation is the accumulation of these small-scale victories — and then of course, they’re sometimes added to by big victories. And I think it’s crazy not to talk to them.”
The goal of the summit, she said, is to inspire rather than to merely anger, and in the process to motivate an ever-larger constituency to not only acknowledge the multiplicity of issues that face the planet, but be filled with the sense of hope that action can achieve success.
“If this were just a one-off event, it would be a huge amount of money and energy for something that would just disappear,” she said. “But we didn’t want it to be a small thing; we wanted it to be big enough that it would get people thinking about how to communicate success. The idea is to really change the conservation conversation: less doom and gloom, and more ways to inspire people.”