A few things I’ve learnt about positivity in marine conservation

  1. Positivity is motivating. People need and love a bit of optimism in conservation, and respond well to cheery news. Pointing out the positives helps show that marine conservation is working in some places, which in turn helps to engage more people with the issues and gets them onside with ocean-friendly behaviour. More positivity = more hope = more action = all the little things adding up into further conservation success stories.
  1. Too much negativity is a turn off, people don’t want to be continually made to feel guilty about the environmental problems that we’re facing these days. It’s so easy to get bogged down in conservation horror stories, but much better and more enjoyable to spend that energy focusing on what’s going well. It’s crucial to get the balance right, to make people aware of the issues, but also to provide a positive outlook and make sure that it’s clear how people can do their bit to help further improve the situation.
  1. Positivity can be hard. Doom and gloom conservation news stories are more widespread, and misinformation and fearmongering is the worst for those trying to push the optimistic viewpoint. Keeping sight of the successes can be tricky, but it’s so worth it. It’s all about showing that there are conservation successes happening all over the world, and that they’re happening all the time. You might have to sift through some depressing news stories to find the good stuff, but once you’ve found it, shout about it.
  1. Optimism in conservation is on the rise. More and more people are embracing the positive attitude, and movements like #oceanoptimism are taking off, helping to share conservation success stories and boost hope for our oceans. There’s even going to be a conservation optimism conference next year; that’s good news in itself.

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