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Smithsonian Earth Optimism

The National Museum of Natural History will host several FREE events related to the Earth Optimism Summit, which takes place April 21-23. Join us as we discuss questions such as how to preserve biodiversity, protect natural resources, and address climate change.

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An Evening with David Grinspoon: Earth in Human Hands

Thursday, April 20, 6:30-8:10 p.m.
Award-winning author and astrobiologist, David Grinspoon, will describe the transformative role humans have played as he speaks about his new book, Earth in Human Hands. In a conversation with Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History, Grinspoon will suggest that our present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential, challenging audiences to awaken to our role as a force of planetary change and become conscious shapers and caretakers of Earth.

Earth in Human Hands will be available for purchase and signing after the program.

Learn more and RSVP for this event»

Sunrise over Earth as seen from space

Watch Events

Friday, April 21, 9 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

The Smithsonian Libraries will live-stream the Earth Optimism programs throughout the day, offer a “petting zoo” of some of our more popular “Earth-Optimistic” books, and host a presentation on the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), which works collaboratively to make biodiversity literature openly available to the world. Hosted by the Natural History Library; space is limited. Public interested in attending the event should e-mail by April 19 for more details.

School of fish in blue water

Natural History on the Big Screen: An Ocean Mystery

Saturday, April 22, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch follows renowned fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly and his team of international experts as they piece together evidence to discover the true quantity of fish we have caught, and just how close we are to running out of this precious resource. Along the way we find hope: Pauly's landmark research on fisheries management, and new technology developed by Stephen Box, Vice President of Global Fishery Solutions at Rare and former scientist at the Smithsonian, reveals an opportunity to preserve the bounty of the seas for future generations.

Followed by a discussion focused on solutions presented in the film, featuring experts in the film Daniel Pauly and Stephen Box, and the filmmaker Alison Barrat.

Learn more and RSVP for this event»

Smiling young black man with a beard

Teens Only: Earth Optimism Celebration

Sunday, April 23, 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

This is a chance for teens to share their voices and connect to people and projects that are having a positive impact on the planet. Activities will include: a teen-panel conversation, game jam, poetry prompts, interactive activities, and opportunities to talk with leaders from the Earth Optimism Summit and the region. This will take place in Q?rius, The Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center. Register

Smiling man in jacket and tie

Life in the Age of Humans: Wild Cities - Connecting People and Nature

Wednesday, April 26, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson popularized the concept of biophilia, which he described as "the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms." To what extent can cities be biophilic and provide basic conditions for urban citizens to live a life in close contact with nature?

University of Virginia Professor Timothy Beatley addresses this question, exploring some of the ways that cities are integrating nature into their planning and fostering connections to the natural world. Beatley will discuss the Biophilic Cities Project at the University of Virginia and the global Biophilic Cities Network, which aims to extend and expand the important role that nature can play in the growth and development of cities around the world.

Offered as part of the Earth Optimism Summit programming at the National Museum of Natural History.

Learn more and RSVP for this event»

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