Relationships between hope, optimism, and conservation engagement

The loss and degradation of nature can lead to hopelessness and despair, which may undermine engagement in conservation actions. Emerging movements, such as that behind the organization Conservation Optimism, aim to avert potential despair of those involved in conservation. Some argue that fostering positive states, such as hope or optimism, can motivate engagement and action; however, others question whether fostering hope or optimism may inadvertently undermine perceived gravity of conservation challenges. We examined this issue by quantifying dispositional hope and optimism with a representative sample of Australians (n = 4285) and assessing their relationship with indicators of conservation engagement. We used the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia as a case study. Our findings suggest that dispositional hope can strengthen, rather than undermine, appraisal of conservation challenges and solutions and thereby increase conservation engagement.

For more information read the study:

Dean, A.J. and Wilson, K.A., 2022. Relationships between hope, optimism, and conservation engagement. Conservation Biology.