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Earth Optimism

Conservation Action at the Smithsonian

Earth Optimism: Conservation Action at the Smithsonian

This is an opportunity to harness the whole of the Smithsonian. It’s an opportunity to weave sustainable practices into every aspect of our operations… It’s an opportunity to use our power as a great convener to bring together scientists, stakeholders, cultural partners, and the media to tell the stories that need to be told.

The 2021 Smithsonian Folklife Festival is proud to host a signature event of Earth Optimism, a year-long, Smithsonian-wide initiative highlighting improvements in environmental conservation. From Caribbean coral reefs to the African savanna, and from the Arctic to the Amazon, Smithsonian scientists, anthropologists, conservationists, historians, photographers, and others apply their knowledge and creativity to save some of the world’s most fragile species and ecosystems.

While the Earth Optimism scope is global, Festival visitors will learn about issues much closer to home. The American Ginseng: Local Knowledge, Global Roots project features the history and culture of the nearby Appalachian region. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland, studies the ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay, including the native blue crab. Here on the Smithsonian campus in Washington, D.C., facilities managers work daily to reduce waste and save energy within and outside our buildings.

Through engaging graphics and hands-on activities, we will bring Earth Optimism projects to life at the Festival. Visitors can walk through an Ozone Bioindicator Garden, touch a traditional totem pole from the Lummi Nation in Washington state with carvings about the environment and public health, and learn directly from a team of Smithsonian specialists.

The program will inform, inspire, delight, and most importantly, leave visitors with hope for our planet and ideas of how to get involved with projects around the world and within their own communities.

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.