For more than three decades I have asked environmentalists if they are optimistic about tackling these vast problems: climate change, ocean acidification, nutrification of the seas, persistent chemicals, plastic waste, biodiversity, antibiotic resistance. “Yes, we’re optimistic” they would typically boast.
Over the years, that positivity has drained away in mealy-mouthed phrases, from: “I’m quite optimistic”, to “I have to be optimistic”, to “I’m still striving to be optimistic”, and “It’s very hard to remain optimistic.”
The natural world offers little comfort. Leading scientists admit that, although their temperature forecasts have been fairly accurate, they failed to predict the savagery of the weather’s response.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies