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There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about our warming climate on this 2024 Earth Day. We’ve seen record global temperatures, record sea levels and record ocean temperatures, just to name a few.

But today, I want to talk about the good things on this Earth Day. The things that are happening that should make us feel optimistic about our future planet. Because there are inspiring and good things happening. Actually, a lot of good things.

Reasons for optimism

Technological advancements are making renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and geothermal, more efficient and affordable.

Many countries and companies committing to net-zero carbon emissions in the coming decades. Locally, we have a great example by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Their new Green Orchid restaurant is the world’s first net-positive restaurant, operating entirely on solar power and is the world’s first net-positive energy restaurant, generating more energy than it consumes.

Communities worldwide are taking action to adapt and become more resilient to climate change effects. Another example here in Sarasota is the city’s Purple-Ribbon Committee.  The committee is there to make recommendations to the City Commission concerning the most viable and financially sustainable options for the future use of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The city even put a top climate expert on the committee, the Climate Adaptation Center’s CEO, Bob Bunting.

Scientists and conservationists all over the world are discovering innovative ways to protect and restore our planet’s ecosystems. The Oyster Boys Conservationists are another great local example. They recycle oyster shells from local restaurants, transforming them into Vertical Oyster Gardens (VOGs). This sustainable practice restores marine habitats, supporting oyster population growth and water quality improvement in our community.

There is a growing recognition of the need for action on climate change, reflected in policy changes, business practices, and individual behaviors worldwide. Most people now agree that climate change is a serious threat, and humans are the cause. In a study by Our World in Data, concern was high across all countries and even in the country with the lowest agreement, 73% still agreed.

Wind and solar power are the cheapest electricity on the planet. Today, solar, wind and battery power are dramatically less expensive than they were even 10 years ago. In 2023, electricity from wind and solar was significantly less expensive than from coal, nuclear and natural gas.

Electric cars are now mainstream. Globally, about 20% of all new vehicles sold are electric vehicles. The number is close to 40% in China. The U.S. lags but is around 14% of new car sales.

We have to keep the conversation going

So this Earth Day, why not join the conversation? Share a positive climate story with your friends on social media. Celebrate the amazing and inspiring things our fellow humans are doing. It will take a bottom up approach to continue to climb us out of this difficult environment we’ve created.

The CAC is committed to the climate conversation. We do this with events like the Climate Champions Awards Ceremony, Hurricane Season Forecast Day and the upcoming Annual Climate Conference in November. We also give climate presentations to thousands of people throughout the year. You can support us in helping our conversation going by making a donation or becoming a member.

So, Happy 2024 Earth Day! There is hope. We’re seeing really great things happening. But we have so much work to do. Together though, we can tackle these challenges of climate warming and work towards a sustainable, resilient future for all.


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