The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progressing Towards a Greener Future - ECW Press

The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progressing Towards a Greener Future

Boyd, David R.

  • A hopeful, inspiring, and honest take on the environment

    Yes, the world faces substantial environmental challenges — climate change, pollution, and extinction. But the surprisingly good news is that we have solutions to these problems. In the past 50 years, a remarkable number of environmental problems have been solved, while substantial progress is ongoing on others.

    The Optimistic Environmentalist chronicles these remarkable success stories. Endangered species — from bald eagles to gray whales — pulled back from the precipice of extinction. Thousands of new parks, protecting billions of hectares of land and water. The salvation of the ozone layer, vital to life on Earth. The exponential growth of renewable energy powered by wind, water, and sun. The race to be the greenest city in the world. Remarkable strides in cleaning up the air we breathe and the water we drink. The banning of dozens of the world’s most toxic chemicals. A circular economy where waste is a thing of the past. Past successes pave the way for even greater achievements in the future.

    Providing a powerful antidote to environmental despair, this book inspires optimism, leading readers to take action and exemplifying how change can happen. A bright green future is not only possible, it’s within our grasp.

  • David R. Boyd is an environmental lawyer, professor, and advocate for recognition of the right to live in a healthy environment. Boyd is the award-winning author of seven books and more than 100 articles and currently co-chairs Vancouver’s Greenest City initiative with Mayor Gregor Robertson. He lives on Pender Island, B.C. For more information, visit

  • Published: August 2015

    ISBN: 9781770412385

    Dimensions: 5.25 x 8.25 in.

    Pages: 248

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“Is there hope for the future? Yes, as David Boyd brilliantly demonstrates, because of the energy and commitment of people who know the problems and take action to solve them. And because of the power of the human brain for good when it is in harmony with the human heart.” — Jane Goodall, PHD, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Institute of Peace

“Boyd, one of the real leaders of the Canadian environmental movement, provides an uplifting view of our collective accomplishments and the path forward.” — Tom Heinztman, co-founder of Bullfrog Power

"In The Optimistic Environmentalist, Boyd inspires hopefulness, particularly for young people." — BC BookWorld

“As someone who has teetered between trying to keep up with recycling, doing the small bits involved in keeping an environmentally friendly front yard, and resolutely not reading about global warming simply because there seems to be no hope of managing it, I appreciate the good news, all the more because it is so grounded. So, I’m in favor of The Optimistic Environmentalist as an argument for continuing.” — Fangirl Nation

“For anyone who is starting to feel beaten down and defeated by the magnitude of our planet’s green problems, this book definitely provides a much-needed fillip.” — Green Spirit

“The Optimistic Environmentalist is a breath of fresh air. . . an accessible book that is interesting, well-researched, and always hopeful.” — Vancouver Sun

"The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progressing Towards a Greener Future is a book with an abundance of hope. Author David Boyd’s enthusiasm is palpable.” — National Observer

“A timely and important book.” — Australian Book Review

“A surprising, uplifting, and inspiring book. Boyd has assembled a dazzling array of success stories guaranteed to brighten your outlook about the future of this beautiful blue-green planet.” — Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and author of Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever

“Boyd has a remarkable ability to educate and inspire the reader on the critical environmental issue of our time — while at the same time creating a page-turner of a book. Pick this up, read it, and lend it to a friend!” — Paul Richardson, CEO of Renewal Funds

“Far from intimidating, his vision is electrifying and inspiring. . . This solidly researched and informative book is also a pleasure to read, especially in a world where bad news often drowns out the good.” — Publishers Weekly

“Boyd presents all this information well, and it’s a refreshing perspective. Environmentalists, students, and interested readers will find this accessible book a morale booster and a spur to become part of this great transition.” — Library Journal

“Boyd offers hope and inspiration with The Optimistic Environmentalist, outlining progress that has been and is being made on the environmental front.” — David Suzuki Foundation

“Nowhere will you find a clearer explanation of the extraordinary growth of renewable energy and its implications for addressing climate change.” — Georgia Straight

“As the title suggests, [it] is a paean to the amazing progress we have made on the environment globally and the possibility of solving our major environmental problems, even the most difficult ones such as climate change, in our lifetimes.” — Literary Review of Canada

“It's like a motivational book for solving the Earth's greatest challenges and a welcome alternative to sometimes dreary books on climate change.” — The Georgia Straight