“Ok, Doomer”: The Era of Climate Optimism is Here

Five resources for a refreshed outlook on combating the climate crisis.

8 mins read

Enter “climate change” into a web browser and the barrage of headlines could be cut straight from a science fiction novel. One clip warns about impending locust megaswarms while another cautions that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Current could be slowing down in a very real-life reenactment of the 2004 disaster flick, The Day After Tomorrow. In short, the news is grim. 

We know that 2023 was the hottest year on record dating back to the preindustrial era. So far, 2024 is not following a radically different trajectory. For Generation Z, the endless scroll of doom-and-gloom climate news can seem inevitable. The planet will continue to warm, wreaking havoc on countless local and global systems on which we depend. Even those who have contributed the least to human-induced climate change – which is caused by burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere – will suffer harsh consequences. These conclusions feel certain without substantial political leadership at all levels of government. Yet, as we measure our digital diets and resolve to stay in this fight, how do we stay hopeful? 

Where can we find optimism? 

Art credit: Sandra Xinyu Ye

Luckily, there is much about this fight that is already worth celebrating. 

In The Book of Hope, the writer Douglas Abrams asked English primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall whether individual actions are just a drop in the ocean when it comes to the climate crisis. Her thoughtful reflection sends ripples across the page: “Millions of drops actually make the ocean.” 

Together, we can accomplish ends that are all but impossible if we go it alone. Here are five resources to nourish a positive outlook and provide fuel for the changes we seek.   

Not Too Late

Just like its name suggests, this site is built on the idea that it is not too late to act. Meant to serve as a landing page for those brand new to the climate movement and those weary from the front lines, Not Too Late reminds us that although “it’s late in the game, the game’s not over.” The project’s leaders, Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua, contend that we already know what is needed in order to avoid the worst possibilities we face. 

They encourage us to remain steadfast in our commitment to a sustainable future, even if global temperatures rise beyond 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, the globally-agreed upon target set in 2015 by the United Nations at a climate summit in Paris. Climate change does not automatically win the battle at 1.5ºC, they argue. Climate scientists echo these claims: efforts to curb climate change must continue with the same vigor at 1.51ºC, 1.52ºC, and so on. Every tenth of a degree counts. Check out Not Too Late for a curated article collection, practical action guide and recently released book

Hannah Ritchie

Hannah Ritchie is a climate optimist to follow. A data scientist by trade, Ritchie has chosen to channel her love of numbers toward cultivating hope for a sustainable future. She has meticulously pored over global trends to reveal and communicate nuggets of good news on the climate front. In her 2023 TED Talk, Ritchie grows animated when explaining how per-person emissions of carbon dioxide have already peaked, and total emissions are expected to peak soon. She then describes how global deforestation has also peaked as societies have begun growing more food from less land with improved agricultural practices. 

Ritchie published her much-anticipated book, Not the End of the World, in January, and it is filled with the same data-backed ideas justifying climate optimism. It is guaranteed to pack a statistical punch. 

Washington Post Climate Solutions

For the latest reports on innovative climate problem solving, check out The Washington Post’s Climate Solutions section. Launched in 2019, the vertical covers climate remedies in industries as diverse in purpose as they are in geography. From building flood-resistant structures out of bamboo in Pakistan, to harvesting seaweed from Alaska’s budding kelp farms, the articles can inspire creative strategies to address climate-related issues in our own backyards. Plus, the content does not stop at highlighting trendsetters; it also offers practical advice for daily life. Compare more planet-friendly protein powders or learn why washing machines should run on cold water.

Grist Fixers

The world we are building is limited only by our imagination. Each year, Grist compiles a list of 50 people with no shortage of creative insight. Dubbed the “Fixers,” these individuals are both the dreamers and the doers. 

Teens and early career go-getters accompany senior-level experts on the annual list. Fixers work across all regions of the United States in fields ranging from the arts and media to infrastructure, farming, energy, and policy. Since 2016, Grist has been building this network by selecting those who exemplify originality as they push against the boundaries of the status quo. After collecting nominations from the public each year, the Grist team honors the outstanding up-and-comers who are poised to defeat the obstacles that stand before them. Meet the shortlist of folks who are revolutionizing the climate fight – and get inspired to adopt your own Fixer mentality – here


Permission to keep scrolling: these 21 content creators have built a following on TikTok centered around climate optimism. Since 2020, the group has more than doubled in size as influencers from different backgrounds around the U.S. have joined forces for the planet. 

The self-proclaimed environmentalists of TikTok take a firm stance against climate doomerism and instead believe in education as a powerful tool of activism. In addition to EcoTok’s presence on social media, the group offers services for fellow climate optimists looking to expand their impact, from video production assistance to speaking engagements. 

For those looking to interact with Ecotok beyond their For You Page, the collective’s website features ample resources, from a recipe for making zero-waste deodorant to step-by-step guides to recycling and composting. Special shoutout to former Kidizenship staffer, Zahra Biabani, who is one of EcoTok’s creators.

The items on this list serve as a reminder that the fight is far from over. After all, if Jane Goodall can keep the optimism after decades of devoting herself to the planet and its inhabitants, so can we. 

“As individuals, we make a difference every day,” she said, “and millions of our individual ethical choices in how we behave move us toward a more sustainable world.” 

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