What is Wild Hope?

We are living at a time when two separate but now intersecting crises are impacting the abundance of life and the function of ecosystems: one of biodiversity loss, the other of global climate change. Each is triggered by distinct causes. 

The magnitude of biodiversity loss over the past fifty years is sobering. For example, the abundance of wild vertebrates—mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians—has dropped by 68% according to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index. This means that for every three wild vertebrates on the planet in 1970, there is just one today.

One major cause of the large reduction in the abundance of wild animals and plants is the loss of habitat—forests, grasslands, rivers, wetlands, coral reefs, etc. But it is not well appreciated that these ecosystems also play essential roles in the quality of human life. Their degradation has consequences for water access and quality, air quality, food supply, the mitigation of storm damage, drought, erosion, and public health. 

The future abundance and diversity of life on the planet and our quality of life depends on halting—and potentially reversing—these losses. Naturally, people may ask, “Is it too late, or is there time to change the path we are on? Is there any reason for hope?”

The short answer is “yes”. Enter Wild Hope.

Changing the Narrative from Despair to Hope

If there is any “good news” about biodiversity loss, it is that loss occurs locally due to primarily local causes. And thus, the potential recovery of habitats and species is determined by local action – and it need not wait for geopolitics to yield global treaties. Moreover, biologists have learned from a variety of habitat restoration and species recovery efforts that, when given a chance, nature can be remarkably resilient and rebound dramatically in a modest period of time.

But these stories often go unreported or are overshadowed by the constant drumbeat of gloom and doom in the mainstream media. Each episode of Wild Hope highlights the changemakers – farmers, fishers, students, teachers, citizen volunteers, and scientists – who are working to restore and protect biodiversity. We select stories that inspire and surprise us with bold interventions, unexpected alliances, and nature’s resilience.

Our overriding goals for the Wild Hope project are three-fold:

  • First, to help change the narrative from despair to hope by increasing awareness about how positive change is possible through local action.
  • Second, to spotlight the people and organizations who are leading the way.
  • And third, to inspire further action. We hope to build a movement – a community of supporters as well as active participants who seek ways to improve biodiversity in their own regions.

Join Us!!

Sean B. Carroll, Ph.D.

Biologist, Executive Producer and Head of HHMI Tangled Bank Studios