David Skorton, Secretary, Smithsonian
Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Nancy Knowlton, Sant Ocean Chair, National Museum of Natural History
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former president of Iceland and chairman, Arctic Circle
Maya Lin, artist and environmentalist
Erik Solheim, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program
Trammel Crow, philanthropist and investor
The Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Summit will bring together more than 150 scientists, thought leaders, philanthropists, conservationists and civic leaders to talk about what is working in conservation and how to scale up and replicate it.
The summit is a mix of plenary and “deep-dive” sessions on different topics and themes, including saving species, creating the conditions for biodiverse and sustainable cities, tracking the movement of life across the planet and using state-of-the-art DNA methods to combat poaching and invasive species. There will also be presentations from business leaders and philanthropists, artistic performances and film screenings.
The summit’s Innovation Commons will showcase new, innovative tools and products that are critical for conservation success. The “Make for the Planet” competition will challenge engineering teams to develop tools and technologies in real time to answer specific conservation challenges. The Innovation Commons is open to the public throughout the summit.
Public events will take place at Smithsonian museums, research centers and the National Zoo throughout the weekend. These include film screenings, a teen-only event at the National Museum of Natural History and an exhibition on the history of Earth Day at the National Museum of American History. The summit’s April 23 sessions—plenaries, talks and film screenings—are open to the public.
Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. April 21 and 22 and at 8 a.m. April 23. A full schedule of events, a list of speakers and descriptions of their talks, are available on the Earth Optimism website.