Human being is how Lily Cole defines herself first. And then as an environmentalist, filmmaker, model, entrepreneur, mother and actor. This viewpoint is one of her key driving forces as she empowers those around her to embrace optimism when addressing environmental issues.
Her book "Who cares wins: Reasons for optimism in our changing world." is a summary of what different people, companies, academics and organisations are thinking about positive change to prevent environmental disaster.
Lily shares her thoughts with Oyuna on mindset, nomadism, land and life.
Oyuna: Can you share us your thoughts on using optimism for positive change? I innately believe in a human positive baseline.
Lily: I am too, and actually there's a big part about that in my book. Co-operation is such a big part of evolution and human nature - there are so many examples of humans being cooperative and kind. The idea that we’re innately selfish is somewhat of a myth, I think.
And in terms of optimism, for me optimism is rooted in believing anything is possible and we can choose the future we want. It doesn’t mean it’s going to turn out well, but we have the power to affect how it turns out. By being optimistic that a better future is possible we are more likely to create a better future.
Oyuna: You can’t make your dreams happen until you really decide that. Then they actually can come true.
Lily: Exactly that, we create our future in a way that if we are optimistic and we believe we can solve problems, and come together, we can overcome the different challenges we have. We’re more likely to actually make the effort and make the changes that are needed to get to that better future. And I also believe there are lots of things going in a positive direction, and there are lots of things that are not. There are a lot of scary things happening in the environment, but there are also a lot of people that are waking up, and there's more public awareness and more and more political change, and that makes me optimistic.
Oyuna: Without an optimistic outlook, what else is left - what’s the point of having a negative outlook and saying it’s not going to work.
When you had your daughter, did it change your views on the environment and sustainability or strengthen it?
Lily: Yes and no. It probably strengthened it, but I was already working in the environmental space, so it wasn’t new. However, thinking about the next generation and the reality that you're giving this earth to the next generation, and then their children, and their children, and theirs, maybe came home a bit more. It didn’t change me, it just made me more committed to what I was doing.