We contend that there is a continuing culture of hopelessness among conservation biologists, one that will affect whom we recruit to academic halls of conservation science, and that will influence our ability to mobilize conservation action among the general public. We explore the repercussions of hopelessness for the field of conservation biology and challenge conservation scientists to better balance realism with hope. People must believe that their actions make a difference. Although others have suggested a need for hope, conservation biologists have not yet found an effective way to address this continuing problem. We advocate for the establishment of professional rituals that force us to regularly confront despair and seek out the positive, even when things take a turn for the worse. These measures may seem drastic, but history proves this wrong: Unless we are reminded, we conservationists are stingy with our hope.
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