An Important Question From E.O. Wilson


A bald uakari monkey (Cacajao calvus) in the flooded forest of the Amazon in Brazil. The IUCN Red List categorizes this species as vulnerable. Photograph: Alamy

Thanks to the Guardian for continuing to give a platform where it is most needed with respect to the natural environment:

Could we set aside half the Earth for nature?

Renowned biologist E.O. Wilson wants to set aside half of the planet as protected areas for nature. But is this possible? And, if so, how would it work?

by Jeremy Hance

As of today, the only place in the universe where we are certain life exists is on our little home, the third planet from the sun. But also as of today, species on Earth are winking out at rates likely not seen since the demise of the dinosaurs. If we don’t change our ways, we will witness a mass extinction event that will not only leave our world a far more boring and lonely place, but will undercut the very survival of our species.

So, what do we do?

E.O. Wilson, one of the world’s most respected biologists, has proposed a radical, wild and challenging idea to our species: set aside half of the planet as nature preserves.

“Even in the best scenarios of conventional conservation practice the losses [of biodiversity] should be considered unacceptable by civilised peoples,” Wilson writes in his new book, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life. One of the world’s most respected biologists, Wilson is known as the father of sociobiology, a specialist in island biogeography, an expert on ant societies and a passionate conservationist.


A blue poison dart frog ( Dendrobates azuresus) photographed in a studio. Even as scientists fear for global biodiversity, amphibians are already suffering from an extinction crisis. Scientists believe we have lost around 200 species of amphibians in recent decades. Photograph: Life on white / Alamy/Alamy

In the book, Wilson argues eloquently for setting aside half of the planet for nature, including both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. He writes that it’s time for the conservation community to set a big goal, instead of aiming for incremental progress…

Read the whole article here.

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