Biodiversity Photo Gallery

Photographs by Charles J. Smith

Please read below some inspirational thoughts from scientists, thinkers, and conservationists on what biodiversity means to them . . .

What Is Biodiversity?

"Biodiversity is both a practical necessity and a spiritual underpinning of human existence. All organisms on our planet rely on the complex web of life for physical resources essential to survival: air, water, food, and a healthy environment. The human species is no exception, and unfortunately, our actions have upset the very balance of the global ecosystem. None of us can know where the line is drawn—how many species lost, and which ones, before we have gone too far..."



—David Prend, Managing General Partner and co-founder of RockPort Capital Partners, and Chairman of EOWBF Board of Directors

“Biodiversity is the totality of all inherited variation in the life forms of Earth, of which we are one species. We study and save it to our great benefit. We ignore and degrade it to our great peril.” —E.O. Wilson
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“Biodiversity gives us the opportunity to feel the joy of connection to a realm that is far greater than us as mere individuals. It’s a connections that goes back billions of years and ties our tiny lives to all of creation.” —Charles J. Smith, Entrepreneur; Conservationist; Photographer; and EOWBF Board of Directors
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“Biodiversity represents an irreplaceable resource. From the boiling acid pools of Java to the alkaline lakes of Africa to the silicon spires of Yellowstone Lake, the most unexpected forms of life survive, representing an untapped reservoir, not only for exploration, but for developing solutions to meet key challenges in our ever changing world.” —Jay Short, Founding President of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation; Principal of BioAtla; and CEO of Ciris Energy
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“For me biodiversity in agriculture is the answer to hunger and climate change. Biodiversity is freedom for all life forms. Biodiversity is our beautiful Earth Family.” —Dr. Vandana Shiva, Navdanya/Research Foundation for Science Technology & Ecology
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“We sing the song of our home because we are animals, and an animal is no better or wiser or safer than its habitat and its food chain.” —Barbara Kingsolver, Author
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“To me, biodiversity means adventure. I am hunter-gatherer, tracking down rare, unusual, and new species to tell the stories of their lives.” —Mark Moffett, PhD “Doctor Bugs”; Research Associate, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian; and Biologist and Contract Photographer, the National Geographic Magazine
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“Never again will we have as good a chance to restore and protect the natural systems that keep us alive. Now we know what no one knew when I was a child. Making peace with Nature is the best hope for having an enduring future for humankind.” —Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer; National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence; and EOWBF Board of Advisors
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“Even though our lives are supported by the unique living fabric of the earth, we are diminishing its resilience and destroying its beauty as if we were a savage occupying army. To the solution of this enormous problem we must devote our strength.” —Peter Raven, President Emeritus Missouri Botanical Garden
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“Biodiversity is the COOL stuff that inspires a sense of wonder in anyone who looks closely. Saving biodiversity requires creativity, observation, and a lot of perspiration!” —Meg Lowman, Tropical Treetop Explorer; Chief of Sciences and Sustainability, California Academy of Sciences; and former director of the Nature Research Center at the N.C. Museum of Life and Sciences
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“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. Going to the woods is going home.” —John Muir, Naturalist
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“I knew I could not just watch and be delighted by the remaining natural beauty. I had to do something tangible.” —Domingos Muala, Conservationist at Gorongosa National Park
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“I believe that once people really grasp what is at stake for their health and their lives, and for the health and lives of their children, they will do everything in their power to protect the living world.” —Eric Chivian, Nobel Laureate; Director, The Program for Preserving the Natural World; Associate, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University; Founder and Director Emeritus, Center for Health and Global Environment, Harvard Medical School; and former member of EOWBF Board of Advisors
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“Watching a species that I know my children might never see—or even one that I might be the last person to see—is so powerful a motivation for saving what we have. So, when we do save species or heal the fragmented landscapes over which so many threatened species now live, the joy is immeasurable.” —Stuart Pimm, SavingSpecies; and EOWBF Board of Advisors
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“There is grandeur in this view of life . . . from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” —Charles Darwin, the father of Evolutionary Theory
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“When future generations gaze over this landscape, will they be reminded how this place, this peninsula, these ecosystems, served as a wake-up call to jump-start the technological, societal, and political paths to a sustainable planet?” —James B. McClintock, Professor of Polar and Marine Biology, University of Alabama; and EOWBF Board of Advisors
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“Many people have never witnessed the biodiversity of the oceans – the coral reefs, kelp forests, seagrass meadows and mangroves, the fish and other ocean wildlife – that I have been lucky enough to know. I have also witnessed the damage humans have inflicted with millions of tons of toxins and plastics introduced into the blue heart of our planet—the decimation of 90 per cent of ocean species, hundreds of coastal dead zones, a sharp reduction in oxygen-generating carbon dioxide-absorbing phytoplankton, acidification of the ocean, acceleration of global warming. E.O. Wilson has said that we are letting ‘nature slip through our fingers.’ Depleting Earth’s f
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“Living in Mozambique, I learned very early to care about the soils beneath my feet, the air, water, plants, and animals on which my life depends. While war ripped through my country, not only humans but our natural resources suffered. I knew I could not just watch and be delighted by the remaining natural beauty, I had to do something tangible. So, I expanded the horizon of my life: I joined the conservation team at Gorongosa National Park. I have participated in biodiversity studies and helped with the reintroductions of majestic species: buffalos, wildebeest, hippos, elephants, and cheetas. Through philanthropist Greg Carr’s Gorongosa Restoration Project I have seen this wilde
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“As a child I built tree forts and fell in love with nature. I have grown up—but fortunately, so have my tree forts. As a student, I took risks, daring to climb tropical trees until I became one of the first scientists to discover that perhaps half of our terrestrial biodiversity lives in the treetops. I have learned from shamans about the ‘apothecary in the sky,’ I have studied tardigrades—so called water bears, and seen so much COOL stuff that inspires a sense of wonder, all from the tops of tropical trees. Of course, the loss of these forests and their priceless biodiversity frightens me, both as a mother and as an international scientist. So my urgent mission is to save
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“As the world has changed, my boyhood fascination with plants and animals gradually evolved into a passion to protect them, to save them from extinction, and to work to warn people as widely as possible about the dangers of losing them forever. The earth is now home to three times as many people as when I was born, each one driven by desires to consume more and more—often produced by dangerously outmoded technologies. Even though our lives are supported by the unique living fabric of the earth, we are diminishing its resilience and destroying its beauty as if we were a savage occupying army with no regard to our common future. To the solution of this enormous problem we must devote our
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“As a student of Ed Wilson, I learned how powerfully humans are drawn to stories. Biodiversity is the backdrop: the seemingly small behaviors of ants; the formation of human societies; the parallels between forest canopies and ocean ecosystems. My story-telling, whether through scientific publications, books, museum exhibits, even stand-up comedy, are all designed to convey the importance of biodiversity; essentially, to make people fall in love with the unexpected in nature.” —Mark Moffet, PhD, “Doctor Bugs”; Research Associate, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian; and Biologist and Contract Photographer, the National Geographic Magazine
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“For the last 40 years I have devoted my life to biodiversity in the wild and in our farms. For the last 25 years I have worked to save the diversity of our seeds. In this period, through research and practice I have learned that conserving biodiversity produces more food. For me biodiversity in agriculture is the answer to hunger and climate change. Biodiversity provides alternatives to a toxic production system. For me biodiversity is freedom for all life forms. Biodiversity is our beautiful Earth Family.” —Dr. Vandana Shiva, Navdanya/Research Foundation for Science Technology & Ecology
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“If you love photography as I do, biodiversity provides a lifetime of pleasure in unfolding and discovering its complexity. Biodiversity is nothing less than the myriad relationships of plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and, ultimately, people, one to another. It is nature herself, in all her complex glory. When I get my images home from a day of shooting, I’m nearly always amazed at the details that I hadn’t noticed in the field. Life’s diversity gives us the most basic, and hence, the most important materials that societies run on. Charles Darwin, in his last book, was the first to note that earthworms turn organic detritus into the topsoil with which we grow our cro
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“Biodiversity is both a practical necessity and a spiritual underpinning of human existence. All organisms on our planet rely on the complex web of life for physical resources essential to survival: air, water, food, and a healthy environment. The human species is no exception, and unfortunately, our actions have upset the very balance of the global ecosystem. None of us can know where the line is drawn—how many species lost, and which ones, before we have gone too far… But the human species has evolved beyond the need for mere physical necessities of life. The diversity of life on earth provides an intellectual and spiritual inspiration that contributes meaning to life. It stimulates scient
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