Half-Earth proposes an achievable plan to save our imperiled biosphere: devote half the surface of the Earth to nature.
In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date. Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature.
If we are to undertake such an ambitious endeavor, we first must understand just what the biosphere is, why it’s essential to our survival, and the manifold threats now facing it. In doing so, Wilson describes how our species, in only a mere blink of geological time, became the architects and rulers of this epoch and outlines the consequences of this that will affect all of life, both ours and the natural world, far into the future.
Half-Earth provides an enormously moving and naturalistic portrait of just what is being lost when we clip “twigs and eventually whole branches of life’s family tree.” In elegiac prose, Wilson documents the many ongoing extinctions that are imminent, paying tribute to creatures great and small, not the least of them the two Sumatran rhinos whom he encounters in captivity. Uniquely, Half-Earth considers not only the large animals and star species of plants but also the millions of invertebrate animals and microorganisms that, despite being overlooked, form the foundations of Earth’s ecosystems.
In stinging language, he avers that the biosphere does not belong to us and addresses many fallacious notions such as the idea that ongoing extinctions can be balanced out by the introduction of alien species into new ecosystems or that extinct species might be brought back through cloning. This includes a critique of the “anthropocenists,” a fashionable collection of revisionist environmentalists who believe that the human species alone can be saved through engineering and technology.
Despite the Earth’s parlous condition, Wilson is no doomsayer, resigned to fatalism. Defying prevailing conventional wisdom, he suggests that we still have time to put aside half the Earth and identifies actual spots where Earth’s biodiversity can still be reclaimed. Suffused with a profound Darwinian understanding of our planet’s fragility, Half-Earth reverberates with an urgency like few other books, but it offers an attainable goal that we can strive for on behalf of all life.
Available March 2016 from Liveright / W.W. Norton (ISBN 978-1-63149-082-8)
E.O. WILSON WRITES ABOUT HALF-EARTH
Biodiversity Days 2017
March 2–3, 2017
Carolina Theatre and Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, Durham, NC
The theme of Biodiversity Days this year is Half-Earth. Join us for two full days of public lectures, roundtable discussions, and film screenings about how the Half-Earth Project will bring this grand vision and important goal to life.
The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Distinguished Lectureship in Biodiversity:
E.O. Wilson presents “Half-Earth: How to Save the Natural World”
March 2, 2017
Carolina Theatre, Durham, NC
With panel discussants Thomas Lovejoy (George Mason University), John Seager (Population Connection), and Louie Psihoyos (Oceanic Preservation Society) and joined by singer, Paul Simon, for a solo performance and special announcement in support of Half-Earth
Celebration of E.O. Wilson’s Life Achievements and Half-Earth Launch
May 31, 2016
The Harvard Club of New York City
Special Guests: E.O. Wilson and Glenn Close
BRINGING HALF-EARTH TO LIFE
“The crucial factor in the life and death of species is the amount of suitable habitat left to them.”—E.O. Wilson
Our survival is inextricably entwined with the survival of all species that call our planet home. Yet our current destructive trajectory is resulting in mass extinction of species and irreparable damage to our world. With his Half-Earth call-to-action, E.O. Wilson has inspired a “moonshot” and created the groundwork for one of the grandest conservation efforts of our time, the Half-Earth Project.
The Half-Earth Project offers a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem. As this century’s most eminent biologist E.O. Wilson advocates in his book, Half-Earth, if we conserve half the land and sea, 85% of species will be protected from extinction. The Half-Earth Project’s programs convene expert partners and leaders in an inspiring campaign to raise conservation efforts to a new level and enhance our resilience. The Half-Earth Project will 1) drive the research needed to better understand and care for our world, 2) provide leadership to guide conservation efforts, and 3) engage people to participate broadly in the transcendent goal to conserve Half-Earth.
“Biodiversity as a whole forms a shield protecting each of the species that together compose it, ourselves included.”—E.O. Wilson
All humanity benefits when biodiversity is secure and we are living sustainably. Protecting half the Earth will allow these benefits to be continued indefinitely in support of future generations. The Half-Earth Project brings together deep scientific leadership, operational knowledge and inspirational engagement as never collaboratively convened before, creating fresh goal-driven energy where existing efforts are losing ground. It addresses gaps in our current approach to this crisis and creates a compelling campaign for re-invigorated action.
The Half-Earth Project has science at its core and our moral obligation to the rest of life at its heart. Sign up today to learn more about the Half-Earth Project and join us in bringing Half-Earth to life!
THE HALF-EARTH PROJECT: Learn how you can be part of bringing Half-Earth to life.