An author’s plan to help save the planet

Edward Wilson, better known as E.O. Wilson is an author, esteemed biologist and conservationist. His most recent book “Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life,” details his plan to help save the planet from extinction.

TRANSCRIPT

Edward Wilson, better known as E.O. Wilson, is an author, esteemed biologist, and conservationist.

In his most recent book, 'Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life,' he details his plan to help save the planet from extinction.

Here's the story.

Well, heck, if we knew how much land and how much sea was needed to save, let's say, most of the species, if we knew that, and then we just asked the world to donate that amount to reserves, we might solve most of the problem in one giant step.

In other words, instead of just a process of gradually getting better and better and saving more and more, make it one jump, and then we can all rest.

How much -- If you're saying half the Earth, how much -- how much is saved?

How much is protected?

If you could save half of the natural areas of the world, or the biodiversity wherever the biodiversity is, you'd save 85% of the species -- put them in as sustainable.

So if you save half, you'll save 85%.

Okay, why did I choose the figure half?

Because it's doable, and that's what my book 'Half-Earth' shows.

If that's what we choose to do, we can set aside that amount.

People don't have to leave.

They don't have to give up property rights.

But we would expect in those reserves not to have it converted to agriculture, not have the forest cut down, or the riverheads polluted or industry coming in.

That's not too hard to do.

And so it just happened that if we can do it that way, half is something people can remember.

85 -- it's doable.

85%, and then adding other measures to setting aside that amount of reserve.

Other measures, which I talk about in this book, you can put it on up higher.

And then we save Mother Nature.

I mean, we've saved the world's biodiversity.

So you've saved biodiversity.

Can you make the case -- I think you can -- that we save us?

Yes.

Okay.

Okay, we've gotten used to the -- as Mr. Gore calls it -- the 'Inconvenient Truth' that human activity is about to burn up the globe and us with it unless we stop now.

That's pretty solid science.

And I thought that we should have something for the rest of life.

As I said, we know how to reverse global warming and darn well better learn how to stop species extinction because it's getting faster and faster.

It's happening.

It could get to runaway.

It has all sorts of unpleasant consequences for humanity if we let too much of it disappear.

Actually, the whole world would unravel, because we need all those species to hold together the soil, to regenerate the soil, to provide the very atmosphere we breathe, and we need it sustainable.

We need all that diversity it's taken us 3 1/2 million years to create by evolution.

And we're not going to duplicate that with anything we can create ourselves.

We don't even understand how it works.

It took 3 1/2 million years -- years to create.

It's very hard to persuade a political leader, and, you know, in this country, particularly in these turbulent times, of supporting, piece by piece, conservation of species, particularly biological species, by saying to a political leader and the voters, 'Okay, now, we want to save this.

Now, here's what we're gonna do.

We need a park here.

We need a space to take special attention for these endangered species of plants over here.

We want money for this one, we want money for that one, and we want money over here for you folks who like to see the big trees of Oregon saved,' and so on -- that's not gonna work very well.

Right.

But if we say -- if we say, 'Help us put together half the land for reserves, and these are gonna be places where you can take your family.

It's gonna be places where you can really enjoy nature saved all around the world.

It can help us, too, in our country to set aside half, and here is exactly how we'll do it.

Here's the areas that we propose,' and so on.

Nobody yet has spoken up against this as not doable or incorrectly reasoned or anything.

I spoke with the United Nations, to environmental leaders and ministers of the environment and so on, they loved it.

So, because it's a goal.

It's not just a process -- you know, things we should be doing and will somehow get there.

Let's go, 'You do this, we get that.'