Swiss philanthropist and conservationist Hansjörg Wyss, who founded the medical device company Synthes and now lives in Wyoming in the US, set out his wish to keep more of the earth in its natural state in a column in the New York Times.
“Since the creation of the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, in 1872, 15 percent of the earth’s lands and 7 percent of its oceans have been protected in a natural state – Yellowstone is a 8,991 km² park in the US state of Wyoming.
But some scientists, including the Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, have concluded that at least half the planet needs to be protected to save a large majority of plant and wildlife species from extinction. Indeed, the food, clean water and air we need to survive and prosper depends on our ability to protect the planet’s biological diversity. In other words, we have to protect half to save the whole.
Every one of us — citizens, philanthropists, business and government leaders — should be troubled by the enormous gap between how little of our natural world is currently protected and how much should be protected. It is a gap that we must urgently narrow, before our human footprint consumes the earth’s remaining wild places.
For my part, I have decided to donate $1 billion over the next decade to help accelerate land and ocean conservation efforts around the world, with the goal of protecting 30 percent of the planet’s surface by 2030.
We need to embrace the radical, time-tested and profoundly democratic idea of public-land protection that was invented in the United States, tested in Yellowstone and Yosemite, and now proven the world over.
For the sake of all living things, let’s see to it that far more of our planet is protected by the people, for the people and for all time.”
To read the full article in the New York Times click here.