6 MARCH 2018 #43 THE HALF-EARTH PROJECT

HALF OF EARTH MUST STAY WILD

ONE THING threatens Earth even more than climate change – the extinction of species.

Species extinction is the other major threat to Earth. Extinction of species by human activity is accelerating at a pace to eliminate more than half of all species by the end of this century — destabilizing Earth’s billion-year-old environmental support system. And while climate changes can be corrected, extinct species are gone forever. Extinctions must be prevented. They cannot be corrected.Perhaps we can stabilize Earth’s climate by reducing carbon emissions and developing technologies such as carbon removal and sunlight deflection. Humans probably have the brains to halt and correct climate change … if we have the will.

Species extinction is the other major threat to Earth. Extinction of species by human activity is accelerating at a pace to eliminate more than half of all species by the end of this century — destabilizing Earth’s billion-year-old environmental support system. And while climate changes can be corrected, extinct species are gone forever. Extinctions must be prevented. They cannot be corrected.

Can we curb this death-spiral of species extinction? Conservation scientists have proposed a formula — called the HALF-EARTH PROJECT. It means we must keep half the land and half the sea of the planet wild — as protected from human activity as possible.

Which places to protect? Scientists recommend three criteria: (1) areas judged best in number and rareness of species by experienced field biologists. (2) “Hot spots,” — localities with many important species of groups such as birds and trees . (3) Areas of particular geography and vegetation, called “ecoregions.”

Many land and marine areas around the globe are already protected by national and international laws and agreements. Many more need protection.

In my next book, FUTURE CHRONICLES — now in progress — I am writing about the establishment of national and global parks in the Third Century of THE AGE OF SPACE — including the PACIFIC TEMPERATE ZONE FOREST stretching from Muir woods, near San Francisco, to the Columbia Glacier in Alaska.

Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University Professor Emeritus, heads the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation (website https://eowilsonfoundation.org/e-o-wilson/ ). You can find his column about the Half-Earth Project published 8 March 2018 in the New York Times at http://nyti.ms/2oPBFiK .

WarrenHall Crain
Seattle, Washington
6 March 2018

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