“Biologist E O Wilson’s grand idea of setting aside half of the planet for nature to thrive is both appealing and deeply challenging, writes William Lynn. But it’s missing a key element: an urban vision of how people can live ecologically, joyously in the half we make our own.
“A much-anticipated book in conservation and natural science circles is E O Wilson’s Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, which is due early next year.
“It builds on his proposal to set aside half the Earth for the preservation of biodiversity.
“The famous biologist and naturalist would do this by establishing huge biodiversity parks to protect, restore and connect habitats at a continental scale.
“Local people would be integrated into these parks as environmental educators, managers and rangers – a model drawn from existing large-scale conservation projects such as Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) in northwestern Costa Rica.
“The backdrop for this discussion is that we are in the sixth great extinction event in earth’s history. More species are being lost today than at any time since the end of the dinosaurs. There is no mystery as to why this is happening: it is a direct result of human depredations, habitat destruction, overpopulation, resource depletion, urban sprawl and climate change.”
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