A Swiss philanthropist and conservationist has pledged to donate $1 billion in the next 10 years to save the planet.
Hansjörg Wyss, a billionaire, said he hopes to help accelerate land and ocean conservation around the world by supporting locally led conservation efforts, funding scientific projects, and raising public awareness about the importance of doing so.
Through his Wyss Foundation, the billionaire aims to help conserve 30 per cent of the Earth in a natural state by 2030 and – in his own words – believes this is ‘achievable’ because he’s seen what can be accomplished.
In an opinion piece for The New York Times, Wyss noted that land and water is best conserved as public national parks, wildlife refuges, and marine reserves rather than being kept private.
The billionaire also noted that plant and animal species are estimated to be disappearing at a rate 1,000 times faster than they were before humans came on the scene; this is reinforced by research done at Brown University.
Furthermore, since the creation of the world’s first national park in 1872, Wyss notes 15 per cent of the Earth’s lands and seven per cent of its oceans have been protected in a natural state.
However, scientists claim at least half the planet needs to be protected to save a large majority of species from extinction. Wyss hopes he will be able to contribute to this.
Wyss’s campaign will support locally-led efforts to help manage parks and protected areas. As per Business Insider, Wyss will also sponsor research at the University of Bern, Switzerland, so that scientists can determine the most effective conservation methods.
The billionaire writes in the The New York Times:
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.
Wyss’s foundation has already played a major part in protecting wild places across the world, in places like Africa, South America, Europe, Canada, and Mexico, and has donated more than $450 million over the past two decades, he writes.
The philanthropist hopes if we all work together, we can protect our planet ‘for all time’ – but he urges this needs to start now.
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