E.O. Wilson’s “Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life” Named Winner of a Reed Environmental Writing Award

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) recently announced the 2017 recipients of the Reed Environmental Writing Awards, saluting “three writers who offer bold visions for revitalizing our cities and saving the world’s species, and who reveal the global and local impacts of our dependence on fossil fuels.”

This year’s winners of the Reed Award in the book category are Edward O. Wilson for Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life (Liveright Publishing Corp.) and Ryan Gravel for Where We Want to Live: Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities (St. Martin’s Press). The winner of the Reed Award in the journalism category is Janisse Ray for “From Ashes Such as These, What Can Rise?”, published in The Bitter Southerner. The awards were highlighted March 25 at SELC’s headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the Virginia Festival of the Book.

A native of Alabama, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University, an eminent biologist, and one of the world’s most revered conservationists. In Half-Earth, he makes the case for committing half of the planet to nature to curb the accelerating extinction of Earth’s species—and to ensure the survival of our own. His book begins by showing how human activity and its impacts, including climate change, are rapidly reducing the world’s biodiversity. It continues with a sweeping overview of surviving species and the threats they face. And it concludes with his remedy for maintaining the world’s rich variety of life for future generations: “a global network of inviolable reserves that cover half the surface of Earth.”

SELC’s Reed Environmental Writing Award is named for the late Phillip D. Reed, a distinguished attorney, a committed environmental advocate, and a founding trustee of SELC. Reed believed deeply in the power of writing to raise awareness of environmental issues and the forces that threaten natural treasures and special places. SELC’s annual Reed Environmental Writing Award has two categories: Book, for non-fiction books (not self-published), and Journalism, for newspaper, magazine and online articles. Entries must be at least 3,000 words; published in the year ending September 30, 2016, and pertain to the environment in at least one of the six states in SELC’s region (Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia). Prizes of $1,000 are awarded to the winner in each category. Their panel of judges includes some of the top environmental writers, journalists and activists of our time.