Half-Earth Day 2019

How to Save the Natural World

Pathways to a Half-Earth Future

Half-Earth is a call to conserve half the land and sea in order to safeguard the bulk of biodiversity and ensure the long-term health of our planet.

On Half-Earth Day 2019 we celebrated this grand ambition, showcased progress, engaged key stakeholders, and fielded questions from capacity crowds.

We invite you to view highlights of the full day of events.

Half-Earth: How to Save the Natural World

Evening Lectureship
Half-Earth: How to Save the Natural World

We Need Experts

“We need experts on organisms. You select them, and then become the world authority on them. And then lead the effort to take that group, whatever you’ve chosen… and undertake among your activities the discovery and the naming of all the remaining previously untreated species, and set it ready for this great effort to save the whole in one moonshot.”

– E.O. Wilson, Biologist and Naturalist

Half-Earth: How to Save the Natural World

It's Who We Are

“The health of the planet, and the health of the people, are inextricably linked. This fact that was first identified by the esteemed Dr. Ed Wilson in his concept of biophilia, which essentially says that we as human beings have an innate affinity for other living things—the natural world. It’s who we are.”

– Stephen H. Lockhart, Chief Medical Officer, Sutter Health

Half-Earth: How to Save the Natural World

For Future Generations

“It’s not just about ourselves right now, it’s really for the future generations that we need to sustain biodiversity, that we need to ensure that future generations will have these benefits that in some cases we’re not even aware of at this point.”

– Walter Jetz, Scientific Chair, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation

Half-Earth: How to Save the Natural World

We All Have A Role

“Anybody, no matter what your background, can have an impact on creating the kind of world that we want to see.”

– Sally Jewell, Interim CEO, The Nature Conservancy

How to Save the Natural World

Visionary biologist and naturalist E.O. Wilson sat down with Sally Jewell, Interim Chief Executive Officer for The Nature Conservancy, to talk about the core science and common humanity that is driving the success of the grand ambition of Half-Earth, and how we can all work together to save the natural world (full video of their discussion at right). Special guests included former Governor Jerry Brown; Stephen Lockhart, Chief Medical Officer, Sutter Health; Walter Jetz, Scientific Chair of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation; and UC Berkeley’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Paul Alivisatos.

Gov. Jerry Brown

“I take that as cheering for the ecosystem, of which I am a proud member,” said former California Governor Jerry Brown as he kicked off the evening with a surprise appearance. “Because it’s not us against the environment, but it’s us in the environment, part of the environment. And as one goes, so goes the other. And that’s what we’re here tonight to talk about.”

Stephen H. Lockhart

During Half-Earth Day 2019: How to Save the Natural World, Stephen H. Lockhart, Chief Medical Officer at Sutter Health, defines the problems we face as our environment deteriorates, how it affects species and people, and how we create the next generation of environmental stewards.

Walter Jetz

On Half-Earth Day 2019, following Stephen Lockhart’s talk describing the current state of the environmental crisis, Walter Jetz, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation Scientific Chair, presented The Solution to the Problem.

E.O. Wilson

During Half-Earth: How to Save the Natural World, E.O. Wilson encouraged young scientists to consider the emerging field of ecosystem sciences, to explore the possibilities of a renewed, boots-on-the-ground career path, and to be part of discovering the millions of species yet unknown to science.

Sally Jewell

Sally Jewell, Interim CEO of The Nature Conservancy, moderated the discussion with E.O. Wilson on Half-Earth Day, and also brought her considerable expertise to the evening. Noting her own degree in mechanical engineering, she expressed strongly that everyone, no matter your background, can make a positive contribution to protecting the natural world.

Half-Earth: Pathways to a Half-Earth Future

Daytime Conference

Pathways to a Half-Earth Future convened a conversation featuring a diversity of lectures, panels and workshops, including parallel educator & citizen science, science & technology, conservation & communities, and business & sustainability tracks.

Half-Earth: Getting to Half

During the opening plenary of Half-Earth: Pathways to a Half-Earth Future, Craig Mills, CEO of Vizzuality, discusses Emotional Information, a “moment of awe,” and the Half-Earth Map in this brief video clip. Paula Ehrlich, President and CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, Walter Jetz, Scientific Chair of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, and Piotr Naskrecki, Associate Director of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory in Gorongosa National Park also spoke during the opening.

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The Science of Half-Earth

Half-Earth is built on a solid scientific foundation. Two 2-hour scientific sessions were offered, featuring more than a dozen expert speakers and panelists. Global and Regional Conservation Priorities in Oceans and on Land” featured approaches, results and issues around identifying the most important places in the world for safeguarding species. California as a Case Study for Conservation in a Changing World” provided a detailed look at California for the science and decision-support needed for effective species conservation and diverse and changing environments. A panel discussion, “Protecting Pollinators,” addressed the scientifically documented decline of pollinators, from bees and wasps to butterflies, beetles, bats and others, and the threats this decline is having on ecosystems and people.

Biodiversity Inventory in Gorongosa

Piotr Naskrecki, Associate Director of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa National Park and the first Biodiversity Chair for the Foundation, presented the results and implications of the Park’s ambitious goal to document and map the complete species diversity of its habitats, and the use of this knowledge in the management of the conservancy.

Half-Earth Mapping Technology

Pathways to a Half-Earth Future featured two sessions on the technology behind the Half-Earth Map. “Behind the Half-Earth Map: Wireframes, Alpha-Diversity and Slugs” addressed the situations of life where the design and technology join to raise awareness of the biodiversity crisis.“Half-Earth Project + Esri: How GIS Elevates Biodiversity Understanding and Action” discussed the opportunities for the conservation sector and the private sector to partner in fostering sustainability at many levels.

Business & Sustainability

The “Companies for a Half-Earth Future” panel explored how companies that are part of this new Half-Earth Project Initiative can contribute to this grand ambition through transformative, concrete actions, develop and share best practices, and integrate sustainability into their core business models. Panel participants included: Introduction by Jeffrey Ubben, Founder and CEO of ValueAct Capital; Moderator Dennis Pamlin, Entrepreneur and Founder of 21st Century Frontiers; Sven-Olof Lindblad, President and CEO, Lindblad Expeditions; Andres Gluski, President and CEO, AES; Jonathan Webb, Founder CEO, AppHarvest; and Eva Karlsson, CEO, Houdini, and Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola Motor Company. The “Business, Sustainability and Conservation,” panel, moderated by Seren Pendleton-Knoll, featuring  Lynelle Cameron, Vice President, Sustainability, Autodesk, and CEO Autodesk Foundation, Jason Kibbey, CEO, Higg Co., and Nick Wobbrock, Co-Founder, Blue Forest Conservation, looked at how leading companies are thinking about sustainability and conservation, and both successes and challenges in the field.

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Education & Citizen Science

Beginning with the “Half-Earth Educator Ambassador Institute” 2-hour workshop, Half-Earth: Pathways to a Half-Earth Future, featured several opportunities for attendees interested in education and citizen science to engage with experts. In addition to the Institute, the day featured “Engaging Next Generation Stewards,” a panel discussion addressing aspects of citizen science, experiential learning and other opportunities that kindle the passion for environmental stewardship and citizen action. Later, the “Environmental Literacy and Envisioning Half-Earth in Schools and Communities” panel discussed how understanding key environmental principles and concepts are the foundation to building consensus and taking action.

Conservation and Communities

Dan Ashe, President and CEO, Association of Zoos & Aquariums, presented “Modern Zoos and Aquariums are Conservation Organization,” examining the 236 accredited members of the AZA that are transforming the very conception of a modern zoological institution. No longer simply curiosities or menageries, modern aquariums and zoos are purposeful conservation organizations, powered by engaging and inspiring attractions. Thea Yang, Master of Landscape Architecture, UC Berkeley, presented “Building a National Park System in China,” describing plans for evaluating and implementing 10 pilot parks in China, a process being led by UC Berkeley researchers. These pilot parks will be the beginnings of a fully developed national parks system in China.

Half-Earth: The Future of Conservation – Plenary

José González, Founder and Emeritus President of Latino Outdoors and highly-regarded leader in conservation leads a panel discussion with young rising leaders who reflect the changing demographics of the US, bringing new energy, enthusiasm and innovation to science and conservation. They discussed issues of environmental justice, historic discrimination in parks and public lands as well as current trends in justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the conservation movement. This is the future of conservation. Panelists include Olivia Lomasi VanDamme, Coastal Access Activist & Surfer; Jennifer Adams, Regional Coordinator, Latino Outdoors; and Amanda Machado, Writer and Facilitator.

The Importance of Science and the Humanities – Plenary

“The Importance of Science and the Humanities” began with a presentation by Island Press President David Miller celebrating the 25th-anniversary re-release of E.O. Wilson’s autobiography “Naturalist,” and featuring a sneak peek of a graphic adaptation to be released in 2020. Following this glimpse into his life and inspirational thinking, E.O. Wilson took the stage, and Esri Co-founder and President Jack Dangermond moderated a discussion about the importance of a consilience between science and the humanities to a Half-Earth future, and the important role we all play in achieving the goal of Half-Earth.

Half-Earth Day is Co-hosted By

Half-Earth Day Sponsors

Support for Half-Earth Day provided by E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation partner Burt’s Bees.

Additional Support Provided by

The Horace M. Albright Lecture in Conservation
The James M. And Cathleen D. Stone Foundation

Questions about Half-Earth Day? Contact Chris Heltne at (919) 219-2279, cheltne@eowilsonfoundation.org, or the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources at (510) 642-4902, cnr@berkeley.edu.

Visit Half-Earth Day 2019 for a full lineup of events.

Take a look back at Half-Earth Day 2018.