Billionaire Buys 15% of the Planet to Protect It
Wyoming billionaire pledges to purchase around 15% of the planet, doubling the amount of protected lands and waters on Earth
Since the creation of the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, in 1872, 15 percent of the earth’s lands and 7 percent of its oceans have been protected in a natural state.
But some scientists have concluded that at least half the planet needs to be protected to save a large majority of plant and animal species from extinction.
A multi-billionaire has pledged $1 billion to get us closer to that goal.
The money will be used to “create and expand protected areas” with the goal of protecting 30 percent of the planet’s surface by 2030.
The 83-year-old Swiss-born steel magnate Hansjörg Wyss — who’s now an avid outdoorsman living in Wyoming — has already donated $450 million to protect 40 million acres of land and water across the globe since the establishment of the Wyss Foundation in 1998.
Wyss has also supported anti-poaching efforts, river restoration projects, African national park improvements, rails-to-trails initiatives and land conversation in his beloved adopted home, the American West.
He’s also pulled a handful of high-profile maneuvers to stop fossil fuel industries from degrading protected lands.
The new Wyss Campaign for Nature adds $1 billion more toward those efforts.
“Already, the campaign has identified nine locally led conservation projects spread across 13 countries — 10 million acres of land and 17,000 square kilometers of ocean in total — that will receive $48 million in assistance,” Mother Nature Network reports.
The first nine conservation projects to receive grants are:
1. Aconquija National Park and the National Reserve Project in Argentina
2. The Ansenuza National Park Project, also in Argentina
3. Costa Rica’s proposed Corcovado Marine Reserve
4. The multi-country Caribbean Marine Protected Areas initiative
5. The Andes Amazon Fund, which impacts Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and Guyana
6. Romania’s Fundatia Conservation Carpathia, which spearheads conservation efforts in the Carpathian Mountains
7. The Edéhzhíe Dehcho Protected Area and National Wildlife Area in Canada’s Northwest Territories
8. Australia’s Nimmie-Caira Project
9. The Gonarezhou National Park Project in Zimbabwe
Funds will be granted to additional projects over the next 10 years.
“I believe this ambitious goal is achievable because I’ve seen what can be accomplished,” Wyss writes in an editorial for the New York Times.
“We need to embrace the radical, time-tested and profoundly democratic idea of public-land protection that was invented in the United States, tested in Yellowstone and Yosemite, and now proven the world over.”
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