Billionaire Hansjörg Wyss wants to save the planet! As part of his strategy to achieve this, he is donating 1 billion dollars over the next decade to help the cause. This money will serve to accelerate land and ocean conservation around the world. The organization responsible for plan and action of the donation is called The Wyss Campaign for Nature.
Who is Hansjörg Wyss?
Wyss is first and foremost a philanthropist and lover of nature. Apart from that, he is a Swiss-born multi-billionaire who acquired all his wealth in the healthcare industry. He is an entrepreneur who founded the medical device company Synthes then sold it to Johnson & Johnson in 2012. Throughout his lifetime he has supported philanthropic causes relating to environmental protection, social justice, and science.
Why does the planet need saving?
According to scientists, like Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, at least half of the planet needs to be protected to save a large majority of plant and wildlife species from extinction. At the moment, only 15 percent of the earth’s lands and 7 percent of its oceans have been protected in a natural state. They believe that if 50 percent was reserved and protected that it would also solve all the other global problems of pollution and such.
“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 told The New York Times.
We must preserve a substantial portion of our planet in a natural state. He explains: “It is the idea that wild lands and waters are best conserved not in private hands, locked behind gates, but as public national parks, wildlife refuges and marine reserves, forever open for everyone to experience and explore. The notion of holding these places in public trust was one I became deeply influenced by as a young man, when I first climbed and hiked on public lands in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.”
How will the money help?
The plan is that the 1 billion dollars will support locally led conservation efforts around the world, push for increased global targets for land and ocean protection, seek to raise public awareness about the importance of this effort, and fund scientific studies to identify the best strategies to reach our target. The overall goal is to protect 30 percent of the planet’s surface by 2030.
“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. For the sake of all living things, let’s see to it that far more of our planet is protected by the people, for the people and for all time,” says Wyss.
What is The Wyss Campaign for Nature?
Excerpt from the website: The Wyss Campaign for Nature builds on two decades of work by the Wyss Foundation to support locally led conservation initiatives in the United States and, in recent years, Africa, South America, Europe, Canada, and Mexico. Since 1998, the Wyss Foundation has donated more than $450 million, enabling the foundation’s partners to conserve nearly 40 million acres—or over 16 million hectares—of land and water around the world.
“The Wyss Campaign for Nature is remarkable for its vision, scale, and extraordinary commitment to conserving lands and waters in the public trust,” said Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “The Nature Conservancy is proud to be a partner in the Wyss Campaign for Nature, and we are grateful for Hansjörg Wyss’s philanthropic leadership at such a critical moment for our planet’s wild places.”
For more detailed information about the campaign’s funded projects click here.