- Alison Snyder
- Jun 22
The case for protecting half the Earth in its natural condition
Rebecca Zisser / Axios
E.O. Wilson wants to finish what Carl Linnaeus started 300 years ago: cataloguing and naming all of Earth's species.
Why he matters: Wilson - whose expertise is ants - has become the planet's conscience when it comes to biodiversity. In the early 1960s, he and his colleague Robert MacArthur mathematically described how islands could maintain a greater number of diverse species. That idea was the foundation for more exact planning of nature reserves, which he describes as islands in a sea of land, that are now a tenet of global conservation efforts.
I talked with Wilson about his idea to preserve half of Earth, whether biotechnology can save the planet's biodiversity and more. Excerpts from the interview are below.