Saving Biodiversity and the Half-Earth Project – an Interview with Dr. Paula Ehrlich

Paula J. Ehrlich, President and CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation spoke with Diane Wittner, Producer and Co-Host of Solutionary Perspectives to discuss the Half-Earth Project, the threats to biodiversity, and how we can protect the species of our planet so that they, and we, can thrive together.

In the interview clips below, Dr. Ehrlich addresses the importance of the Half-Earth “moonshot,” and highlights the need for deep scientific inquiry and a paradigm shift in our relationship to our planet in the wake of the coronavirus.

You talk about the term “moonshot.” It sounds like Dr. Wilson deliberately used that term to get to the Half-Earth goal. Why is that term right for this effort?

“I think [Ed] has always imagined that, presented with a “moonshot” goal, we’d each, together, use our unique experience and expertise to drive conservation efforts to a new level – that this goal would elevate our nobler instincts and convene scientists, conservationists – well, people – to work together to protect the majority of species and our planet – to move us beyond a piecemeal process that has not been successful, to an ambitious goal that will solve the problem.” 

What are we learning from the COVID-19 pandemic that will inform the Half-Earth Project moving forward?

“One of the things that the coronavirus has taught us is the extraordinary importance of deep science, a reverence for the important work of research scientists, and the importance of collaboration and sharing of that research in order to support our lives. And as I see people more fully engaging with that, it does make me hope that this could nudge a shift in paradigm that could have important consequences for how we think about our relationship to our planet and to each other, and really pushing us to renew our scientific inquiry and to collaborate to support a Half-Earth future.”

“I know it is a hard time, but I hope that it will also allow us the time to think about the important stuff, to imagine that life could be a paradise – if we want it to be, right? As Ed says in the book, Half-Earth, ‘To strive against odds on behalf of all life…’ – to come together around the Half-Earth goal and solution for our planet – ‘…would be humanity at its most noble.’ ”

Watch the full interview here:

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