Half-Earth Day 2019

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.

How to Save the Natural World

“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

E.O. Wilson and Sally Jewell

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.

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

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

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 Q&A

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.

Pathways to a Half-Earth Future

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 J. 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.

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 threat 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 and Sustainability

The “Companies for a Half-Earth Future” panel explored how companies that are part of the new Half-Earth Project Initiative can contribute to this grand ambition through transformative, concrete actions, developing and sharing best practices, and integrating 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 of Lindblad Expeditions; Andres Gluski, President and CEO of AES; Jonathan Webb, Founder and CEO of AppHarvest; Eva Karlsson, CEO of 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 and CEO of Autodesk Foundation; Jason Kibbey, CEO of Higg Co.; and Nick Wobbrock, Co-Founder of Blue Forest Conservation, looked at how leading companies are thinking about sustainability and conservation and the successes and challenges in the field.

Education and 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 of the 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 at 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 U.S., 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, and diversity and inclusion in the conservation movement. This is the future of conservation. Panelists include Olivia Lomasi VanDamme, Coastal Access Activist and Surfer; Jennifer Adams, Regional Coordinator of 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 consilience between science and the humanities to a Half-Earth future, as well as the important role we all play in achieving the goal of Half-Earth.

Half-Earth Day is Co-hosted by

E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and University of California Berkeley College of Natural Resources


Burt's Bees

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. & Cathleen D. Stone Foundation

You may also be interested in...

Compare ×
Compare National Report Cards Continue Reviewing


[pmpro_signup submit_button="Register" level="1" login="1" redirect="referrer"]