DURHAM, N.C., Oct. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation today announced the planet's first Half-Earth Day to take place at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23. Studies show that if we conserve half of our land and seas, at least 85 percent of species will be protected from extinction. Half-Earth Day is a celebration and a call to action—bringing together leaders in conservation, from around the world and across disciplines, to share their ideas and inspire innovative and impactful conservation efforts with this audacious goal in mind.
Global conservationists, scientists and the general public will join renowned biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author Edward O. Wilson for the all-day, inaugural event, which is co-convened by the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and National Geographic to highlight the work of research and conservation organizations working to explore and protect the living Earth.
"The Half-Earth approach is not only science-based, but it will also expand fundamental science into new directions," said Edward O. Wilson, university research professor emeritus at Harvard, and the guiding force that shapes the mission of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. "The goal of discovering and mapping all biodiversity, and especially at the level of species, will lead to immense new knowledge in basic and applied biology."
"Our planet is at a crossroads, and there is both an opportunity and a critical need to act now, and to do so boldly," said Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society. "National Geographic is proud to convene the first-ever Half-Earth Day to inspire people everywhere to understand and care for our world, furthering our progress toward a healthier and more sustainable future for generations to come."
Half-Earth Day will feature afternoon and evening public sessions at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. The afternoon session, "Conservation in Action: Bringing Half-Earth to Life," will highlight models of large-landscape and ocean conservation, including the work of the Gorongosa Restoration Project, Tompkins Conservation, African Parks, American Prairie Reserve and National Geographic's Pristine Seas project.
The culmination of the day will feature an evening event, "Celebrating Half-Earth: Steps to a Solution," presented by the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation Distinguished Lectureship in Biodiversity. Special guests will include eminent biologist Edward O. Wilson, biologist and author Sean B. Carroll and legendary recording artist Paul Simon.
The all-day collaboration builds upon a rich history between E.O. Wilson and National Geographic that dates back to 1939, when E.O Wilson was inspired to become an entomologist after reading about insects in National Geographic magazine. In 2013, the National Geographic Society presented E.O. Wilson with the Hubbard Medal, its most prestigious honor, which is given to individuals for the highest distinction in exploration, scientific research and discovery.
"National Geographic is committed to protecting the planet and the world's biodiversity," said Jonathan Baillie, chief scientist and senior vice president, science and exploration, at the National Geographic Society. "We are investing in projects and people who are contributing tangible results in conservation, research, mapping and technology to ensure the long-term well-being of the planet. Half-Earth Day is a tremendous opportunity to gather with people who share that vision and to find new ways to collaborate."
"Half-Earth Day is convening scientists, conservationists and the public to share their unique contributions and thought leadership and to inspire fresh, goal-driven energy and engagement in this compelling campaign," said Paula Ehrlich, president and CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. "There's never been a more important moment for us to focus on understanding and action to care for our world. We're asking everyone to take the Half-Earth Pledge and do what they can to preserve the Earth's biodiversity. Together, as global citizens, we can protect the majority of species and our planet, the only home we will ever know."
Half-Earth Day is a free, ticketed event, open to the public and the scientific community. To learn more about Half-Earth Day, visit www.half-earthproject.org/half-earthday.
About the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation
The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation fosters a knowing stewardship of our world through biodiversity research and education initiatives that promote and inform worldwide preservation of our biological heritage. Learn more at eowilsonfoundation.org.
About the Half-Earth Project
The Half-Earth Project has science at its core and our moral obligation to the rest of life at its heart. In collaboration with our partners, we are working to power one of the grandest conservation efforts of our time, and provide the urgently needed research, leadership and engagement necessary to conserve half the planet for the rest of life. Learn more at half-earthproject.org.
About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. Through our grants and programs, we aspire to create a community of change, advancing key insights about our planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Our goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.org.
SOURCE National Geographic Society