As I was cleaning out my email inbox (in an attempt to avoid "real" work), I came across this fabulous interview with renowned ecologist E.O. Wilson. It's from nearly a year ago, but a great reminder about why habitat conservation is so important in maintaining biodiversity. If you're looking for a thought-provoking read on conservation ethics or a little hope in the doom and gloom we're living, keep reading for the first section. You can follow this link to the entire interview.
E.O. Wilson on Half-Earth, Donald Trump, and hope
One of the greatest biologists since Charles Darwin discusses his plan to save the biodiversity of Earth, and include everyone in the effort
BY JEREMY HANCE ON 17 JANUARY 2017
" At 87, E.O. Wilson has lost none of his intellectual rigor.
His sentences are long, rolling, full of enough parentheticals to make Proust smile, and delivered in a wonderfully soothing, southern voice. He has an incredible ability to jump from subject to subject, to provide detailed context and endless lines of proofs for every argument. He can spout data like fertility statistics or findings from the latest research on the fly.
But, for all his accomplishments, he has retained a politeness that is pleasantly disarming and a humility that is astounding. When you speak with him – even as I did over the phone – you feel like you’re talking to a grandparent (who just happens to be a genius) and not one of the foremost scientists of the last hundred years.
It’s not hyperbole to contend that E.O. Wilson is the greatest biologist since Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace sailed the Earth armed with butterfly nets, microscopes and piles of notebooks. In a career that spans six-plus decades (and ongoing) Wilson aided in developing the concept of biodiversity, biophilia, and uncovered – along with partner Robert McArthur – the theory of island biogeography, all of which overturned how conservationists, ecologists and, yes even, world leaders looked at the natural world.
But these revolutionary discoveries were actually a tad outside Wilson’s main expertise. Wilson is regarded as the world’s leading expert on that taxonomic family that outweighs collectively all others: ants. Wilson was instrumental in discovering how ants communicate via pheromones and has spent a lifetime studying their intricate, social structures – so like, and unlike, our own. It’s from his study of these tiny-bodied, six-legged world conquerors that he developed the evolutionary concept of sociobiology, meaning that social behavior – of ants and humans – can be attributed to the potent power of evolution. According to Wilson our sociability is hardwired in the genetic material passed down through generations. Through this, he has described both human origins and human nature – an idea fully outlined in his 2013 book, The Social Conquest of Earth – with much controversy and not a little debate."
Read the entire interview here.