A Swiss billionaire has pledged to donate $1 billion (£769,470,000) across the next 10 years to help conservation efforts. Philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss, CEO of the Wyss Foundation, announced the bold plans in October last year. The foundation hopes to help protect land and oceans by supporting conservation work carried out across the world, as well as raising awareness of environmental issues and funding a number of scientific projects. Attenborough would be proud.
Writing for the New York Times, Wyss has said he believes it is ‘achievable’ to conserve 30 percent of the Earth by 2030, adding that land and seas can be best protected when they are turned into ‘public national parks, wildlife refuges and marine reserves’. The foundation hopes to offer support to locally-run conservation work.
Greg Zimmerman, communications director at the Wyss Campaign for Nature, told Business Insider:
“What we found over the years is that if it’s not being driven by folks who live in these communities, if there’s not local buy-in, then you’re going to have a political problem, you’re going to have a problem of these places [not] being protected permanently.”
Writing for the New York Times, Wyss says:
“Every one of us – citizens, philanthropists, business and government leaders – should be troubled by the enormous gap between how little of our natural world is currently protected and how much should be protected. It is a gap that we must urgently narrow, before our human footprint consumes the earth’s remaining wild places.”
— Wyss Campaign for Nature (@WyssCampaign) October 31, 2018
And he’s certainly putting his money where his mouth is – to the tune of a billion dollars over the next decade. A statement announcing the longer-term plans for the cash said the foundation will focus on:
“Creating and expanding protected areas, encouraging the international community to establish more ambitious protected area targets, investing in science, and inspiring conservation action and new investments around the world.”
Over the past 20 years, the Wyss Foundation has donated more than $450 million to preserve wild habitats around the world. Through the hard work of Wyss and the foundation, almost 40 million acres of land and water are being protected, Live Kindly reports.
You can find out more about the work the foundation carries out on the official website here.