Modern Darwin of Harvard University warns of the decline of humanity

BOSTON – The slope of human history will always be downhill unless there is global cooperation to save existing species, said the Harvard scientist, who has called for half the planet to be set aside as a nature reserve.

The 92-year-old naturalist Edward O. Wilson, hailed as Darwin of the 21st century, said humankind isn’t too polarized to save the planet, even as some of the world’s biggest polluters stop cutting emissions Carbon and halt global warming. .

Sees preventing catastrophic climate change – The goal of the UN climate talks Getting started in Scotland on Sunday – and conserving biodiversity, or the world’s variety of plant and animal species, as two initiatives that must happen together.

“This is the most societal endeavor with a clear, specific purpose humanity has ever achieved, and we need to have that kind of cooperation and moral harmony and planning in order to make it work,” Wilson told Reuters in an interview outside Boston in October. 21.

“Otherwise, the slope of human history will always be downward.”

Today, species are extinct at a rate not seen in 10 million years, with about a million currently on edge. To reduce losses, the United Nations urged countries to comply Preserving 30% of their land and water Almost double the area currently under some form of protection – by 2030.

The so-called “30 x 30” target was partially inspired by the Half-Earth Wilson Project. First identified in 2016, it calls for protecting half of the planet’s land and sea so that there are enough diverse and well-connected ecosystems to reverse the extinction path of species.

“The point is that human nature has not changed enough. Our strong tendencies of a social nature tend to disturb the lives of most other species,” Wilson said.

American biologist E.O. Wilson in an interview with Reuters in Lexington, Massachusetts, US, October 21, 2021.
American biologist E.O. Wilson in an interview with Reuters in Lexington, Massachusetts, US, October 21, 2021.
Reuters

Humanity continues to solve problems by burning materials – coal and oil – left behind by ancient organisms, Wilson said, denouncing the constant exploration and burning of fossil fuels, further destroying biodiversity.

The Group of 20 rich nations remains divided over coal phasing out and a commitment to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures. G20 countries account for 80 percent of global emissions, but big polluters such as China and India have been affected so far.

Ant-Man started small

Along with British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, Wilson is the world’s leading authority on natural history and conservation.

He is also the world’s number one authority on ants, having discovered more than 400 species. He has written two Pulitzer Prize-winning books and popularized the term “biodiversity,” which led to a movement to conserve all species on the planet while protecting against humankind’s domination of natural resources. He has been at Harvard University for 70 years and still works as a coordinator in entomology.

American biologist E.O. Wilson in an interview with Reuters in Lexington, Massachusetts, US, October 21, 2021.
American biologist E.O. Wilson in an interview with Reuters in Lexington, Massachusetts, US, October 21, 2021.
Reuters

His path as an entomologist – someone who studies insects – was outlined at the age of ten, when he spent hours in the woods of Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC.

“I already had a serious library of my collection of insects and butterflies,” Wilson recounted during the interview.

One of his career highlights would come years later when he climbed more than 13,000 feet (3,962 metres) into the middle of the Sarawag mountain range in Papua New Guinea.

He said he owes part of his adventurous spirit to his great-grandfather William “Black Bell” Wilson, who piloted a steamer during the American Civil War. He was captured and imprisoned by Union forces for attempting to transport arms and other supplies to the Confederacy.

Wilson is a natural storyteller and his writing style is on full display in “The Ants,” a book he wrote in 1990 with Bert Holdebler. The study is over 700 pages long and weighs over 7 pounds.

One of his greatest achievements, he said, is figuring out how ants transmit danger and food paths, for example, by emitting chemicals.

American biologist E.O. Wilson poses for a photograph in Lexington, Massachusetts, United States, October 21, 2021.
American biologist E.O. Wilson poses for a photograph in Lexington, Massachusetts, United States, October 21, 2021.
Reuters

Now living in a retired community in a suburb of Boston in the northeastern United States, Wilson continues to write and author a book on ecosystems.

Despite his love and fascination with ants, he ignores any suggestion that humans should model themselves according to their traits or the traits of any other species as a means of improvement.

“I’d say something bold,” Wilson said. “Following the ethics and behavior of most other species would lead us to more war on (the use of resources)…”

However, he is optimistic that humanity will dedicate more space than in the past to save the rest of Earth’s biology.

“It would be one of mankind’s most proud accomplishments,” Wilson said. “If we fail to do so, and a large part of the world’s biodiversity is allowed to be annihilated, this neglect will be considered one of humanity’s greatest failures.”

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