31 Oct 2018

Why I’m Donating One Billion Dollars to Save the Planet

A generous gift and an ambitious goal to save our lands


Walter Diaz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In an effort to help accelerate land and ocean conservation across the globe, Hansjörg Wyss (MBA 1965) announced in a New York Times opinion piece that he is giving $1 billion over the next decade to support locally led conservation efforts around the world. The goal: to protect 30 percent of the planet’s surface by 2030.

I believe this ambitious goal is achievable because I’ve seen what can be accomplished. Indigenous peoples, local leaders and conservation groups around the world are already busy setting aside protected areas that reflect the conservation, economic and cultural values of nearby communities. Financial support from philanthropists and governments is critical to helping these leaders conserve places like the coral reefs of the Caribbean, the glaciers of Argentina and what is known as the “place of many elephants” in Zimbabwe.

Wyss writes that he is inspired by the example set by Yellowstone, which was the world’s first national park when it was created in 1872. Since then, 15 percent of the planet’s land and 7 percent of its oceans have been protected. Wyss’s foundation has supported local efforts to protect nearly 40 million acres of land and water in Africa, South America, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

“We need to embrace the radical, time-tested and profoundly democratic idea of public-land protection that was invented in the United States, tested in Yellowstone and Yosemite, and now proven the world over,” he writes.


Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1965, Section E

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