E.O. Wilson and Thomas Lovejoy

Two people who put the Earth first

In our recruitment for Environment America, we say that we put the Earth first. This past weekend, the Earth lost two of its most devoted and historically consequential champions: E.O. Wilson and Thomas Lovejoy. 

When you hear us calling for preserving and protecting 30% of the planet by 2030, you’re hearing the reverberations of Wilson’s Half-Earth Project, a last-ditch effort to stave off the mass extinction of species.

When we speak of biodiversity, we’re using a term that was, according to many, invented in 1980 by Thomas Lovejoy (though he said he merely popularized it). 

Both Wilson and Lovejoy spent their adult lives, long past the age when most retire, working to save the life on Earth that they studied so closely and cherished. 

Neither man’s life was free of controversy or criticism. The lives of those who dare to topple conventional views of the world seldom are. 

Wilson said, “I will argue that every scrap of biological diversity is priceless, to be learned and cherished, and never to be surrendered without a struggle.”

Amen to that.


Photo credit: Larisa-K on pixabay. 


Steve Blackledge

Senior Director, Conservation America Campaign, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Started on staff: 1991 B.A., Wartburg College Steve directs Environment America’s efforts to protect our public lands and waters and the species that depend on them. He led our successful campaign to win full and permanent funding for our nation’s best conservation and recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He previously oversaw U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns. Steve lives in Sacramento, California, with his family, where he enjoys biking and exploring Northern California.