Can we conserve half the planet for the survival of all species? Scientists and conservationists at the world’s first Half-Earth Day think we can.

Scientists and conservationists from around the world were joined by special guests, including eminent biologist Edward O. Wilson and legendary recording artist Paul Simon, to celebrate the planet’s first-ever Half-Earth Day on Oct. 23.

The all-day inaugural event, co-convened by the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and National Geographic, highlighted efforts to halt rising extinction rates and help conserve half the planet. Half-Earth Day featured two large-scale public events, and a morning scientific session, that brought together scientists to discuss their research regarding how we can achieve the Half-Earth goal.

Half-Earth Day was inspired by E.​ ​O.​ ​Wilson’s best-selling book, Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life (read more about the book here).​ As Paula Ehrlich, president and CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation explained at the evening session, “Half-Earth is E.O. Wilson’s call to conserve half our planet’s lands and seas in order to safeguard the bulk of biodiversity. Half-Earth was conceived as a moonshot; an inspiring goal that would drive conservation efforts to a new level.”

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