In April, when over a billion dollars was donated for the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral, many people were asking why such large sums of money aren’t available for more pressing issues like homelessness or the environment. It is certainly rare for such a large contribution to go towards something that actually helps the planet, but it does happen every now and then.
Last October, Billionaire philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss, CEO of the Wyss Foundation, pledged to donate a billion dollars towards environmental conservation efforts over the next ten years.
In an article for the New York Times, Wyss announced an incredible plan to buy large plots of land all over the world and turn them into parks that will be open to the public.
“It is the idea that wild lands and waters are best conserved not in private hands, locked behind gates, but as public national parks, wildlife refuges and marine reserves, forever open for everyone to experience and explore. The notion of holding these places in public trust was one I became deeply influenced by as a young man, when I first climbed and hiked on public lands in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains,” Wyss said.
“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,” he added.
Wyss hopes that his contribution will be able to protect 30% of the planet by the year 2030.