Book Reviews

Ronald Bailey Reviews Half Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life, by Edward O. Wilson: New at Reason

Saving biodiversity through markets and technology


Dreamstime: Robert Adrian Hillman

In his new book, Half Earth, the world's greatest living naturalist, Edward O. Wilson, argues that humanity needs to set aside half of the our planet's lands and oceans as biosphere reserves in order to prevent a massive extinction of other species in this century. The good news is that he believes that economic, technological, and demographic trends point to a brighter future both for humanity and for the rest of nature. He sometimes comes off as practically a visionary transhumanist, predicting vast improvements by means of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and robotics. Wilson even thinks that scientists will succeed at whole brain emulation—that is, the installation of human minds on digital devices—by the end of this century. This progress will be achieved by means of free markets and will enable humanity to increasingy withdraw from the natural world.