Sold. An island in the South Pacific, 680 acres, miles of coral reef, and only 37 million dollars. But don’t call the new owners to see if they’ll flip it so you can knock down a bit of jungle for a tennis court or a golf course. The island, Palmyra, was bought by The Nature Conservancy. It will never again be sold. Nor will it be developed, logged or mined. It’s a conservation strategy that gets a strong boost from famed naturalist E. O. Wilson in his latest book “The Future of Life”. But it’s a strategy that raises some serious questions. About the right of First World do-gooders to scoop up Third World treasures, about the efficacy of setting aside pristine chunks while the biosphere rots, and whether perhaps it’s just too late.
E. O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Research Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and author of “The Future of Life”
Armstrong Wiggins, coordinator of Central and South America projects for the Indian Law Resource Center in Washington DC
and John Fitzpatrick, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University and director of Cornell’s ornithology lab