A Swiss philanthropist has donated $1 billion to save the Earth’s wild lands and waters from destruction. Here’s where the money is going.

A Swiss philanthropist

Hansjorg Wyss, a Swiss philanthropist, has pledged $1 billion to land and ocean conservation.

The Wyss Foundation wants to help preserve 30% of the planet’s wild lands and oceans by 2030.

An increase in conservation can help prevent animal and plant species from going extinct, and it can expand the availability of clean air and drinking water.
Greg Zimmerman, the communications director at the Wyss Campaign for Nature, said the foundation has already donated more than $66 million.

In October 2018, Swiss philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss announced a $1 billion donation to conserve the planet’s oceans and lands.

Wyss, a billionaire and conservationist, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that his eponymous foundation will donate the money over the next 10 years to conservation projects led by indigenous people, local leaders, and conservation groups. He wants to help conserve 30% of the planet by 2030, adding that lands and waters are best protected when they are turned into public national parks, marine reserves, and wildlife refuges.

Such a large increase in conservation would widen the availability of clean air and drinking water, and prevent the extinction of many species. Researchers at Brown University have found that animal and plant species are going extinct 1,000 times faster than they did prior to human activity.

By the end of 2018, the Wyss Foundation had donated more than $66 million to at least nine local organizations. Zimmerman highlighted projects in Canada and Argentina as just three examples of promising partnerships.

The Wyss Foundation is donating $750,000 to help the Dehcho First Nations in Canada to create a management program for the Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area in the Northwest Territories. Part of the 3.5 million acre area includes a wetland ecosystem that serves as a habitat for moose, bison, wolverine, caribou, and waterfowl. According to the Wyss Foundation, the donation will help the Dehcho First Nations benefit economically from managing the area.

A Swiss philanthropist

Two projects in Argentina are also receiving support from the Swiss billionaire. Aves Argentinas, the country’s oldest conservation organization, will receive up to $5.8 million for the conservation of about 65,000 acres of wetlands. This donation will help create a 1.5 million acre national park, helping to protect the endangered maned wolf and three species of flamingos.

Wyss’s foundation is also giving up to $22 million to Fundación Flora y Fauna, which will establish a 178,000 acre national park in Argentina’s Tucumán Province. The park will protect a mountain chain containing glaciers that provide clean water to the region’s blueberry and lemon industries. The most southerly Inca settlement is located where the park is set to form.

This is not the Swiss billionaire’s first dive into conservation projects – he has previously donated more than $450 million to help protect wild species in North America, South America, Africa, and Europe. Wyss has also signed the Giving Pledge, which is a commitment among billionaires to donate at least 50% of their wealth to charitable causes.

The Wyss Foundation is also focused on raising awareness ahead of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in 2020, Zimmerman said. The foundation hopes to encourage governments to adopt more ambitious conservation pledges and help protect more of their lands and oceans.

Americans Increasingly See The Government Shutdown As Serious

Americans Increasingly

More than four in 10 Americans now consider the partial government shutdown a very serious problem, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds.

Seventy-one percent of Americans now say they see the partial government shutdown as at least somewhat serious, a modest uptick from 62 percent last week and 61 percent at the beginning of the shutdown. The share who consider it very serious now stands at 42 percent, up from one-third last week.

The shift also means that concerns now surpass the public’s worries about last year’s brief January shutdown, which was seen as at least somewhat serious by only 64 percent of Americans in HuffPost/YouGov’s polling.

Twenty-three percent of Americans now say they’ve been affected in some way by the current shutdown or that they expect to be, up from 10 percent at the start of the shutdown. For some, that simply means living with the sense that their government isn’t working. But other responses were more specific. Several said they’d reconsidered visits to national parks or expressed looming concerns about tax season. (The White House has since announced that tax refunds will be paid regardless of the status of the shutdown.)

For many federal workers and their families, the shutdown has already had a serious financial impact, forcing some to max out credit cards or borrow money from relatives.

“My husband works for the government and is currently furloughed,” wrote one woman polled who said she was concerned for her family’s “immediate financial future” and that she disapproved of the role both congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump had played in the shutdown.

HuffPost readers: Are you affected by the government shutdown? Email us about it. If you’re willing to be interviewed, please provide a phone number.

Americans are 34 points more likely to disapprove than they are to approve of the way Congress has handled the shutdown. The public also disapproves of the performance of the congressional GOP, specifically (-29), and, by smaller margins, of Trump’s performance (-17) and congressional Democrats’ actions (-9); they’re about split on the performance of their own representatives (+2).

Americans Increasingly

The results appear to represent a modest reversion from the change seen in last week’s survey, although, as before, it’s unclear to what extent the movement reflects a genuine shift in opinion, rather than the kind of fluctuation inherent to tracking surveys.

In contrast with shutdowns from previous years, there’s so far been relatively little polling on this one, perhaps in part because its start coincided with Christmas and the new year.

An Ipsos/Reuters tracking poll finds that currently about half of Americans mostly blame Trump for the shutdown, with 32 percent naming congressional Democrats and 6 percent congressional Republicans. Another survey from Morning Consult, taken at the beginning of the shutdown, bore similar results, with 43 percent of voters saying Trump was most to blame, 31 percent pointing the finger at Democrats in Congress, and 7 percent naming the congressional GOP.

An Economist/YouGov poll taken over New Year’s also gave President Trump the plurality of the blame, and found that 40 percent of the public believe Trump should accept the Democrats’ current offer of $1.6 billion for border security, with just 24 percent saying Democrats should agree to spend $5 billion for a border wall. Another 19 percent said the two parties should meet somewhere in the middle.