World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released the following statement from Carter Roberts, President and CEO, on the passing of Dr. E.O. Wilson:

We’ve lost another conservation giant. Former WWF Board member and longtime WWF National Council member Dr. E.O. Wilson passed away on December 26. He was 92.

Like the other legendary scientists who have served on our Board, he was long past proving himself by making others feel smaller. Instead, he focused on the person in front of him, and he always made them feel both appreciated and capable of great things.

After two Pulitzer prizes and countless honors, he ended his career focused on conserving the places that sustained the species he named and catalogued throughout his life. His 2016 book, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, delivered a call to arms to set aside half the planet if we hoped to save life on Earth, including our own. And that laid the groundwork for the conservation community’s current vision of protecting 30% of the planet by 2030 as a step toward the larger goal that he set.

In 2018 I visited his modest office one last time to interview him for our magazine. I learned he was working on his 34th and 35th books simultaneously. He shared that once he turned 90 and the most recent books were done, he planned to “stop writing books and go back into the woods” in Alabama, where he grew up. He saw clearly the irony that those working to save nature often don’t spend much time in nature. “To just sit and contemplate nature seems like a luxury,” he said, “but we could all use a bit more of it in our lives.”

Ed’s distinctions and accolades are too many to count. He mentored and inspired thousands of students. His award-winning books changed the way millions saw the world and considered our own relationship to it. But more than anything, Ed will be remembered for that rare combination of brilliance and kindness which touched and inspired us all.