The U.S. summer tour is expected to raise millions for former Harvard University professor and revered conservationist Edward O. Wilson’s Half-Earth Project, a global initiative aimed at saving the natural world by setting aside half for conservation, according to Mongabay.
The 75-year-old musician told the nonprofit environmental news site that Wilson’s 2016 book, titled “Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight For Life,” “ignited” his imagination and left him wondering what he could do to help.
Simon decided to do what he does best — what he’s been doing for six decades: perform.
“[I]f I do a tour, I can keep singing, I can keep my skills up. I can keep my band together. And I can give all the profits to Ed,” Simon told Mongabay. “And that will make me feel that I am making a greater contribution than putting more money in my pocket, which I don’t need, or becoming more famous, which I really don’t need.”
The tour kicks off June 1 in St. Augustine, Florida and wraps up June 28 in Denver. Proceeds will be donated to the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, with the funds possibly being used to protect ecosystems in the U.S. southeast, Mongabay reports.
Widely known as the “father of biodiversity,” Wilson is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and considered the world’s leading myrmecologist, or ant expert. He has spent much of his life advocating for protecting the planet and the species that call it home.
Late last year, in a book review published by The New York Times, Simon hailed Wilson and his Half-Earth concept.
“The point of no return is fast approaching,” Simon wrote. “Questions of human rights, racism, democracy versus tyranny and sexism are just that: human rights. But there will be no rights, or humans, if we do not preserve and conserve a habitable planet. Still, Wilson is an optimist and believes we can preserve our jewel-like planet if we do the job we must do. ‘Half-Earth’ is compulsory reading if we care about the lives of our children, our children’s children and all of the species alive today. A paradise!”
Asked by Mongabay what he hopes to accomplish with his upcoming tour, Simon said: “The Half-Earth thinking and the name of Edward Wilson will be more familiar at the very least because of this, and that will accomplish who knows what. Hopefully something significant. It can’t be insignificant. It will be something. It makes sense to me. It gives me added incentive to go out and perform again. …I mean, look at Ed. At 87, he’s remarkable. And we’re so fortunate that he’s doing this.”