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Author Tony Hiss, set to visit Buffalo, exudes hope in 'Rescuing the Planet'

 Flyer that reads "An Evening with Tony Hiss. May 25 at 7:00 pm. Montante Cultural Center. Canisius College. 2001 Main St. Buffalo, NY. This event will also be livestreamed." There's also a depiction of Hiss' book "Rescuing the Planet: Protecting half the Land to Heal the Earth"

Author Tony Hiss is issuing a call for more help in protecting the earth. Fortunately, his call is joining with others who have been making their own pleas while leading the way toward protecting the lands.

“People like this seem to be just popping up out everywhere, responding to the situation,” Hiss told WBFO during a recent phone interview.

Those “heroes” of the land, the progress they’ve made, and their ambitious plans are profiled in his 15th book ”Rescuing the Planet: Protecting the Half the Land to Heal the Earth.”

“There’s a terrible calamity we’re faced with and that is that a million species of plants and animals look like they might be at intimate risk of extinction,” Hiss explained.

“But at the same time, there’s a solution and that is: if we could set aside something like half of the lands, this is what the science is telling us, then, most species could survive.”

International calls have been growing for a ‘30 by 30’ approach to setting aside 30% of the land by 2030. While only 15% of lands are currently protected, Hiss believes progress is being made.

“Western New York can be probably the most important site to help New York State get that ‘30 by 30’ goal,” said Hiss, referring to the Western New York Wildway initiative.

The subject is very much on his mind in advance of his visit to Buffalo on Thursday, May 25 for a discussion. Organized by the Western New York Land Conservancy, there is no charge for admission to the event which will also be livestreamed.

“Now, here’s a chance to establish an enormous landscape based on Allegany State Park, in Western New York, which is the third largest state park after the Adirondacks and the Catskills, and make that the nucleus of a network of protected lands,” said Hiss who is hopeful despite the enormity of the effort.

He points out that the Appalachian Trail was “almost entirely built on weekends by volunteers” in 12 years after it was first envisioned by conservationist Ben MacKaye. Over 100 years later, the 2,198-mile trail still runs from Maine to Georgia.

”The whole ‘30 by 30’ premise, it has to be done on a voluntary basis. No one can be forced into doing this, into protecting land. They can be persuaded, but they can’t be coerced,” Hiss explained.

“So, to make the Western New York Wildway real, hopefully, the state will come through with some financing to buy some land or buy some easements on lands, and hopefully other sources will come forward through philanthropy, but a lot of it’s going to have to be just goodwill.”

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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.