Chesapeake Conservancy Denounces E.O. Wilson’s Support of Scientific Racism

Wilson’s Connections to J. Philippe Rushton Require Internal Reflection

Annapolis, MD. – Following the death of Dr. E.O. Wilson in December 2021, multiple scholars have written about their studies of Dr. Wilson’s correspondence with and support of a discredited professor, J. Philippe Rushton, whose work espoused ideas of white supremacy, eugenics and racism, and other findings. Scientific racism and eugenics have long been used to uphold systems of structural racism and white supremacy, which disproportionately harm communities of color.

We reject Dr. Wilson’s support of J. Philippe Rushton, and through this support, in fact, his participation in scientific racism. Chesapeake Conservancy acknowledges that Dr. Wilson has advanced conservation efforts worldwide and helped guide our own conservation work, especially our 30 x 30 conservation goal for the Chesapeake Bay watershed, inspired by Dr. Wilson’s “Half Earth” theory.

An ecosystem is the foundation for all life on earth. The Chesapeake Bay watershed is our ecosystem and must be maintained to sustain us all and to be accessible by everyone. To achieve this goal, we conserve and restore landscapes and special places for the enjoyment of current and future generations. To build equity and ensure that all communities receive the benefits and have access to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, we incorporate the ideals of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice throughout our work.

“We stand committed in our mission to conserve 30% of the Chesapeake by 2030 and to make the Chesapeake accessible for everyone. We denounce Dr. E.O. Wilson’s support of J. Philippe Rushton and his work studying scientific racism,” said Chesapeake Conservancy President & CEO Joel Dunn. “It’s time to leave racist white science in the past. The future of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is one that must be built on inclusivity, acceptance and equity.”