Can One Person Save an Endangered Species? See for Yourself.

Think you’re too small to save the world—even one species at a time? Sometimes big change starts with thinking big and perhaps a little outside the box. Take it from enviropreneur Hank Fischer.

Hank Fischer was concerned about the gray wolf. It was on the endangered species list and extinct in the American West. Efforts to reintroduce it in the region had been unsuccessful, largely because the local population didn’t want hungry wolves killing their livestock. Rather than fight the ranchers in the region, Hank established a fund to compensate them for losses and give them incentives to support the growth of the wolf population. And it worked! Today, the gray wolf isn’t even considered endangered. Hank’s story is just one of many stories of enviropreneurs around the world. Laura Huggins of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) explains how thinking outside the box and innovating can work for the environment as it does for business. Enviropreneurs like Hank have been able to save species. Think about the difference you could make!

21 Comments

  1. Matt Wavle

    I’m not sure I’d accept payment to have a wolf den on my land, but obviously enough people did, and it was a novel idea.

  2. Andrei-Claudiu Roibu

    Ever wondered how we can both save the environment and make a profit. Well, environmental entrepreneurs are doing just that: they are talking to the people who are directly affected both by the destruction of the environment, and to those that are affected by the preservation of the environment, and, together with them, they find ways in which both the environment, and the people affected both ways, can profit. For example, in the below clip, you will see how a liability for livestock farmers, the wolves, turned into a profit source for them, while, helping restore decimated wolf populations. 

  3. Chocolate Thunder

    It’s really good that Hank worked with ranchers to meet their needs, as the federal government often does not. Here in Idaho, after a rancher killed a wolf to protect his children, he was prosecuted by the US Attorney. It is things like that that cause people in the West to feel as though the federal government is totally out of touch with their needs and lifestyles, and they’re probably right to feel that way.

  4. LeaJohnson

    i hope we can see enviro-preneurial efforts on a larger scale with the release of federal ownership of lands throughout the states, especially west of the Mississippi. 60% of Idaho’s lands are owned by the federal government, and over 75% of lands in Nevada are. I’m skeptical of smaller scale efforts like this when so little of Idaho is privately owned. 

  5. Raquel Rivera

    As an animal lover and enviormentalist, I think what Hank did was outstanding! I would like to attemp as idea similar to this to prevent the Horny Toad Lizard from becoming extinct here in Texas. I remember seeing them everywhere and now….my brother and I get super excited just to see one! Thank you for this idea! 

  6. Matt Wavle

    Elephants in African countries where hunting them is illegal, they are almost extinct.  Yet in neighboring countries where hunting them is legal, there’s an incentive to keep large healthy herds, and the African Elephant has come back strong.  This fact seems almost counter-intuitive when compared to the state-indoctrination preached in state-run schools, as it relates to tree-hugging environ-activism.

  7. Jonathan Taylor

    That’s a great point! The market can really be strongly beneficial to the environment. Unfortunately, even though governments generally have good, sincere motives, government can’t solve these types of issues well.

  8. Jonathan Taylor

    I would accept it assuming that it was far enough away from my home, or I had sufficient barriers between it and my home to keep my family safe.

  9. juliansfree

    I’ve been a fan of PERC for awhile and wanting to learn about the enviropreneurs concept. Hope to go to a PERC seminar on this approach soon!

  10. supersonicsixteen

    This is interesting given the fact that most conservatives are characterized by nature hating.  

    Good stuff.
  11. Lukas Koube

    i like the idea, but the word “envir-panuers” has got to go….how about “free market environmentalist” or “libertarian activist”? or even “environmental entrepreneur”?

    all of these have a better ring.
  12. diamond_max

    I think ideas like this are great, because animals and nature help us spiritually and financially.

  13. Saurabh Modi

    Its a very intelligent way to use free markets to find solutions. I recently saw the academy award winning documentary “The Inconvenient Truth”, I was baffled by seeing the scenario, now i have hope that the spontaneous order can take care of it! The idea is to ensure enough persuasion in the economy so as to encourage a market demand for a better environment!

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