Luc Hoffmann died on July 21st, age 93. He was heir to the Hoffmann-LaRoche pharmaceutical fortune, but used his money for conservation, being heavily involved with funding WWF from its inception in 1961. His approach to conservation, “with man, not against him” influenced WWF and others, but as this appreciation from the Economist shows,

“Few understood, though, how far he meant that philosophy to go. The concept of reserved areas deeply dissatisfied him, for he wanted the whole globe to

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be a place where man lived in harmony with nature, and no special protections were needed any more. He was no militant, seeing the cause of conservation as going far beyond partisan politics or the shock tactics of Greenpeace; but in old age he shared much of their frustration. Small successes had been notched up here and there; not much more. Like the bee-eaters battling the wind, he was grateful to have caught a few flies on the wing; but his real ambition had been to change the wind itself.”

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