R. Michael Wright
R. Michael Wright was the first managing director of the Natural Capital Project, a partnership of The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University which is designed to make conservation economically attractive and thus mainstream.
"Launched in October 2006, the project is developing new tools to help public agencies, nongovernmental organizations and businesses calculate the economic value of clean water, climate stability, flood control and other essential services provided by nature. The project is focusing its initial effort on four main sites in Tanzania, China, California and the Hawaiian Islands.
""In modern society, we seem to have lost touch of the fundamental dependence we have on conserving nature," said Wright, who has served as director of conservation and sustainable development at the Chicago-based John T. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation since 2002. "It is critical to show how humans benefit from nature by calculating the real economic value of those benefits. That's exactly what the Natural Capital Project wants to achieve."
"Wright has been a leading figure in global conservation for more than 30 years. From 1994 to 2002, prior to joining the MacArthur Foundation, he served as president and chief executive officer of the African Wildlife Foundation, the oldest organization in the United States dedicated to natural resource conservation in Africa. From 1970 to 1994, he held several key conservation positions at WWF, including senior vice president responsible for all programs in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. In 1980, Wright took a one-year leave of absence from WWF to serve as assistant director of President Jimmy Carter's Task Force on Global Resources and Environment. He also helped launch The Nature Conservancy's International Program in 1974 and served as its first director until 1979. Wright earned a bachelor's degree in history at Stanford University and a law degree from Stanford Law School." 
Resources and articles
- Natural connections: perspectives in community-based conservation By David Western, Shirley Carol Strum, R. Michael Wright (Island Press)
- Conservationist R. Michael Wright named managing director of the Natural Capital Project, stanford.edu, accessed June 11, 2010.