In 1978-79, Dr Hanbury-Tenison led the Royal Geographical Society's largest expedition ever, taking 140 scientists to the interior of Sarawak in Borneo for over a year. Larger than even the successful first ascent of Everest in 1952, this expedition cracked the “rainforest code” and led to the start of the global concern for tribal peoples. For this he was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal in 1979. The research from this expedition, and his book, “Mulu: the Rainforest”, started the international concern for tropical rainforests.
The talks describes the extraordinary expedition into the lush and gothic darkness of the forest Borneo. In the Mulu area they found the world’s most voluminous cave system and countless new species. The also befriended the local Penan people, with whom they formed lasting friendships and a bond of trust and affection.
“Finding Eden” manages to bring together an urgent reminder of the need to care for the planet and to stand up to the folly of greed, while also reflecting on the personal consequences for those individuals who have lost their home and seen the natural beauty of their landscape be torn apart. Dr Hanbury-Tenison describes the real and un-adorned taste of life in the jungle: septic wounds and swollen ankles; scorpions, leeches, spiders, and venomous snakes; the agonising bites of giant centipedes; and the discomfort of wet sleeping. While having no romantic illusions about life in the jungle, he also argues that there is joy and human wisdom in the local people’s existence.
Dr Hanbury-Tenison has saved more than 500 minority ethnic groups around the world through his charity, Survival International, is the author of some 20 books and holds the RGS’s Gold Medal. He made the first land crossing of South America at its widest point and the first river crossing of South America from north to south from the Orinoco to Buenos Aires. His many books include “A Ride Along the Great Wall”, “Fragile Eden” and “The Oxford Book of Exploration”.
Dr. Robin Hanbury-Tenison was educated at Eton College, and Magdalen College, Oxford. Named by the Sunday Times as "the greatest explorer of the past 20 years" and as one of the 1,000 "Makers of the 20th Century" and in The Spectator, as ‘the doyen of Explorers’, he has been on over 30 expeditions. These include walking across the Kalahari Desert with Bushmen, expeditions in Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela, living with the Yanomami tribe in Brazil, riding two Camargue horses across France, riding along the Great Wall of China, leading a mission to investigate the arrest of Malaysian environmentalists and Borneo tribal people for campaigning against excessive logging in Sarawak. He also made Saharan camel travels with Tuareg exploring the Tassili n’Ajjer, Tibesti and Aïr mountains, led the Amazonas Expedition by Hovercraft, from Manaus to Trinidad and led the TransAfrican Expedition by hovercraft from Dakar to Lake Chad to the Congo.
Dr Hanbury-Tenison has been a Vice-President of the Royal Geographical Society, an International Fellow of the Explorers Club, a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellow, is a Fellow of the Linnean Society, a Member of the Society of Authors, a winner of the Krug Award for Excellence, holds the Mungo Park Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, and was Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, when he organised the largest peace-time demonstration in British history. He is a regular contributor of articles and reviews to many magazines and newspapers and is also a frequent broadcaster both on television and radio. Dr Hanbury-Tenison is the star of 11 films made of his expeditions.
Members of the RGS, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for RGS Members and HK$200 for guests and others including a complimentary glass of white or red wine.
The Royal Geographical Society – Hong Kong wishes to express its thanks to Jacada for its generous assistance with this event.