Event Detail


The Enviroment

Tuesday, 17 Feb 2009



(For our Members who've not previously attended a Members' Evening, these are casual and relaxed evenings, where our more eminent Members speak briefly about a particular theme; the bar stays open all night and light suppers are available.)

"The Environment"

Robert Gibson : "The Environment, where are we"
Ciara Shannon : "Businesses re. Environment"
Dr Merrin Pearse : "Being an Ecopreneur"
Doug Woodring : "Our Fisheries"
Fiona Matthews : "Earthchampions"

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Pacific Place Conference Centre
5/F One Pacific Place, Admiralty

Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm

We are delighted to welcome our five speakers to a Members' Evening on the Environment. Each is going to speak for about 10 minutes, with questions in between and the bar with light suppers open all evening.

Robert Gibson : "The Environment, where are we"

Robert Gibson is using the United Nations Environment Programme's 'Global Environmental Outlook' as an introduction to the environmental problems which our civilisation faces. He'll show some of the superb pictures from this document to illustrate his points. The UN Environment Programme provides comprehensive monitoring of the world's environmental issues. The severity of environmental problems is increasing faster than the world's policy responses hitherto. To avoid catastrophic consequences, Robert argues that we need new policy approaches to change the direction and magnitude of drivers of environmental change, to shift environmental policy making to the core of decision making.

Robert is Director Sustainable Development for John Swire & Sons (HK) Ltd working on the impact of climate change. He has worked for the Swire Group in Hong Kong since 1980.

Ciara Shannon : "Businesses re. Environment"

Ciara Shannon set up the Climate Change Business Forum for the Business Environment Council (BEC) and now runs it for the BEC as Project Director. Her presentation includes a description of business and the environment now, Hong Kong's Business heroes looking back, the 3 big issues of today, the leading environmental corporations of today and getting companies engaged in the Environment.

Ciara has over 10 years of environmental experience working with the business sector, NGOs and governments. For her work for CCBF, Ciara was recently nominated as an Outstanding Earth Champion. Her interest in climate change was piqued during her visit to Antarctica as project leader with Robert Swan's Inspire Antarctica Expedition in 2006. Ciara was born in Hong Kong and then began working with Medecins Sans Frontieres in various countries. Ciara holds a Masters of Science (MSc) degree in Development Studies.

Dr Merrin Pearse : "Being an Ecopreneur"

Dr Merrin Pearse is an Ecopreneur. Merrin explains in his talk how the more he travelled the more he was concerned at the way people were disconnecting themselves from nature. In 2004 he founded Coordinate4u, a consultancy company that allows him to mix better together into his business his passion for the environment and being an entrepreneur hence the term Ecopreneur. Merrin also shares in his talk his experiences and observations between his home country of New Zealand and Hong Kong, highlighting some of the amazing opportunities that Hong Kong has to lead Asia with environmental initiatives.

Merrin received his formal training as a Geodesist, in which he received a doctorate, through which he experienced all extremes of nature while undertaking land surveys, from the tropical Pacific Islands to minus 50 degrees in Antarctica. He subsequently became an entrepreneur and then an Ecopreneur.

Doug Woodring : "Our Fisheries"

Doug Woodring is going to talk briefly about what is occurring in Hong Kong with the government's attempt to ban trawling in territorial waters and the problems facing fisheries generally. He then moves onto Project Kaisei, which is planned for this year. This is a 70 day mission to what people call the Plastic Vortex, or the Eighth Continent. It is a swirling mass of broken down plastic about twice the size of Texas, which harms marine life and is also getting into the food chain. No one has done anything about it to date, because it is in international waters. Doug's team is filming a documentary on the issue, testing netting to see how teams can catch the plastics and then finding solutions. This is intended to be the biggest environmental cleanup the planet has ever witnessed and it is being driven from Hong Kong and San Francisco.

Doug was born in California, but has worked in Asia for over 17 years. He is an environmental and technology entrepreneur, as well as a water sports enthusiast. Prior to working with startups, he started a global environmental technology fund at Merrill Lynch in 1998. He is currently working with a variety of renewable energy technologies, including microwind, wave, and for buildings, vertical green walls. He is the chairman of the Environmental Committee at the American Chamber in Hong Kong. He has a BA from UC Berkeley, an MA in Environmental Economics from Johns Hopkins and an MBA from Wharton.

Fiona Matthews : "Earthchampions"

Fiona Matthews founded the Earth Champions Foundation with Nelson Mandela in 2000 and she is now its global President. She speaks about her incredible journey over the last decade. She has taken its campaign message to form a constructive climate of hope and action for the Environment to scores of countries from Australia to Switzerland, spreading the Earth Champions message to almost all parts of the world, including Hong Kong. The innovation and enthusiasm that have driven Earth Champions in its pursuit of its environmental cause is reflective of the cando spirit associated with this extremely successful movement. In 2008, the Foundation, lead by Fiona chose Hong Kong as the venue for its latest city quest with numerous events principally led by Sir Crispin Tickell and Christine Loh. Hong Kong's "Earth Champions", the everyday heroes who are devoted to bringing a better environment to the city, were all presented with awards.

Fiona has had many years of experience in the business and NGO sectors, but for the last decade has principally devoted her efforts to the Earth Champions Foundation.

Following the lectures, Members are invited optionally to stay for a panel debate with the speakers.

Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for others.

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