Event Detail


Coral Reefs: On the Edge

Julia Whitty
Wednesday, 11 Mar 2009



"Coral Reefs: On the Edge"

Julia Whitty

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

2/F Olympic House, So Kong Po, Causeway Bay

Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm

This event is being held in conjunction with the Man International Literary Festival

We are delighted to welcome to Hong Kong Julia Whitty, one of the world's great environmentalists, to speak on "Coral Reefs: On the Edge", the story of one of the most endangered of the biospheres. At the present rate of extinction, in 93 years, half of all life on Earth is likely to be gone. In her dynamic multimedia lecture, Julia Whitty shows why this is happening, how it can be reversed, who's working on it and what it means to us to keep our planet vibrantly alive. Ms Whitty has spent the past 25 years working in the planet's great wildernesses, from coral reefs and cloud forests, to the African veldt and Indian jungles. Her stories from the front lines are urgent, poignant and funny, revealing the wonders of science and the secret lives of animals in the wild. Her more than 70 nature documentaries have aired on PBS, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, among many other broadcasters worldwide.

Ms Whitty's message for several decades has been: "if you think the fate of a shark in the deep ocean or a frog in the rainforest doesn't matter to your own future and those of your children, think again". In this lecture, she unravels why 40 per cent. of the Earth's examined species are in immediate danger of oblivion, particularly in coral reefs, and how their fate is intertwined with that of humans. She shows that the disappearing plants and animals are part of a membrane of organisms making the Earth alive, and how mankind owes everything to them, including the air breathed, the food eaten, books, computers, medicines, goods and even services mankind can't yet imagine it'll need from species yet to be identified.

Weaving studies from conservation biology, game theory, social sciences and her own decadeslong experience as a natural history filmmaker, Ms Whitty takes her audiences on a fastpaced tour of the Earth and the state of life in it, with a special emphasis on the endangered coral reefs. Using images of plant and animal life, she illustrates the problem that most biologists believe to be a more serious threat to life on earth than global warming: the sixth great extinction currently underway. She then presents a blueprint for saving nature and thus mankind, concluding a lecture illustrated by stunning photography from decades of nature travel.

Julia Whitty was born in Bogotá, Colombia and emigrated as a child to the United States. She is environmental correspondent for several magazines and an awardwinning author of fiction and nonfiction, including "The Fragile Edge: Diving & Other Adventures in the South Pacific" and "A Tortoise for the Queen of Tonga". She's a recipient of a PEN/Hemingway Award, an O. Henry Award, three US National Magazine Awards, winner of a John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism and a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Her latest book, "The Fragile Edge: Diving & Other Adventures in the South Pacific" is the recipient of the 2008 John Burroughs Medal Award for an outstanding natural history book, the PEN USA award for nonfiction, the 2008 Kiriyama Prize for nonfiction and the 2008 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. A former filmmaker, her more than 70 nature documentaries have aired on PBS, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and with many other broadcasters worldwide, and she has written for almost every Englishlanguage environmental publication.

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

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