Event Detail


Film showing: "Life Afloat" The "Inland Ocean" of Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia

Doug Woodring
Tuesday, 11 Jun 2024
Complimentary Free-Flow Fine Wines from 6:45 pm; Talk at 7:30 pm
The HK Management Association, 14/F, Fairmont House, 8 Cotton Tree Drive, Central
This talk is free of charge for student members, please email us to reserve a seat

“Life Afloat” tells the extraordinary story of Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia, part of the Mekong River basin.  It is the largest lake in Southeast Asia, and one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world.  It’s wealth allowed for the construction of the nearby Angkor temples at Siam Reap.

Following the film, Doug Woodring gives a short presentation about the programmes he has developed with Sophal Sea of NGO2 Bambooshoot Foundation, one of the two main characters in the movie, which are focused on the floating and stilted villages on parts of the Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia’s “Inland Ocean”.  These include the Water Falling and Water Rising Festivals, Harvest Plastic Program, and the Inland Ocean Festival, which is this year on 8 June, World Ocean Day.

NGO2 BambooShoot has been working closely since 2018 with Ocean Recovery Alliance to raise awareness, educate and problem solve the issues of plastic in the floating water communities along Tonle Sap.  This movement within the lake’s villages has been brought about through festivals, workshops and cleanup events, generating awareness pride and excitement.  But the work is not done, as there are 180 villages on the lake, and already other villages want to join the movement, even from across the lake.  

Doug Woodring is the Founder and Managing Director of Ocean Recovery Alliance, a non-profit organisation which is focused on bringing together innovative solutions, technology, collaborations and policy to create positive improvements for the health of the ocean.  Two of its global programmes were launched at the Clinton Global Initiative, including the first plastic footprinting methodology in the world, the PDP, in 2010.  In 2018 he was awarded the Prince’s Prize for Innovative Philanthropy in Monaco.  In November 2023, he was asked to speak at the UN Plastic Treaty negotiations, which are still ongoing through 2024.

Doug also founded the Plasticity Forum in 14 global cities on innovations for plastic in its second-life, is a UN Climate Hero, a Google Earth Hero, and has worked with both UN Environment and the World Bank on plastic pollution issues.  He co-founded the Water Rising and Water Falling Festivals in Cambodia in 2018 with NGO2 Bamboo Shoot Foundation, and founded the Harvest Plastic Program within some of the communities of the Tonle Sap Lake, which is now being replicated in Indonesia. https://www.simplygiving.com/event/lifeafloat

From the United States, Doug has worked in Asia for over 30 years, and has a MBA from The Wharton School, a Masters from Johns Hopkins University and a BA from the University of California at Berkeley.  He was also inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2020 for his innovative contributions to the sport in running some of Asia’s largest ocean swimming events for 15 years.


Members of the RGS-HK, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$200 for RGS Members and HK$250 for guests and others, including free-flow drinks. 

The opinions expressed in this talk are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the Royal Geographical Society - Hong Kong.

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