Event Detail

5
Sep
2012

Earthwatching

Nigel Winser
Wednesday, 5 Sep 2012
Auditorium. 1/F Duke of Windsor Social Services Building, 15 Hennessy Road, Wanchai

HK$100 RGS HK members HK$150 Non members
Drinks (cash bar) and ticketsd from 6.30 pm lecture starts 7.30 pm

Dr Nigel Winser lectures on ‘Earthwatching'. Dr Winser was previously Deputy Director of the Royal Geographical Society and is now Vice President of Earthwatch. In this lecture, Dr Winser talks about his expeditions and research at the Royal Geographical Society particularly in the jungles of Sarawak, followed by a discussion of his work at Earthwatch to increase public and business participation in scientific endeavour. Dr Winser's engaging and energetic personality has made him a wellknown speaker worldwide.

Dr Winser talk begins with his work at the Royal Geographical Society, particularly on the Society's 18 month study of the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak. His international multidisciplinary team prepared a management plan for this remarkable mountain area of limestone and sandstone covered in pristine tropical forest. Over 100 scientists made remarkable discoveries, including "cracking the rainforest code ", leading the Park to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Dr Winser went on to work at the Royal Geographical Society for a further 29 years, developing its international research programmes and becoming Deputy Director. Dr Winser tells of some of his experiences running the Royal Geographical Society's expeditions and research programmes worldwide, including the Society's famous expeditions to Oman.

Dr Winser is Vice President of Earthwatch Institute with offices worldwide, including Hong Kong, that makes scientific research accessible by offering the public the opportunity to join leading scientists for up to two weeks on field research projects throughout the world. Over 40 years, some 100,000 individuals have become 'citizen scientists' with Earthwatch, taking part on thousands of research and conservation projects in some 120 countries.

Dr Winser describes the research and experiential learning approach of Earthwatch teams and its work on some of its 50 projects worldwide. 'Handson insitu' fieldwork with leading scientists and local communities is a powerful combination, especially when addressing contemporary issues linked to forest management, climate change, habitat loss, marine pollution and local cultural knowledge. Dr Winser argues that future decisions regarding the environment must be based on objective science, and engage and empower people and organisations to act responsibly if the planet is to be saved. One example is the work being carried out at the Danum Valley Research Centre in Borneo to protect the rainforest in Sabbah, led by scientists from the Royal Society. Dr Winser also speaks about his connections with industry, working collaboratively with multinational organisations that share a commitment to tackle global environmental challenges.

Dr Winser also describes Earthwatch's 5 year Climate Partnership where some 3,000 employees of HSBC monitored woodlands in China, India, Europe, Brazil and North America to understand how human impacts affect forest responses to climate change. It was the largest experiment of its kind and has set a new standard for field researchers and business to join forces to contribute to scientific endeavour. Dr Winser concludes by discussing the importance of crosssector partnerships in achieving a sustainable environment, with particular reference to the recent Rio+20 conference in June 2012 and the upcoming World Conservation Congress in Korea in September.

Dr Nigel Winser is Executive Vice President of the Earthwatch Institute which he joined in 2005. Prior to that he was the Deputy Director at the Royal Geographical Society in London. He read Biology at Westminster University, where he gained significant international field experience. Dr Winser joined the Royal Geographical Society as a Deputy Field Director in 1976. He then developed its international field research programmes in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. In 1991 he was appointed Deputy Director, becoming responsible for a wide range of programmes and society activities.

Dr Winser is on the board of several geographical and conservation organisations including the IUCN, the UK Biosphere committee, the Mount Everest Foundation, Tourism for Tomorrow, Friends of Conservation and the Field Studies Council. He is a Trustee of the Global Canopy Programme. For his services to fieldwork, notably in Oman, he was awarded the Patron's Gold Medal of the Society by Queen Elizabeth II and the Mungo Park Award of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

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