Telluride Mountainfilm Moving Mountains Symposium focuses on extinction

Telluride Mountainfilm Moving Mountains Symposium focuses on extinction

Featuring presenters drawn from science, industry, arts and the media, and in keeping with the International Year of Biodiversity, Mountainfilm launches its 32nd annual Festival on Friday, May 28, with an in-depth look at species extinction.

“We are living in the sixth major extinction on this planet and the first one to be caused by humans,” says Festival Director David Holbrooke. “The statistics are staggering. We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-off since the loss of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. It’s estimated that a species dies off every 20 minutes. Some scientists predict that between 30 and 50 percent of all species will be extinct by mid-century. E.O. Wilson says that biodiversity is the key to life on this planet and that its collapse is the biggest threat we are facing.”

Noting he is still waiting to confirm several symposium presenters, Holbrooke says he is delighted with the depth of expertise he has already locked in.

“We always try to find a wide range of speakers – leading authorities from diverse fields who complement one another and who connect well with our very engaged audiences. So far, this year’s line-up looks to fit that bill exactly.”

Greg Carr. A successful entrepreneur, Carr made his fortune in the 1980’s developing and marketing voice mail. Since 1998, he’s turned his full energies toward philanthropy, funding the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard. He is currently involved in the restoration of the Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique. A former oasis for big game, Gorongosa was turned into a wasteland by 20 years of civil war, but Carr has committed to a 20-year program to return it to its former glory.

 Dave Foreman. The founder of the environmental activist group, Earth First!, and a leading proponent of protecting and restoring the earth’s wildness, Foreman is the author of Rewilding North America: A Vision for Conservation in the 21st Century. The book examines the extinction crisis and the best strategy for addressing it. He also wrote Confessions of an Eco-Warrior.

Maya Lin. Renowned sculptor and landscape artist, Lin is best known as creator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., a public work she designed at age 21. Her recent work has focused on how we relate and respond to the environment and her most current project, What is Missing (to be featured at Mountainfilm), specifically addresses the alarming pace of biodiversity loss.

Thomas Lovejoy. Dr. Lovejoy is chief biodiversity adviser to the president of the World Bank, senior adviser to the president of the United Nations Foundation and president of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. Credited with first coining the term “biological diversity,” Lovejoy developed the debt-for-nature swaps that allow environmentalist investors to convert the foreign debt of developing countries into preservation of biologically sensitive tracts of land.

Cristina Mittermeier. A Mexican marine biologist, photographer and biochemical engineer, Mittermeier focuses her work on the important relationship between indigenous people and biodiversity. She serves as executive director for the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP), whose mission is to translate conservation science into compelling visual messages about the beauty and wonder of the natural world and the challenges facing it.

Paul Nicklen. On his way to becoming a biologist, Nicklen was sidetracked by a career as a nature photographer and photojournalist. His goal is to bridge the gap between scientific research and the public. His work has been published in hundreds of magazines around the world, including seven stories in National Geographic Magazine. His book, Polar Obsession, sold out its first printing.

Rick Ridgeway. A member of the first American team to summit K2, Ridgeway is one of the world’s foremost mountaineers and adventurers in addition to being an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, photographer, and author. As vice president of the outdoor clothing, apparel and gear company, Patagonia, he is also active in many environmental issues and sustainability initiatives. He created the Freedom to Roam initiative, which seeks to create and maintain wildlife corridors in the midst of human development.

Joel Sartore. Much of Sartore’s 20-year career as a photographer has been with the National Geographic Society. His new book, Rare, is focused on America’s endangered species. A particularly entertaining speaker, he is a founding member of the ILCP.

About Mountainfilm: For 30 years, Mountainfilm has been committed to bringing ever-increasing levels of artistic excellence to its mission of educating and inspiring audiences about critical issues. The festival began as a venue to showcase climbing movies. It has grown to be a major proponent of adventure, awareness and activism. Celebrating indomitable spirit, Mountainfilm has the power to change lives. To learn more, visit our website. To join the conversation, please visit our blog, follow us on Twitter, and join us on Facebook.

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