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The 2013 David Thomas Conservation Oration

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Professor Callum Roberts

Professor of Marine Conservation
University of York

Ocean of Life: How our Seas are Changing

18 March 2012 / Sydney University

In March 2013, ACIUCN was honoured to be the host and organiser (working closely with the Pew Environment Group) of the David Thomas Conservation Oration – a yearly event that brings an outstanding conservation leader to Australia for a speaking tour of which the Oration is the highlight. Prof. Callum Roberts from the University of York (UK) is one of the world’s leading marine scientists and communicators.

Callum is the author of The Unnatural History of the Sea and Ocean of Life - two of the most important contemporary publications on our oceans.

In his presentation, Callum challenges Australians to reconsider their relationship to the oceans around them. Callum’s challenge is as confronting as it is simple:

“Keep our oceans habitable or we put our own future in grave doubt. We ignore this simple fact at our peril.”

He argues that marine parks are the foundation for conservation of species and ecosystems, but they are not a panacea. Reducing damaging greenhouse emissions, creating sanctuaries to safeguard critical habitat, preventing pollution and limiting damage from industrial development are the challenges for all nations now and in the future.

Callum Roberts’ address on 18 March was the 4th David Thomas Conservation Oration and marked a global turning point in marine management – with Australia’s creation of the world’s largest network of marine parks.

We were very fortunate to secure the kind support of renowned ABC Science broadcaster Robyn Williams AM to MC our event and this in turn led to its recording for both television and radio. The event was filmed for ABC TV and recorded for the Science Show.


Watch on ABC's Big Ideas

“I know of no other organisation other than the ACIUCN, that could have drawn together an audience of the quality, diversity and suitability for Callum’s Thomas Conservation Oration than yours”.

- David Thomas OAM