Museum to showcase scientific research and Wildlife Photographer of the Year images at the World Economic Forum 2020
Leading experts from the Natural History Museum will be showcasing their research at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland (21-24 January). The Forum engages the world’s top leaders to help shape global, regional and industry agendas - and this year will cover seven key themes including climate change and natural resource security.
The Museum’s Head of Earth Sciences, Professor Richard Herrington, Merit Researcher Dr Sandra Knapp and, one of the WEF Young Scientists of 2019, Researcher Adriana De Palma will be hosting a ‘Talk Nature’ station during the four-day conference - giving fascinating insight into their respective areas of research in minerals, botany and biodiversity which is helping to shape debate about the major issues facing the planet today. The scientists will engage with the world’s political, business and other leaders as well as display specimens from the Museum’s world-leading collection.
In addition, for the second year in a row, the Museum has been invited to showcase images from its prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. A selection of 38 images from the fifty-fifth competition will be presented as a large-scale projection installation at the event. A truly international competition, the images were selected in 2019 by an esteemed panel of judges who reviewed more than 48,000 entries from 100 countries.
Clare Matterson CBE, Executive Director of Engagement at the Natural History Museum, says: “The Museum’s mission is to create advocates for the planet, so we’re very proud to showcase the crucial work of our world-leading scientists as well as a collection of breath-taking images from our Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition - at a time when international dialogue and debate about the challenges facing the natural world has never been more pressing.
“We want to inspire, inform and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. Listening to the voices of the next generation is an important part of this, so we’re delighted that young photographer Cruz Erdmann will be joining the Forum and sharing his love of the natural world.”
The annual meeting will see the latest Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year, 14-year-old Cruz Erdmann, address the Forum in a panel discussion on underwater photography and ocean conservation, joined by world-renowned marine biologist Dr Sylvia Earle. Cruz won the coveted young grand title in October 2019 with his serene portrait of an iridescent big fin reef squid captured on a night dive in the Lembeh Strait off North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Cruz Erdmann says: “During the environmental activist movements of 2019, I decided that I wanted to make my change in the world through the lens of my camera. I am incredibly honoured to have the opportunity to showcase my photography to such a global audience at the annual WEF Forum - and I’d like to thank Wildlife Photographer of the Year for giving me such a huge platform to progress from.”
Cruz and Sylvia’s talk will take place on Tuesday 21 January at 7.30am (GMT) and will be streamed live on the Forum’s website.
Museum scientist Adriana de Palma will also introduce and moderate a session of the Forum’s Innovator Hub titled ‘Innovators in Action: Biodiversity’ - leading an engaging discussion about data-based predictions of biodiversity loss and how these can promote behavioural change towards responsible consumption. Adriana’s talk will take place on Thursday 23 January at 4.00pm (GMT).
The Museum’s presence at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting coincides with the launch of its new Vision and Strategy to 2031 as it declares a ‘planetary emergency’. Setting out the role it will play in tackling this as a global, scientific and cultural leader, the Museum describes its mission to help create advocates for the planet. The new strategy includes commitments to expand efforts to engage the public with planetary issues and further open up its collection and share the scientific data and evidence needed to find solutions to climate instability and biodiversity loss.
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Notes to editors
The Natural History Museum’s acclaimed Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and exhibition ignites curiosity about the natural world by showcasing Earth's extraordinary diversity and highlighting the fragility of wildlife on our planet. Using the unique emotive power of photography, the competition inspires people to think differently about their relationship with nature and become advocates for the planet - nhm.ac.uk/wpy
Wildlife Photographer of the Year was founded in 1965 by BBC Wildlife Magazine, then called Animals. The Natural History Museum joined forces in 1984 to create the competition as it is known today. The competition is now solely run and owned by the Natural History Museum.
Born and raised in Bali, Indonesia, but now living in New Zealand, 14-year-old Cruz Erdmann fell in love with the ocean at an early age, receiving his diver certification at 10. He has now logged nearly 200 dives. He inherited his father’s old underwater camera a year ago and has been taking pictures ever since. Now 14, his sights are set on becoming a helicopter pilot, involved with exploration or research, or a photographer working in remote areas and advocate for the oceans.
Cruz’s talk with Sylvia Earle will be streamed live on the World Economic Forum website.
About the Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.
It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.
The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.
The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year; our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.
About the World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is the only yearly gathering that brings together leaders of global society. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.