When Chautauqua Institution Director of Programming Marty Merkley took stock of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra’s schedule last month, tonight’s program featuring guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger and CSO clarinetist Eli Eban stood out as unique.
In the National Geographic Society’s flagship year of 1888, eminent French economist and statistician Pierre Émile Levasseur estimated the global population to be 1.483 billion.
Water is the key to survival, a resource that is in everyone’s best interest regardless of homeland or culture.
It could also become a future source of war.
Don Belt, a contributing writer for and former senior foreign editor of National Geographic magazine, spoke about the importance of cooperation at a time when water is becoming a scarce resource during Friday’s morning lecture in the Amphitheater. He was the last speaker of Week Four, themed “Water Matters.”
Throughout his lecture, Belt shared photos from other countries to showcase water issues in places he has visited during his career. He centered the presentation on what he calls “geography of hope.”
Photojournalist Brian Skerry’s story on harp seals was one of his first cover stories focused on environmental issues for National Geographic magazine, published in 2004. During Thursday’s morning lecture in the Amphitheater, he took the audience through his personal journey as a photographer.
Skerry shared two photos from when he worked on the harp seal story. One was of a hunter dragging a seal carcass to land. In another, a seal five or six days old had fallen through thin ice, and its mother was frantically pushing it up for air. Though the seal survived, many others do not.
The story inspired Skerry to work on more stories focused on environmental issues in the ocean, he said. He has explored many places around the world to photograph a variety of marine wildlife.
The ocean as shown by Jacques Cousteau was filled with life — coral, whales, dolphins, sharks.
But when Enric Sala tried to emulate Cousteau and explored Spain’s Mediterranean Coast, he found nothing of the sort. When he began studying marine biology and ecology, he met the same outcome.
“I thought that that richness and diversity Cousteau showed us was something that belonged only to exotic tropical locations,” said Sala, a marine ecologist, during Tuesday’s morning lecture in the Amphitheater.
He later learned humans were the reason why oceans looked different from what Cousteau showed.
As part of Week Four, themed “Water Matters,” Sala took audience members back 1,000 years to show them what pristine oceans look like and explained what can be done in the future.