02 April 2013

The Galapagos Islands will provide the focus of two forthcoming events at the Hawke Centre this month, in which the unique wildlife of this Ecuadorian province and concerns over climate change will be highlighted.

Galapagos Surreal, a photographic exhibition of the islands, featuring images captured over a two year period by Ecuadorian photographer Fernando Espinosa Chauvin, will be displayed at the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery from April 9 to May 2.

The exhibition coincides with a conference: From the Galapagos to Grapes, which will examine how climate change is affecting the environment and industry at a local and global level, taking place in the Bradley Forum, Hawke Building on April 17.

Conference co-speaker, Darren Ray, Head of the South Australian Climate Section at the Bureau of Meteorology, will highlight the climatic connections between the Galapagos and South Australia. 

“Australia and the Galapagos have been experiencing a connection through Pacific Ocean El Niño and La Niña climate events for thousands of years, but the release of greenhouses gases around the planet is causing significant changes both locally and throughout the Pacific Ocean in recent decades,” said Mr Ray.

“For example the 2010 La Niña event led to dry conditions in the Galapagos, at the same time that record rainfall in South Australia impacted our crops and viticulture. 

“Globally, climate change contributes to ocean warming and rising sea levels, and ocean acidification, and is likely to influence El Niño and La Niña patterns in the Pacific Ocean. So while the Galapagos is physically remote to us here in South Australia, our fates are intertwined.”

Director of the Hawke Centre, Elizabeth Ho, says that the focus on the Galapagos in the Hawke Centre’s exhibition program is important.

“The Hawke Centre will comprehensively examine world climate change issues in the public forum, and the arresting images in the photographic exhibition will help to communicate how devastating it would be to lose or damage such an astounding natural legacy.”

Gladys Arboleda, Honorary Consul of Ecuador in Adelaide, said the photography exhibition, featuring striking black and white images of the archipelago’s unique wildlife, was a gift from the Government of Ecuador to the people of Adelaide.

“It brings to the audience a little taste of the magnificent Galapagos islands, a World Heritage place, a living museum and showcase of evolution,” Ms Arboleda said.

Further information on both the exhibition and the forum, including registrations, can be found here.

Media contact: Will Venn office 8302 0965 email Will.Venn@unisa.edu.au

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