10th Annual Los Angeles Dinner
“Look around you the next time you’re out in a green place, and marvel, I beg you, at the staggering inventiveness, the elegance, the beauty, the utility. The exquisite, unimprovable glory that is life on earth.” Best-selling author Bill Bryson told guests that not only were they lucky to be enjoying CI’s 10th Annual Los Angeles Dinner, they were also extraordinarily lucky to be living on Earth. As far as we know, the Earth is the only place in the entire universe that supports life, let alone the abundance of life that we enjoy on our planet.
CI Chairman and CEO Peter Seligmann illustrated Bill’s point that our Earth is a paradise, pointing to CI’s recent discovery of a “lost Eden” in the remote Foja Mountains of Papua, Indonesia. Peter expressed his hope that the childlike wonder we feel when hearing about discoveries like this will inspire us to break our old habits and strive even harder to protect the natural world.
CI President Russ Mittermeier was on hand to discuss another inspiring CI expedition, to the Himalayas of Nepal and Southwest China, and to present a short video of the expedition’s highlights. The brainchild of Russ and Joe Rohde, chief imagineer of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this biological survey highlighted the importance of partnership to CI. Conservation in this pristine region is only made possible by working with scientists, the government, and the local people to whom these lands are sacred.
The evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Animal Planet’s Jeff Corwin, had joined Russ and Joe in Nepal. Jeff spoke passionately about how the birth of his daughter made him realize the need to preserve nature for future generations.
Jeff was joined on stage by an Australian wedge-tail eagle and by 13-year-old herpetologist Mickey Mittermeier, who also happens to be Russ’s son. Mickey carried a blue-tongued skink to the stage and spoke about his fear that the Earth’s wild places are disappearing too fast. “I’m scared that by the time I’m old enough to study animals in the wild, they’ll be history, not biology,” he told the crowd.
Although the evening’s many speakers all offered their individual perspectives, there was a consensus that the present is a critical time for conservation. In Bill Bryson’s words, “Life is precious, and miraculous, and rare, and they’re not making any more of it. We have a sacred duty, that’s not putting it too strongly, to look after it wherever we find it.”
For more events information, please contact Courtney Meyer
at 1-800-406-2306, ext. 812 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.