Hong Kong Shark Foundation (HKSF) and Humane Society International (HSI) will be marking Earth Day 2011 on April 21 with Hong Kong’s first Jigantic Jenga® tower.
Everyone is invited to show their support by as they build a marine ecosystem, block by block, at The Hong Kong Jockey Club Atrium, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Clearwater Bay, from 12:30-2pm.
Bertha Lo from HKSF says “The tower is a fun way to make a serious point: that the marine ecosystem, like any other, relies on the integrity of its layers to remain balanced. If one layer is removed, the whole structure may topple”.
HKSF’s focus is on sharks and their finning. This practice sees up to 73 million of them killed each year to satisfy the appetite for shark fin soup. This has left many shark species on the brink of extinction. Sitting at the top of the marine ecosystem, they help regulate the populations of many other species below them. We have no idea how removing sharks from the oceans will impact on the rest of the ecosystem but, given how important healthy oceans are to humans (both as a source of food and a means of regulating our climate), it simply doesn’t make sense to damage them.
“Humane Society International (HSI) is excited to partner with The Hong Kong Shark Foundation on its Earth Day Jigantic Jenga® event to highlight the essential role sharks play in marine ecosystems. As the hub of the global shark fin trade, Hong Kong holds the key to the survival of shark species, many of which are facing the threat of extinction. Eschewing shark fin products is an environmentally and socially responsible way to save sharks and the oceans,” said Iris Ho, Wildlife Campaign Manager of HSI.
The tower is built by students from Hong Kong and the Mainland – young people whose buying decisions will influence the demand for fins in the future. This reflects HKUST’s commitment to sustainability, as their website states: “HKUST is seeking to build on its early start in eco-responsibility to take a leading role in driving change. Making sustainability part of our lives and work is a testing quest, one in which everyone – students, faculty, staff and wider community members – has a role to play.
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The HK Shark Foundation (HKSF) is part of MyOcean, a registered Hong Kong charity dedicated to marine conservation. HKSF exists to raise awareness about the unsustainable pressures on shark populations around the world, in particular the pressure brought about by the practice of shark finning.
Sharks are apex predators and therefore a crucial part of the marine food chain. Excessive demand for shark products has contributed to the rapid decline of many species, with several nearing extinction. Removing sharks from our oceans holds unknown consequences for the balance of marine ecosystems.
HSI is the global arm of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Founded in 1991, HSI has expanded the HSUS’s program activities into Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. HSI’s Asian, Australian, and European offices, as well as offices in Costa Rica and Canada, help carry out and support field activities and programs in over 35 countries. HSI works with national and jurisdictional governments, conservation NGOs, humane organizations, and individual animal protectionists to find practical, culturally sensitive, and long-term solutions to common environmental and animal problems.
For more information, please visit http://www.hsi.org
About HKUST Sustainability & HKUST
HKUST’s Sustainability Portal demonstrates the University’s long-established and leading commitment to environmental responsibility, an undertaking encompassing students, faculty members, staff and reaching beyond to the wider society. As a world-class research and teaching university focusing on science and technology, HKUST contributes to sustainability through basic and applied research and undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs that train the next generation of environmentally aware leaders and thinkers. But there are many other ways in which the University community is playing its part in facing the challenges ahead.