Fri, Nov 30, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Saving the rainforest

Andrew Revkin has written extensively on sustainability issues and climate change. Tomorrow he will give a lecture discussing the global impact of rainforest destruction

By Dan Bloom  /  Contributing reporter

Journalist Andrew Revkin will give a lecture on Amazon deforestation tomorrow in Taipei.

Photo courtesy of the Lung Yingtai Cultural Foundation

When New York Times climate blogger Andrew C. Revkin was invited by a local foundation to give a lecture about the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rain forest, he didn’t know that Sting would be giving a concert at the Taipei Arena later the same day. But when a local reporter told him about the Sting show, Revkin said that if his schedule permits, he will try to make it and perhaps try to say hello to Sting backstage later.

Revkin will give a lecture, The Invisible Ax: Global Corporations Slaughter the Amazon, tomorrow as part of the Lung Yingtai Cultural Foundation’s (龍應台文化基金會) MediaTek Taipei Salon (台北沙龍) series. Kurtis Pei (裴家騏), a professor at the Institute of Wildlife Conservation, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, will moderate the lecture. Revkin, who has written extensively on sustainability issues and climate change, will discuss the global impact of rainforest destruction.

It turns out that Revkin was once on the board of Rainforest Foundation which Sting helped create in the late 1980s, and the two men know each other.

The Rainforest Foundation was founded in 1989 by Sting and his wife Trudie Styler after they saw first-hand the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and the devastating impact it had on the lives of the indigenous peoples who lived there. It now operates in more than 20 countries.

While Revkin carved out a career as a globe-trotting science reporter for Discover magazine and the New York Times, he is also an amateur musician and songwriter. He plays a mean folk guitar and has been known to back up folksinger Pete Seeger at shows in the New York area. In addition, he is a member of Uncle Wade, a blues-roots band.

Revkin has written movingly about the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, as well as the 2004 Asian tsunami that hit Thailand and Indonesia. He has also visited Greenland to see first-hand the melting glaciers there.

As a singer/songwriter himself, Revkin admires Sting and would love to take in his Taipei show if time allows, he said in an e-mail from New York before flying to Taiwan.

Two films have been based on Revkin’s work, with one about the Amazon rain forest and other about a rock tribute band.

The Burning Season was an HBO film based on a biography of Chico Mendes, the iconic, slain defender of the Amazon rain forest. The second movie, Rock Star, was based on a 1997 newspaper article titled “A Metal-Head Becomes a Metal-God. Heavy,” in which Revkin described how a singer in a Judas Priest tribute band rose to replace his idol in the real band.

Taipei Salon (台北沙龍), The Invisible Ax: Global Corporations Slaughter the Amazon, tomorrow from 2pm to 4pm. The lecture takes place at Yue-han Hall (月涵堂), 110 Jinhua St, Taipei City (台北市金華街110號) and will be conducted in English with simultaneous interpretation in Mandarin. Admission is free, but those attending must register online at or by calling (02) 3322-4907.

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