CUHK Jockey Club Initiative GaiaGrand Opening of Territory’s First Museum on Climate Change
The Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change (MoCC), the territory’s first public museum on climate change, celebrated its grand opening today (16 December) at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). It is one of the key initiatives of CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia, a community engagement programme to promote environmental conservation and sustainability. The MoCC showcases valuable specimens, pictures, interactive simulators and multimedia information on global warming and climate change to arouse public awareness of the severe impact on individuals and the world. Ms Christine LOH, Under Secretary for the Environment, HKSAR Government; Dr Rebecca LEE, Founder of Polar Museum Foundation; Mr Winfried ENGELBRECHT-BRESGES, Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; and Prof Joseph J.Y. SUNG, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK officiated at the opening ceremony. The MoCC is now open to the public and admission is free.
Prof. Joseph Sung said ‘CUHK established the Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability in 2011 to promote multi-disciplinary research and education in related areas, helping to build a more sustainable environment for Hong Kong and the world. We trust that the establishment of MoCC will educate and enlighten the general public, especially the younger generation, to be aware of the importance of environmental protection. We are grateful to Dr Rebecca Lee for offering her thousands of valuable collection from the poles. Our sincere thanks also go to The Hong Kong Jockey Club who shares the same vision with CUHK and has made a generous donation to launch the environmental outreach programme ‘Initiative Gaia’ and the MoCC.’
Noting that climate change has become a defining issue of our generation, Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said everybody needed to get serious about promoting sustainability in Hong Kong. ‘I am excited to witness the opening of this Museum, being the first of its kind in Hong Kong and being yet another example of the Jockey Club’s continuous commitment to promote environmental conservation and sustainability.’
Ms Christine Loh said, ‘the Museum is a platform for sharing knowledge relating to climate change with the public. There could be more collaboration between the Environment Bureau and CUHK.’
The MoCC is located on the 8th floor of the Yasumoto International Academic Park at CUHK, occupying an area of 800m2. It is within 5-minute walk from the University MTR Station. The museum has incorporated many green features including introduction of daylight, solar shading devices, energy-efficient systems and the use of renewable energy. It also features over 50 interactive multimedia installations to bring visitors an interesting yet educational experience. The museum has four major sections:
Valuable collections of the Poles
The ‘Polar Gallery’ shows valuable collections of the Poles donated by Dr Rebecca Lee, the renowned environmentalist and polar explorer, obtained through her years of fieldwork at the ‘Three Poles’ (the North Pole, the South Pole and Mount Everest). Dr Lee is the world’s first woman explorer to reach the Arctic, Antarctic and Mount Everest region. She has been to the Poles 18 times and to Mount Everest four times. The Polar Gallery also displays the model of ‘Xuelong’, the largest polar research vessel in China and the only one capable of navigating the ice sheets of the polar regions. It is a signature of the nation’s first expedition to the Poles. A 13-metre mega curved screen will take visitors to the Arctic Ocean to understand the researchers’ work.
Simulation of climate monitoring
The ‘Remote Sensing and Environmental Monitoring’ section imitates the setting of CUHK’s Satellite Remote Sensing Ground Receiving Station which monitors the environment with real-time satellite images. Visitors can understand the actual impacts of global warming on Hong Kong and South China via satellite data. A ‘motion controller’ interactive game will allow visitors to control the movement of the globe and observe how the rise in sea level affects different regions, e.g. how Tai O in Hong Kong will be affected by climate change.
Knowledge transfer and public education
The ‘Research and Innovation at CUHK’ section showcases CUHK’s innovative research on environment, energy and sustainable development done by scholars in various disciplines including life sciences, architecture, engineering and geography. The highlighted projects include the Electronic Encyclopedia for Tree Identification, the Noise Simulation System, the Solar-driven Photocatalytic Formation of Hydrogen from Water, etc. This section aims at inspiring the public, especially young people, to consider how they may contribute to combating climate change.
‘The Hong Kong Jockey Club Green Gallery’ presents some of the major Jockey Club initiatives that have helped pioneer new thinking on how to protect the environment within the Club and in the local community. Visitors will be inspired by these initiatives and join the effort in pursuing green living.
Extended educational activities
In addition, the MoCC also offers extended activities such as eco tour and workshops. CUHK student docents will introduce the museum as well as the prime ecological sites and energy efficient devices on the CUHK campus. A variety of workshops are offered by the MoCC in conjunction with its monthly exhibition themes. Activities include experts’ sharing sessions, case studies, panel debates and handcraft workshops.
The opening hours of the MoCC are 9:30am – 12:30pm and 2:00 – 5:00pm. It is closed on Wednesdays, Sundays and public holidays. Members of the publics are welcome. Admission is free.
CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia
CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia is a 5-year community engagement programme launched in 2012 by CUHK, with a generous donation of HK$54 million by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. Committed to paving a sustainable future for Hong Kong, the programme aims at promoting environmental conservation and sustainability in local communities, through public education and carbon reduction partnerships with schools and non-governmental organizations.
Rising environmental awareness, together with the proactive policies implemented by the government, has inspired the community to advocate for environmental protection. In order to draw on collective wisdom and to encourage active public participation in pro-environment activities, CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia organizes the ‘Environment and Climate Change Forum Series’. Experts and practitioners from different fields and the public are involved to confer on the best ways to deal with environmental challenges and impacts of climate change.
More details of the CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia can be found at www.cuhk.edu.hk/gaia.