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Eaton Workshop’s Environmental Justice Awareness Initiative – Iconic Billboard to Launch

September 7, 2020 Hotel News No Comments Email Email

Eaton Workshop – with its two pilot locations Eaton HK and Eaton DC – is thrilled to announce a series of compelling initiatives that shed light on the bigger picture of global issues facing humanity and the planet.

This campaign kicks off with a new photography installation on Eaton HK’s Nathan Road billboard, in addition to documentary film screenings and panel discussions, and will offer support to National Geographic Society’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists.

Eaton HK’s new Nathan Road billboard has been unveiled as a part of its global brand efforts in raising awareness for environmental justice. With COVID-19 as a stark reminder of the effects of humanity’s interconnectedness, we take the opportunity to hoist an image that acts as a reminder of our inextricable relationship with and reliance on the Amazon Rainforest, the lungs of the planet

Pablo Albarenga’s 6 metre-tall photograph of a tree standing tall in the Amazon Rainforest launched on Nathan Road today. Eaton is proud to bring to Hong Kong the work of National Geographic Explorer, Pulitzer Grantee, and Sony World Photography Awards 2020 Photographer of the Year Pablo Albarenga
Albarenga’s National Geographic Society-funded project series, Seeds of Resistance, shines a light on environmental issues that stem from the destruction of native lands.

The Nathan Road billboard features Albarenga’s image of a standing tree in a partially deforested area in the Amazon rainforest. The photograph is part of a series by Albarenga that brings attention to this critical natural resource which is continuously under threat, as well as the ongoing life-threatening struggles experienced by indigenous communities in the Amazon. Albarenga’s award-winning photography series shows the ways humans are impacted and fundamentally linked to the balance and ecosystem of natural landscapes. Indigenous communities have long been our stewards of these ecologies. Throughout history, there has been no strategy for environment conservation that does not include indigenous stewardship. By bringing his work to life in one of Hong Kong’s busiest urban neighborhoods, this exhibit aims to bring the power, timelessness, and fragility, of the natural world face to face with people living in the city. The photo both inspires contemplation and is a singular call for action. It’s a reminder that nature is a transcendent refuge, yet under threat and in dire need of our protection.

This mission-driven initiative is supported by the National Geographic Society, and programmed by Sebi Medina Tayac (Director of Impact, Eaton DC), and Chantal Wong (Director of Culture, Eaton HK). Digital programming will include live-streamed discussions with Albarenga, environmental justice frontliners, and indigenous community members, panels on the future of travel and impact, and more. This program will also raise funds for indigenous and rural responses to the pandemic.

“Images have great power in shaping our understanding of the world that surrounds us. They are so powerful, that can also create stereotypes if we only tell the same stories again and again. For many years, the Amazon rainforest has been narrated through exoticism and mysticism but, what if we look beyond the trees? In times in which this ecosystem has become a key element when addressing climate change, we must look beyond trees, oxygen, and exotic species to focus on the 30 million people living in the Amazon region, especially on the many traditional communities that are standing at the frontlines, defending their homes while defending ours.”, says Pablo Albarenga.

In a global time of unrest and uncertainty, faced with a burgeoning climate crisis, and the destruction of crucial lands such as the Amazon Rainforest, Eaton Workshop has committed a large portion of its impact programming and initiatives towards amplifying and supporting indigenous voices and rights, in the context of current climate justice and environmental justice struggles. Some of Eaton’s recent efforts towards supporting indigenous and environmental justice include producing a short documentary by emerging filmmaker Jesse Littlebird, The Land, which documents the 2018 journey from America’s west to east coast taken by Eaton Workshop’s founder, Katherine Lo, Sebi Medina-Tayac (Director of Impact, Eaton DC), and Sheldon Scott (Director of Culture, Eaton DC), as they speak to communities across America that have been urgently affected by environmental justice struggles, such as a Native American community fighting the Bayou Bridge oil pipeline in Louisiana, a Vietnamese-American community protesting the construction of a landfill and a power plant in their neighborhoods, a former slavery plantation in South Carolina, and more.

During the pandemic, in response to the news that indigenous communities were suffering an uncommonly high rate of COVID-19 infection and were in dire need of PPE (medical protection equipment), Eaton Workshop joined the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and several organizations to form the Protect the People’s Emergency Partnership Fund, a coalition which has distributed 80,000 masks to indigenous communities hardest hit by COVID-19, including the Navajo Nation and communities along the Amazon River, where infections are spreading but resources are scarce.

Since opening in 2018, Eaton HK has dedicated its billboards to sharing its values with the Hong Kong community, foregoing advertising revenue in order to create dialogue around meaningful social and environmental issues. The pilot billboard campaign asked Hong Kongers to question what is most important to them with thought-provoking images by Magnum Foundation Human Rights Fellow and one of BBC’s 100 Women of the World in 2015 Xyza Cruz Bacani, Mark Pearson, and Nicole Wong addressing issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, equal opportunity, and urban development.

“As part of our commitment to amplify the important work of change makers and artists, we are extremely honoured to be collaborating with National Geographic and Pablo Albarenga, National Geographic Explorer and Sony World Award Winning Photographer to bring his powerful image of a standing tree in the Amazon rainforest to our home, Eaton HK on Nathan Road. Not only is this billboard an urgent call to protect our environment, it is equally a reminder to humanise the millions of indigenous people whose lives are at risk protecting our planet every hour of every day, as they have for thousands of years. While we admire the beauty of nature’s jungles and rainforests from afar, Pablo’s images remind us of what can be terminally lost if we don’t also take care of its people.”, says Eaton HK’s Director of Culture Chantal Wong.

Eaton HK has unveiled Pablo Albarenga’s photograph of the Amazon today.

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