Posted Oct 22 2014

Festival Talks offer something for everyone

Review by Kate Francis

Last night's talk by young adventurer, scientist and sailor Emily Penn highlighted the broad appeal of the year-round talks presented by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in association with King's Lynn Festival.

Emily described her experiences enthusiastically and eloquently - taking the audience on a global journey of discovery - demonstrating how issues we still grapple clumsily with in the developed world, such as waste and pollution, are already taking their toll on remote communities of the Pacific Ocean.  From her first encounter with a beach full of tiny bits of plastic, to the decomposed remains of a magnificent albatross who had starved to death because its stomach was so full of plastic there was no room for food, Emily has been hands-on in championing waste management in the remotest islands of Kiribati.

Her talk seamlessly lead us through startling photography and film of her voyages on some of the world's most technologically advanced environmentally-friendly ships, to a narrative of a harrowing wait for a Tsunami on a low-lying island.  Emily had a knack of explaining big and complex problems in a way that everyone could understand, keeping her audience with her all the way, from scientists to school kids.  It was an exceptional Tuesday evening indeed! 

Emily's next adventure starts in November, when she is skipper of an all-female yacht crew heading West across the Atlantic to motivate more young people to break the 9-5 norm and start thinking and acting globally.

If Emily ever sits still long enough to write a book, it will surely be an inspiring, possibly uncomfortable, yet thoroughly enjoyable read.  Follow Emily's next adventure at

The next RGS speaker on 10 March will be  Hugh Broughton, architect of the re-locatable Halley VI Antarctic research station.  His talk is billed as a "dynamic and thought-provoking review of his polar projects".  No doubt it will also have broad appeal, and be as educational as it is entertaining.    Tickets are available now.

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