CORVALLIS - An illustrated lecture featuring spectacular photos of the Earth taken from photographers around the world will be held at Oregon State University on Wednesday, May 12, in LaSells Stewart Center.

University of Alaska professor Richard Steiner will present the lecture, "Oasis Earth, Planet in Peril," which begins at 7 p.m. in the center's Austin Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

The lecture features hundreds of slides from NASA, the United Nations and Canon, Inc. The images were selected from more than 70,000 photographs submitted by photographers from more than 150 countries to the United Nations Environment Program/Canon International Photographic Competitions for the Environment.

Among the images selected for the show are dolphins spiraling around a swimmer, a gliding manta ray, a portrait of an Eskimo father and son, and a beam of sunlight slicing through a multicolored sandstone labyrinth. The landscapes and portraits are balanced with images that show the effects of human activity on the planet.

"Life on Earth is an extraordinary, mysterious improbability and should be understood and appreciated as such. It is important to be optimistic about what we can achieve," Steiner said.

Steiner has previously presented "Oasis Earth" in South America, Central America, Europe, Japan and Korea. He believes that seeing the photos from around the world will help people understand the precious nature of the planet and the urgency for action to protect it.

Steiner is a conservation specialist for the University of Alaska Marine Advisory Program, based in Anchorage. He has been a faculty member at that university for 23 years, stationed primarily in the remote areas of Alaska. He has long been an advocate of protecting environmental heritage and has worked throughout the world on conservation and sustainable development issues.

As the marine adviser for the Prince William Sound region of Alaska from 1983 to 1997, he was directly involved in oil and environmental issues, and provided leadership in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.

The event is sponsored by several Oregon State University departments and off-campus organizations.

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Doug Russell, 541-737-5009