Thursday, May 21, 2015

What is Your Museum Doing to Fight Climate Change?

Robert R. Janes' recent video on Museums and Climate Change asks our field "What public value do you wish to have?" (It is good and important; please watch it.)

Well, what future do you wish to have? Is it "Museum as Mall", as Janes calls it - entertainment centers with food and shops? Or is it work in support of "the durability and well-being of individuals, communities and the natural world?"  Why wouldn't we choose the latter?

Together we are living in a changed climate, and it is changing at an accelerating rate. Slowing and reversing this requires all the skills and attributes that we museums often excel at: research, critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, historic reference, social awareness, team work, and community-building. This is no longer about environmental sustainability as a tool for relevance within our communities; it's about doing what we do best in the service of saving our world and ourselves.
The New England Aquarium - A Leader in Addressing Human Behavior and Climate Changes

The folks who are looking for solutions needs us to help. We can support research, testing, dissemination, and adoption of new approaches by working with the people inventing better solar storage, and more efficient solar panels; or protecting ecosystems based on new biological research; or testing water purification and protection systems that mimic plant structure; or creating better urban design for reduced fossil-fueled travel; or finding new ways to bring fresh, untainted food to those who have none.

And our communities need us to help them amplify their voices to ask for this change, and to help them participate in the change to make it more responsive and more effective.

This is human-caused climate disruption substantially created by GHG from fossil fuels. As Janes says "Why do we believe museums may abstain from addressing societal needs and aspirations, and be absolved of greater accountability...?"




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