Climate change is happening right now! It is making our oceans warmer
and more acidic, increasing the frequency of extreme weather events,
changing patterns of wildlife behavior, and more. You can see how
this is happening in dramatic photos and a revolving slide show in a
special exhibit at the Nature Research Center in the new wing of the
Raleigh Natural Science Museum, in North Carolina. The Nature Research
Center opened in April 2012.
It features research labs where scientists from the Museum, University
of North Carolina system schools, the Department of Environment &
Natural Resources, or visiting scientists from industry or agency
partners, conduct their research. Visitors to the museum can watch the
scientists through the glass walls of the labs. Author Caroline Arnold visited
the museum with her family who enjoyed all the special exhibits as well
as watching science in action in the labs.
Meanwhile, illustrator Jamie Hogan visited the Science Museum of Minnesota with her family, discovering an exhibit called Future Earth, with the same themes involving climate change. This large globe changed color from blue to light green, with a time lapse of the acid level changes from the early 1900’s to 2082. It was a striking visual morphing, showing our pearly blue planet shifting to a pale chartreuse.
Another concrete revelation was the idea of the earth’s atmosphere being the equivalent of fuzz on a peach. Seriously?
Another graphic explained that the Earth’s atmosphere is 62 miles, taking only an hour to drive directly into outer space. All of our human activity is within the first seven miles. Wow. How thin our skin truly is. Our sky is not so boundless after all.
Try finding a nature center or science museum near you, and discover your own leaps of knowledge. Given how warm the summer has been, they are always cool places to be. Climate change science is appearing near you, right before our eyes.
As Mark Bittman said recently in his New York Times column, The Endless Summer, “All of this is the tip of the iceberg, and the iceberg is, of course, melting.”
This polar bear on display looks mighty mad. I would be too, if my iceberg was melting!