Is it Globally Warm in Here Or is it Just Me?

At the end of the exhibit on Climate Change at the Museum of Natural History in NYC, there is a wall of suggestions for people to post their ideas on how we can help reverse the damage that humans have contributed toward climate change, the answer that stuck out: “Stop Reproducing.” 

That’s really an answer that makes you want to laugh, cry and think all at the same time. Well, the exhibit certainly doesn’t offer that much to laugh about, but things to cry and think about are in abundance. So much so, that my husband and I joked about looking into buying property on Mars, and while joking, we managed to find a site on Google that offered just those sort of real estate services, but I digress…


The exhibit takes us through the history of how and why we find ourselves subject to such unusual climate change. It addresses the issue that the planet has been in and out of ice ages and has thus experienced climate turmoil, but notes that this time, it’s different.  

Especially in the last 400 years with the increase in our needs for energy to start our cars, light our lives, etc… So when it comes to the burning of fossil fuels, once the CO2 is released into the atmosphere, amongst other things, the temperature of the Earth rises.  The exhibit takes an in depth look at all the noticeable changes that scientists have observed over the years, including:

-Changes in the ice: melting poles and shrinking glaciers and the potential impact of these on our daily lives.

-Changes in the ocean, the atmosphere and on land: droughts and floods will become even more commonplace and the impact will be detrimental to our society and to our ecosystems. 

 Stunning facts, images, videos and interactive tools really make the information register on a very basic and straightforward level. Needless to say, the outlook is bleak.

 Roger Braithwaite/Peter Arnold, Inc

A large portion of the exhibit is then devoted to new technologies that could help ease the burden. Weighing in on the pros and cons:

-Wind: Pro:  clean, here today, cheap, widely available  Con: site-specific and unattractive

-Nuclear: Pro: free of CO2 and here today  Con: safety is still a potential concern, available to few, and expensive

-Fossil fuels: Pro: practical, functional and reduces CO2  Con: expensive, large-undertaking, untested

-Sun: Pro: getting cheaper, here today, flexible, clean and unlimited  Con: intermittent and site-specific

-Geothermal: Pro: consistent, light on CO2, and accessible  Con: dirty and expensive

-Hydropower: Pro: clean, cheap, and consistent  Con: site-specific and destructive. 

The exhibit does try to end on a positive note by offering ways we can help reverse the damage. Some are basic and can be easily undertaken by all rather quickly and others take more time and effort to adopt.  Why not try one today? – let the wind power you! 

 Denis Finnin/AMNH

The exhibit runs through August 16, 2009 and is a must see for anyway who cares to live on this planet.

 Learn more about Vanessa


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