Saturday, October 2, 2010

Climate Change Exhibit

I practically skipped down to the Museum Campus last week to take advantage of one of the Field Museum's free days, which means reduced-price admission to their normally pricey special exhibits! I've been meaning to go see the Climate Change exhibit (as well as the robotic dinosaurs, which were very cool) all summer, as I'd heard so many good things about it that I wanted to see it for myself.

In my excitement, I arrived at the museum shortly after it opened, and had the entire Climate Change exhibit practically to myself. So I took my time meandering through the aisles, crammed floor to ceiling with historic facts, photos, meteorological diagrams, and flow charts, reading both the interest-piquing tidbits and the heavier scientific evidence behind the findings presented.

Of all the information presented, my only beef with the presentation was with the giant stuffed polar bear picking its way over a mound of garbage. I found the display to be apocalyptic and over the top; the present facts are scary enough, there's no need to make wild predictions about the future.

Although the subject matter was still alarming, it was not alarmist by any means, and I was pleased as punch to see no partisan politics in play whatsoever (which, in my opinion, is exactly as it should be!). The exhibit did exactly what exhibits do best, and that is to present the facts in a clear and concise manner. It's funny, but without partisan rhetoric and cliche talking points, skeptics have a much harder time arguing with the facts!

And the fact is that our planet is getting warmer. The all-encompassing takeaway I left with is that, while the rising temps may be due in part to the natural cycle of the Earth (take heart, skeptics!), our habits and actions as a society certainly aren't helping matters and may in fact be making things worse (hug a tree, hippies!). The exhibit left visitors with a sense of hope, detailing how a few small actions by many could change the trajectory of our future, because the health of the environment and the health of all species (humans are not immune!) are inexorably linked.

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