New England Aquarium in the news – can we marry fun and activism?

29 August 2012 |

Hands on at the New England Aquarium. Photo courtesy <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/alohadave/3701678391/in/pool-382006@N21/'>alohadave</a> Hands on at the New England Aquarium. Photo courtesy alohadave

With the 2012 International Aquarium Congress (IAC) just a few days away, it’s great to see New England Aquarium in the news. During the 8th IAC (happening from 9 to 14 September in Cape Town), the New England Aquarium’s Steve Bailey will be presenting a paper in the In-Situ Conservation category. And Jerry Schubel, erstwhile CEO of New England Aquarium, is on the IAC Steering Committee. But questions of the role that aquariums can and should play in spreading awareness about environmental issues such as climate change are reaching far and wide.

A recent article in the New York Times, “Intriguing habitats, and careful discussions of climate change”, says: “[aquarium] managers are fearful of alienating visitors — and denting ticket sales — with tours or wall labels that dwell bleakly on damaged coral reefs, melting ice caps or dying trees.”

The article goes on to outline how various aquariums around the world are spreading climate change messages, subtly and covertly.

Click here to read the full article.

What steps have your aquarium taken to enlighten visitors while showing them a good time?

Should aquariums play a role in education and awareness? Can we really separate fun from fact in this day in age?

The Oceans Health Index

The New England Aquarium uses reef displays to educate visitors about coral bleaching. Photo courtesy <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/capitanmorgan/1516909303/'>pickering_morgan</a> The New England Aquarium uses reef displays to educate visitors about coral bleaching. Photo courtesy pickering_morgan

Together with Conservation International, the National Geographic Society and the Pacific Life Foundation, the New England Aquarium has also been instrumental in the publication of the Ocean Health Index, “the first comprehensive measure of ocean health for 171 coastal regions worldwide”.

According to Green African Directory, “The new index is a quantitative measure of ocean health that considers human beings as part of the ocean’s ecosystem.  It assesses ocean health in terms of the benefits from the ocean,organized as 10 goals that are enjoyed by people in a sustainable way. These goals include food provision, artisanal fishing opportunities, carbon storage, coastal protection, tourism & recreation, biodiversity and livelihoods & economies. Resource management decisions can be examined across the suite of goals allowing policy-makers to assess trade-offs.”

Click here to read more about the index.

What gives us hope?

Dr Elin Kelsey has hope Dr Elin Kelsey has hope

2012 IAC keynote speaker Dr Elin Kelsey has been gathering input from people around the world for her opening day speech on 10 September 2012.

She asked: “Where do you find hope for the environment? What conservation success stories inspire you?”

Kelsey will be exploring current research about hope and resiliency during her 2012 International Aquarium Congress (IAC) keynote address.

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