Across America, Science Center Offerings on Climate Change Are Often Scant
When we took our grandson to the Science Center of Iowa we didn’t notice any exhibits that taught about climate or mankind’s effects on our climate. The closest they came was the local TV stations weather channel product placement Green Screen exhibit. You can also learn about Igloos in one of the workshops, but not about greenhouses in Farm country.
That’s somewhat out of synch with what actual Iowan scientists are saying and doing, since Iowa scientists and Universities have released a series of papers on the effects of climate change on Iowa industry, and Iowan’s health.
Maybe they are worried about offending the Joni Ernst types with simple facts. If you are in Iowa and you want your children to know about how climate change is affecting their future, then I recommend the Iowa Museum of Natural History or the University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.
Nine out of 10 scientist believe that humans are causing global climate change, surveys suggest. But only about one out of two science-education facilities are discussing it at all.
“I would say about half of [U.S. science facilities] have addressed the issue one way or another,” said Walter Staveloz, who has worked on climate-change issues at the Association of Science-Technology Centers. The association represents some 600 science museums, zoos, and other institutions of informal science education.
Some science facilities address climate change during live demonstrations. Others discuss concerns like rising sea levels, while glossing over the part humans play. “We need to talk about these concerns more than we have,” said John Anderson, the New England Aquarium’s Director of Education. “Americans are concerned about climate change, but they don’t understand what’s going on.”
Mr. Anderson leads a federally funded effort to help science educators discuss climate change. While more institutions are taking on the topic, he said, “some clearly have leadership that is not prepared to address the issue.” Among their concerns: “If our funders don’t like this and pull their funding, will that undermine our capacity to continue our work?”