ITHACA, NY -- The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) announced the opening of the "Warren D. Allmon Changing Climate: Our Future, Our Choice exhibit," which will include a permanent exhibit at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, as well as an online version that can be accessed anywhere in the world. The physical exhibit opened to the public last Saturday, Dec. 26.
"In naming the exhibit after PRI’s longtime Director,” the exhibit’s major donor, Susan Fleming, explained, “I want to honor Warren’s decades of tireless and passionate work in not only creating the Museum and running PRI, but more specifically, in using paleontology to educate people around the world about the dire effects of human activity on our climate. Without Warren, the Museum of the Earth and this important new exhibit simply would not exist."
The exhibit highlights that although the Earth’s climate has changed many times in the past, it is now changing at an unprecedentedly rapid rate because of the actions of humans. When we burn fossil fuels for energy, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere where it accumulates and warms up the surface of the Earth, with potentially disastrous consequences for ourselves and other life on the planet.
Fortunately, there are actions that everyone can take to address climate change. The "Changing Climate" exhibit is intended to empower visitors to recognize the things they can do to reduce climate change and its harmful effects, including discussing it with friends, family, and government officials. Additionally, the exhibit encourages visitors to think about their energy choices and the choices we make as a society.
“Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and a topic that every person needs to understand and act on. From the day the Museum of the Earth opened in 2003, climate change was a major theme of its exhibits and programs. This new permanent exhibit updates our approach and content for the issues that we read about in the daily news. It tries to place today’s climate change in the context of the Earth’s long history. That history tells us to be very concerned about our future,” says Warren Allmon.
The exhibit features a feedback station where visitors are encouraged to use their voices to express their opinions. At the station, people can see current news about the effects of climate change on the local and global level and how communities are responding, and they will be able to share their thoughts about this news as well as to read or see videos showing other people’s reactions.
Ingrid Zabel, Climate Change Education Manager at the Paleontological Research Institution, says “In addition to the feedback station, the exhibit [has] some fun and thought-provoking interactive elements, including a digital map that lets you explore energy sources across the U.S. and a miniature house where you can make energy choices and see how their impacts add up.”
The online exhibit launched on September 25, 2020 and can be viewed at www.museumoftheearth.org/changing-climate. The physical exhibit is now open to the public. Due to COVID-19, the museum is currently limiting the number of visitors at a time and encourages guests to make reservations online