Of Penguins & Solar Panels

(Example of an interpretive climate change message using Strategic Framing excerpted from a commencement speech for the Harvard Extention School Museum Studies Program)

Here’s a surprising penguin fact: much like our own communities, African Penguins and the ecosystems they’re part of benefit from our transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.

Like many people, we at the New England Aquarium believe in safeguarding people and places from harm, for the well-being of both animals and people. Our use of fossil fuels – like coal, oil, and natural gas – for energy releases excess carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In the atmosphere, carbon dioxide acts like a heat-trapping blanket, preventing Earth’s heat from escaping, which warms the planet, including the ocean.

Many marine animals thrive in very specific temperature ranges and, as the ocean warms, they are moving toward the poles or to deeper waters, disrupting the food chain. Penguins, like the ones you see at the Aquarium, are finding that their food sources are shifting.

The key to protecting our planet is reducing our fossil fuel consumption at a community level. Fortunately for us, we have initiatives like Solarize Massachusetts, a program that increases the adoption of small-scale solar electricity by encouraging communities to join together to lower purchase prices.

58 communities have already joined this effort, and we encourage our visitors to share what they have learned with their town and get them involved. Switching to renewable energy helps us, helps penguins, and helps the ocean! 

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