Poles In Peril: A New Aquarium Exhibit


The waves come crashing over the swimmer.  Despite his strength, the surfer is yanked into the angry ocean.  The beginning of a disaster movie?  Or the beginning of a real disaster?  Whatever it is, the conflict between man and nature is coming to a head. 


Aquarium of the Pacific: Ocean Science Center

According to Frank Niepold, the climate education coordinator of the Climate Office Program (NOAA) natural disasters as hurricanes, earthquakes, El Ninos, and tsunamis, are all a result of the climate change, which is causing a rise in sea levels.  "Our disasters will be up to 40% stronger and more forceful than before.  Our beaches are eroding as the sea levels rise."  An elevation anywhere from 5 to 20 feet is expected by the end of the century.  Many islands will be washed away.  In Alaska, entire villages have disappeared.  One half the Netherlands is below sea level now.   More than half the earth's popular, living near the water front, will have to adapt to change.   Places as Ventura County are already taking care to move their communities back from the beach and others, as Newport Beach, Goleta, and Santa Barbara are following suit. 


Ocean acidification, the evil twin of climate control, is especially heavy in the polar regions because carbon dioxide is absorbed more readily in the colder temperatures.  This is destroying the local ecosystem and becoming worse as the ice chunks melt. 


It is NOAA's mission to understand how our earth is changing and how we can preserve what we have.  For those of you who don't know, NOAA also is part of the National Weather Service. 


We, humans, can stop further erosion by doing our part to control the use of natural resources and be energy conserving.  Coast to coast, we must meet the conflict head on.  Our future demands that we act differently than we have in the past.  We must reduce our dependency on coal, gas and oil.  The United States, it seems, uses more than third world countries and therefore, we must be more responsible. 


Aquarium of the Pacific: San Pedro Port

In an effort to create a greener port, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Pedro, says Mario Cordero, Port of Long Beach Commissioner, they are working to use more solar energy.  These ports, especially San Pedro,  brings in more than 85% of the goods which comes into our country are paving the way for us. 


To educate the public, the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach has installed two new exhibits - the Ocean Science Center and the Arctic &Antarctic: Our Poles in Peril. Both presentations will be open to the public as of May 28, 2011.    


Aquarium of the Pacific: Sitka the Arctic Fox

In the Ocean Science Center, we see the effects of the sea level rising and learn how the ports are working to go green. 


In the Poles in Peril exhibit, we learned that the situation at the poles is far drastic than it is down here.   Many species are dying.   Many people come to the Aquarium to see live animals.  For that reason, the Aquarium has brought down the Arctic Fox and other endangered animals like the Moon Jellyfish, which many of the kids love to touch. 


Aquarium of the Pacific: Mother and Son with the Moon Jelly fish

Kids programs  at the Aquarium show kids how to participate in keeping our climate from changing.  Numerous exhibits involve the kids in on the spot activities on whales, sharks and seals.  Many of the programs have an "out of the box" kit that teachers can use for their classrooms, as well. 


Aquarium of the Pacific: Polly the Polar Bear greets journalists

For a mere five cents a day, you can be a member of the Aquarium and help their research.   Visit them at 100 Aquarium Way, in Long Beach or call 562 590 3100.  www.aquariumofthepacific.org

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