October 4, 2011
On October 14, 2011 the Aquarium of the Pacific joined a discussion on how museums can inform their communities about environmental challenges and inspire action. The event helped these institutions identify top environmental challenges for our region, who is addressing these challenges, and how museums can be involved. The Aquarium and six other cultural organizations, all representing distinct regions across California, will engage museum, environmental, and community leaders in roundtable discussions as part of a statewide initiative, titled Ignite! Museums as Catalysts for Sustainability. The Aquarium represented the Los Angeles Basin and Santa Barbara region. The goals included exploring the fundamental ecological issues facing each region and seeking ways in which museums can be partners in finding solutions to these challenges. The seven concurrent discussions were connected virtually and environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author Paul Hawken gave the keynote address. To read a full report containing a list of the participants and the outcomes of the Aquarium’s participation in this initiative, click here.
Ignite! Museums as Catalysts for Sustainability is spearheaded by the Green Museums Initiative (GMI), a program supported by the California Association of Museums (CAM). The regional roundtables took place concurrently at seven host institutions: the Annenberg Center at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage; San Diego Zoo; Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach; University of California, Merced Library; California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco; Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences; and Gateway Science Museum in Chico. Each site is convening museum leaders, scientists, environmentalists, community stakeholders, and artists to discuss how to preserve ecosystems and promote healthy communities in their region. Artists participating in the regional roundtable discussions will create artworks for a statewide traveling exhibition by Exhibit Envoy.
The purpose of GMI is to inspire California Museums to develop green business practices, eco-friendly facility management, and sustainable programming. GMI is embarking on this new initiative to look outwardly at what is happening locally and regionally to solve environmental challenges and support the civic engagement of museums with the needs and interests of their communities.
CAM, founded in 1979, is a non-profit service organization formed to represent the interests of California museums. CAM’s mission is to “Lead California Museums to the Future” and core programs focus on developing relevant and effective organizations for the benefit of our state’s citizens. There are over 1,400 museums in the state of California, with CAM institutional members in almost every county. California’s museums are as diverse as the communities in which they are found and include historical societies, cultural centers, art museums, botanical gardens, science centers, tribal museums, zoos, aquariums, and children’s museums.