The Big Freeze
May 27, 2011
May 27, 2011—Aquarium visitors were surprised by an unusual incident in the Great Hall last Wednesday, May 25. At precisely 2:30 p.m. about 392 people froze in place and stayed that way for three minutes. As visitors realized what was happening, many concluded correctly that they were witnessing a flash mob. A flash mob is a large group of people that assembles in a public place and performs a surprise act, sometimes a choreographed dance number or song. Usually the performances are captured on video, then distributed on YouTube.
The number of people frozen in the Aquarium’s flash mob was a metaphor for stopping current carbon emission trends and doing something to help change our planet for ourselves and future generations.
The Aquarium’s new exhibits opening this month, the Ocean Science Center and Arctic & Antarctic: Our Polar Regions in Peril, focus on how climate change is affecting our planet. Today there is a concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) of approximately 392 parts per million in our atmosphere. The current and growing levels of CO2 can be attributed to the burning of coal, natural gas, and oil.
So how does carbon dioxide affect climate? A significant portion of the sunlight that reaches Earth is absorbed by the Earth’s surface and re-emitted as heat. Some of this heat is trapped by the CO2 in our atmosphere. As more CO2 is produced, more heat is trapped, causing our planet to warm and climate to change. In order to maintain a healthy climate for our planet, we need to work together to “freeze” the production of carbon and begin to bring that number down.