About Me

This blog is primarily geared toward staff at the zoos, aquariums, museums (ZAMs), and other conservation education organizations that are part of our growing global network. We aim to provide you with cutting edge, challenging, and creative information, ideas, and tools to become as effective as possible at communicating about and for conservation with your visitors and the public.

See our ongoing communications research, or join our growing network, at The Ocean Project's website.

October 14, 2008

Interim Report of National Survey Findings Available

For those of you who were not able to make our session at the conference of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in September, we have posted on our website the presentation by Scott Corwon, with IMPACTS Research & Development. Scott is conducting the national research, and his presentation includes our survey findings to date (the information that he presented includes a sample population of 9,862 persons, approximately 53% of the eventual sample size).

When it is completed, our national survey will be the largest survey ever on any environmental issue. We plan to finish collecting the data in the next few weeks and will analyze the mountain of data during November and December. We expect to publicly release the full survey results early in 2009, although will make some of the findings available before then for our Partners. This survey is part of a three-year grant funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within its Environmental Literacy Grants program.

Sushi Lovers Pocket Guide

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, which The Ocean Project has helped promote with our Partners and the public since its inception in 1999, is coming out with a sushi guide on October 22. It will include a list of recommendations to help you select sushi made from seafood that’s caught or raised in ways that won’t hurt our ocean.

Order your sushi pocket guide now or visit the Seafood Watch website for more information.

Learn more about consuming consciously at the Seas the Day site!

October 9, 2008

The Impact of Science & Discovery Centres: A Review of Worldwide Studies

Ecsite-uk (affiliated with ECSITE, the European Collaborative of Science, Industry and Technology Exhibitions) recently published a review that summarizes and highlights recent research into the impact of science and technology museums, zoos, aquariums, and science centers, referred to in the report as “Science & Discovery Centres.”

Collectively, studies from around the world show that these informal education centers can:
• increase visitors’ knowledge and understanding of science;
• provide memorable learning experiences which can have a lasting impact on attitudes and behavior;
• have wide-ranging personal and social impacts and promote inter-generational learning;
• promote trust and understanding between the public and the scientific community;
• have an economic impact.
Read the full report.

Ecsite-uk also has another report that may be of interest to Partners: The Value of Science & Discovery Centres in the UK.

And in case you missed it last year...Why Zoos & Aquariums Matter: Assessing the Impact of a Visit to a Zoo or Aquarium, published in 2007 by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, is another valuable resource for Partners.

October 8, 2008

Supreme Court Hears Case on Navy Sonar and Whales

The US Supreme Court heard a case today in which the justices sounded closely split on whether environmental laws can be used to protect whales and other marine mammals from the Navy's use of sonar off the coast of Southern California. This is an issue that we have been making known to our network of Partners for the last few years , including last Janurary, and has important ramifications for marine mammals and other life in our world’s ocean.

This closely watched case, Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, has turned into a major dispute over whether judges, acting on a suit brought by environmentalists, have the power to stop the government from conducting a large-scale military exercise because it had not carried out an environmental impact statement. If a federal agency can sidestep conventional environmental protections by declaring an emergency, the Pentagon and potentially other federal agencies, may make such emergency declarations more common with repercussions farther reaching than sonar. The justices are likely to hand down a ruling in the case in a few months.

Read full article in the LA Times.

Cultivating the Green Consumer

Although the current situation with the economy certainly puts a new twist on consumers 'going green' a recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review referencing a 2007 McKinsey & Company global survey of 7,751 consumers in eight major economies reports that most consumers are concerned about the environmental and social impacts of the products they buy.

Consumers say they want to buy ecologically friendly products and reduce their impact on the environment. But when they get to the cash register, their Earth-minded sentiments die on the vine. Although individual quirks underlie some of this hypocrisy, businesses can do a lot more to help would-be green consumers turn their talk into walk. Read the full article...
While the situation referred to in the article, namely buying green products, is not completely analogous to the situation our Partners face, some may find it helpful to review what the authors list as the five barriers to going green as well as the five ways to break down those barriers. Clearly, for instance, consumers want to be green but are looking for leaders to show them the way. Our Partners are leaders in their communities and your visitors are increasingly looking to you to help them lead greener lives and take action to protect and conserve the world's ocean.

October 4, 2008

Congress Approves and President Signs Great Lakes Compact

In a big step forward, President Bush recently signed a joint resolution of Congress providing consent to the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, an interstate agreement based on the Great Lakes Annex Agreement signed by Ontario, Quebec and the eight Great Lakes states in 2005. The President’s action marks the final step in the Compact’s approval process, enabling these historic protections to become law in the United States, and is supported by many groups, including the Council of Great Lakes Governors.

The Compact provides a comprehensive management framework for achieving sustainable water use and resource protection and was the final step in a nearly decade-long quest to strengthen legal protections against diverting water from the system consisting of the five lakes, their connecting channels and the St. Lawrence River. The Compact doesn't specifically manage and regulate the Great Lakes so the next step is setting up programs to manage and conserve water, as the compact requires them to do within two years. It sets common standards but gives the states flexibility in meeting them by managing water the way they see fit.

This water system contains nearly 20% of the world's fresh surface water and supplies a combined population of roughly 40 million in Canada and the US. While the Compact bans diversions through pipelines and other means, a bottled water exemption remains which some groups feel would undermine the agreement’s ability to truly protect the Great Lakes.