Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Grasping Climate Exhibition at the Nacka Nature School, near Stockholm, Sweden

The Nacka Nature School is one of about 80 nature centers funded by municipal governments throughout Sweden. The city of Stockholm and its surrounding towns alone support some 15 nature centers. The existence of these nature centers represents an interesting statement about the priority of the environment in Swedish government and society.

The Nacka Nature School serves 2,000 students annually via field trips and has a staff of 2 that operates with a budget of US $150,000. All school classes in Nacka (the funding municipality) may take a free, all-day field trip to the center each year, while schools from outlying areas pay a small fee.

The staff of the center had seen the travelling exhibition “Grasping Climate” when it appeared at the Museu­m of Science and Technology in Stockholm about 20 km away and thought it would be a good way to anchor a unit on sustainability they were planning for this school year. They asked their municipality to sponsor the exhibition for 4 months ($40 K plus shipping) and said they received immediate and enthusiastic approval.

“Grasping Climate” is a highly interactive exhibition on alternative energy that was developed and is now being toured by Teknikens Hus (a science center in Lulea, Sweden described earlier in this blog). Initially, visitors watch a 10-minute video, produced by Science North (a large science center in Sudbury, Canada) in which a cartoon sheep narrator introduces the science of global warming.

The exhibits are very intereactive and demonstrate various principals of alternative energy, including: solar power…

Wind power…

Wave power…

Hydro power…

and hydrogen power.

“Grasping Climate” also provides a few thought-provoking exhibits on transportation and personal actions, such as a comparison of the CO2 emission from cars, trains, and planes.

A Magic Planet (an exhibit consisting of a globe with an internal projector that can show images) cycles between day and night views of the world, the night view making an impression on visitors by showing a world that is remarkably well lit after sundown. In this image, you can see the US at night, with most of the eastern half mostly lit up.

The exhibition concludes with a series of 5 vertical Plexiglas tubes with a supply of pebbles and “what if” scenarios that invite visitors to make a personal commitment to reducing their energy consumption and CO2 emission by dropping a pebble into a tube corresponding to a particular action (such as reducing automobile travel).

1 comment:

claire said...

Hi Charlie,
Just a note that the projected image of the earth on the hemisphere is not a "Magic Planet" product but a customized animation from another company that Teknikens Hus contracted with. It is possible to get the same information in still images from NASA and with some effort, create a similar movie - interested people can see the exhibit recipe in the ASTC IGLO toolkit thanks to the generosity of Teknikens Hus in sharing their general design.