Voces por el Clima, Voices for the Climate, bustled with Peruvians from all ages coming to learn about climate issues. The event featured sections dedicated to education about various environmental issues—sustainable cities, forests, mountains, clean energy and the oceans. Education displays combined traditional museum style exhibits with text with interactive art, touch screens, video, building activities and more. Students from the local University presented each display to visitors engaging them with the content and answering questions. Children ran through a forest of brightly painted trees, laughing gleefully. An elderly women moved robotically in front of a human sized ipod screen with remote sensor technology, her face pursed slightly in concentration. A little boy reassembled pillows made to look like stones, piling them carefully into a dam. Animated presenters attracted the audience with charisma and a message of us, the people, acting now to save our planet.
Science presentations occurred in small pavilions dedicated to different themes. Inside the ocean’s event Scripps researcher Lisa Levin presented on upwelling systems and oxygen minimum zones during a section on Ocean Acidification. Her presentation, along with other from experts in Peru and at the Plymouth Marine Laboratories, introduced ocean acidification as a concept understandable to the public, stressed causes, solutions and the need for collaborative research. They stressed strong science and communication of that science in a way that allows it to be transferred into policy. (Hey, that’s what OSIP is all about isn’t it?).
The OA event was followed by a section focusing on the artisanal fisheries of Peru and the importance in increased data collection, collaboration with fisherman and movement towards sustainable management for the stability of the environment and the economics of local people.
Education is instrumental in allowing the people to have a voice, to make individual choices to better our planet, to create movements of their own, to pressure politicians into action. Science research must reach the masses in a way that is interesting and affects them on a personal level. Voces por el Clima did a fantastic job of this with a nice balance of a high level yet easy to understand research presentations and interactive educational exhibits for the whole family. As I left the event, following the endless sea of people walking in and out, the voices of a multigenerational crowd joined a speaker in chanting “Reduzca plástico. Cuide de nuestros océanos.”
Reduce plastic. Take care of our oceans.