Child at aquarium

At Baltimore’s National Aquarium, you’ll see sharks, stingrays, and jellyfish. And you’ll learn not just about the wonders of the sea – but also the threats posed by global warming.

Racanelli: “We’ve made the decision at the National Aquarium to be bold in our messaging, to be honest about the evidence-based realities of climate change with our audiences.”

That’s CEO John Racanelli. He says aquarium staff are trained to interpret climate science.

For example, they describe how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps heat like a blanket, which causes warmer water and rising seas. That carbon pollution also causes ocean acidification that harms shellfish.

Racanelli says visitors are often eager to hear the science and solutions – especially kids.

Racanelli: “The kids are of course receptive but they’re also persuasive around their parents, and it’s been fascinating to watch how a young climate interpreter who’s talking to a couple of kids whose dad starts out with the body language of crossed arms and kind of a furrowed brow. They watch the fathers soften as they see their kids get the basic messages about climate change.”

Like memories of fish and corals, those lessons may stay with visitors long after they leave the aquarium.

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.