Scientific evidence increasingly shows that climate change will become a primary driver of species extinction in the coming century. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that 70-80% of birds, amphibians and corals that are already threatened are also climate change-susceptible.
Around the world, individuals and communities are coming together to send a strong message to the world’s leaders that we need them to enact policies that help to bring climate change under control. A number of powerful campaigns are gaining momentum and demanding progress toward clean energy innovation and government action leading to climate change mitigation. These diverse, participatory movements have a key message—that the world’s governments need to act to get and keep atmospheric levels of CO2 back to a “safe” 350ppm.
Now is the time for the conservation community to join this movement, and zoos and aquariums have an opportunity to lead the way.
We can create change, but only if we work together.
Press Releases, News, and Blogs
Divestment Announcement Press Release - Press Release, March 18, 2013
Zoos and Aquariums Join Grassroots Movement to Address Climate Change - Press Release, October 29, 2013
Leading Conservation Group Divests 70% of Fossil Fuel Exposure - Press Release, February 2, 2014
‘Urgent’ conservation threat from climate change leads US group to fossil fuel divestment - Blue Green Tomorrow, February 11, 2014
Conservation Organizations: Time to Align Financial Portfolio Goals with Their Conservation Mission? - CSR Wire Blog, March 10, 2014
"Developing a Climate of Change" - Z & A for 350 in EAZA's ZooQuaria Publication
This article in EAZA's quarterly publication discusses Zoos & Aquariums for 350, highlighting the need for urgent action on climate change and calling on zoos and aquariums to lead. Thanks to EAZA for offering this opportunity to spread the word about Z & A for 350. Read the article.
Zoos & Aquariums for 350 Handbook Reprinted in ZOOS' PRINT
ZOOS' PRINT, a publication of Zoo Outreach Organisation (ZOO) in India, reprinted the Zoos and Aquariums for 350 Handbook in its November issue. This reprint will help the Handbook reach a new subset of readers. Thanks to ZOOS' PRINT for spreading the word! http://www.calameo.com/read/001552297b265b6f32620
Linking Individual Efforts with Z & A for 350
Zoos & Aquariums for 350 member Madelon Willemsen recently participated in the National Day of Climate Action rally in Sydney, Australia. The rally was organized by Getup.com.au, 350.org Australia and several other organizations. Willemsen was one of 160,000 people who stood up to tell the Australian government to "Aim Higher on Climate." She even wore her Zoos & Aquariums for 350 T-shirt! For more photos from the event, visit https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/climate-action-now/reportback/an-amazing-day-of-climateaction. Have you been involved in climate action? We want to hear about it! Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or post on the Z & A for 350 Facebook Wall.
Zoos & Aquariums for 350
Divestment - Zoos that invest money can choose to divest from fossil fuel companies and reinvest in solutions that align with their mission of conservation. Learn more.
Carbon Offsetting - The Zoos and Aquariums for 350 Carbon Offset Initiative, supported by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), is in place to help zoos and aquariums that have already reduced their carbon footprint as much as possible to compensate for their institutions’ unavoidable carbon emissions through the purchase of credible, additional, and sustainable carbon offsets. Learn more.
Show the Wild Face of Climate Change - Clear communication about the effects of climate change on all species is a key piece to the puzzle. Many zoos already communicate with their visitors about this threat, and here is one more way to invite zoo keepers and visitors to add their own voices to the mix. Learn more.
A 2012 Rolling Stone article by environmental writer and founder of 350.org Bill McKibben distilled the complex science of climate change into three numbers that emphasize the danger of extracting and burning fossil fuels.
- 2°C: The maximum amount of global warming that can occur without causing runaway climate change. Almost every country in the world has agreed to this and has committed to not exceeding this increase in global temperature.
- 565 gigatons: The amount of carbon scientists say we can burn and keep warming below 2°C. At current rates, we’ll burn this amount of carbon in just 16 years.
- 2795 gigatons: The amount of carbon fossil fuel companies have in their reserves. That’s 5 times more than the amount of carbon we can burn before surpassing the 2°C limit.
In order to maintain a planet similar to the one we’ve had, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have to be reduced to 350 ppm. Scientists say that this will be difficult, but not impossible, and the only way to achieve it is to leave carbon in the ground and keep it out of the air. Efforts to reach net-zero emissions (no longer emitting more carbon in the atmosphere) must be realized by 2050 to reach a target of 350ppm around 2100. This timeframe provides the best chance of keeping warming under 2°C.
The next few years are critical for the feasibility of reaching this 350ppm target, and as of now we still have a chance. But only if things change.
Knowing the devastating impacts of global climate change on species places a special burden on zoos, aquariums, and other conservation organizations to act. Zoos play a role in educating the public about climate change, and the urgency of this threat calls for accelerated, committed action by all institutions and individuals. Strong local ties to their communities give zoological institutions a unique position that no other conservation organization has.
Species in zoos and aquariums impart a spirit of wonder to future generations, who will someday become conservationists, educators, scientists, politicians, authors, and advocates for these same species. Because of this, zoos have a unique role to protect the animals in their collections and their wild counterparts and habitats to ensure that the species can thrive and future generations can appreciate biodiversity the way we do today. By joining the movement, zoos are making an investment in a livable future for children and for wildlife.