Visitor engagement opportunity: COP21 and being part of the solution

With extensive news coverage of climate change talks underway at COP21 in Paris, and two-thirds of Americans wanting the US to take action, now is an especially good time to engage visitors at zoos, aquariums, and other trusted visitor-serving organizations.

But what is the best way? Our research indicates that visitors probably don't want aquariums and zoos to attempt to explain the ins and outs of climate models or the climate negotiations. But they likely would be open to an aquarium or zoo citing examples of the impacts of climate change on specific animals, and then offering some hope by making, as the recent report from EcoAmerica put it, a “quick pivot” to solutions that emphasize “the power of we” -  what we, together as a society, can do to help. As our friends at NNOCCI remind us, a critical concern right now is restarting the conversation about change. And with it in the news, now is an especially good time!

Photo credit: John Englart