By Giulia Bellisai
In April 2019 I attended the photographic and infographic exhibition “Understanding climate change” at the Museum of Natural History of Milan, organised in collaboration with National Geographic, under the patronage of the Italian Meteorological Society, the Lombardy Regional Council and Utilitalia.
The exhibition was addressed to a public of all ages and aimed to increase public awareness regarding causes and effects of climate change and actions which can help reducing human impact on the environment.
The exhibition was divided into three major parts which took place in three different rooms. The journey started in the first room, where large size National Geographic pictures and videos were displayed, giving the public the chance to appreciate and enjoy the beauty and the calm of uncontaminated natural environments. The room itself invited the public to be carried away by the colours and sounds of nature.
Moving to the next room, the public was thrusted into totally different scenarios. Deteriorated environments and threatened animals were presented. Four transparent panels placed at the middle of the room reported concise and clear information about four species populating planet Earth: three of them – the polar bear, the indian elephant and the sea turtle – threatened with extinction and one – the human species – in continuous increase.
The public was there powerless witness of the effects that human activity and climate change have on natural ecosystems.
The journey continued in the third room, where detailed scientific data on global warming were presented in the form of infographics and the public was engaged with interactive activities to discover what’s the impact of their individual behaviours by measuring their carbon footprint.
The exhibition was well organised and structured. Defining the three main parts contributed to give a clear outline and create a linearity in the approach used to address such an important topic.
The contrast between uncontaminated beauty shown in the first room and environment deterioration due to anthropic activity shown in the second room was quite impactful. The stunning and impressive pictures and videos provided by National Geographic and the way they were displayed made the exhibition memorable.
The passage to room 1 and 2 was essential to arise public interest and make the public receptive to the scientific information provided in the third and last room.
Interactive activities were perceived by the public as engaging and interesting. People (me and my partner included) were quite curious about measuring the carbon footprint associated with their daily activities and were keen in understanding what they could do in order to reduce their footprint. People of all ages participated enthusiastically to the activities: couples and group of people even started to challenge themselves in order to discover who was the one with the lowest carbon footprint and to discuss the results together.
Having the possibility to approximately quantify carbon footprints was quite helpful for having a clearer picture of the impact of individual actions and understand which habits and behaviours should be promoted or avoided to limit global warming. The educational purpose of the exhibition was definitely achieved!
The exhibition has been held in Naples lately, from October 2019 to May 2020, and will be hosted in Turin, Rome, Verona and Bari until 2021. It’s worth it to check out the dates if you are interested J