Today Mystic Aquarium and 23 other members of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership announced their first step in achieving their long-term goal of climate neutrality. Together, these institutions will work to leverage their outstanding legacy of leadership in conservation, science, communication, and education to realize climate solutions.
With a long-term goal of achieving climate neutrality, Mystic Aquarium has already completed the first phase of its institution-wide Energy Savings Plan, which includes new and upgraded lighting, HVAC, and life support systems. The Aquarium has also conducted a baseline greenhouse gas emission audit of Scope 1 (direct, onsite) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions from owned sources). Soon, you will see more charging stations for electric vehicles, and the Aquarium will be transitioning its own vehicle fleet to hybrid and electric. And while you may not see them, the Aquarium roof will sport an array of solar panels to generate renewable energy.
“Mystic Aquarium is proud to work along our partner institutions to be leaders in conservation and good environmental stewards. That starts with what happens right here, on our own campus,” said Katie Cubina, Senior Vice President of Mission Programs. “Our commitment to energy conservation and the responsible use of renewable energy is important to our staff and volunteers, but also to our guests and partner organizations. We all must work together to help solve the climate crisis, and we are excited to serve as a leader and model for the region.”
Climate change is the greatest threat to the future of our planet, our ocean and freshwater systems, and people. For decades, the global ocean has been taking the heat for climate change, absorbing more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly a third of the carbon dioxide generated by greenhouse gas emissions. The result is an ocean that is warmer, more acidic, starved of oxygen, and less habitable for fish and marine wildlife. The time for taking action is now. According to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, while the rate of emissions growth has slowed, in 2010-2019, average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history. Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach.
Participating in this climate commitment places 24 Aquariums among the growing number of businesses and organizations demonstrating both an understanding of the climate crisis and a desire to be a part of the solution. Annually, these aquariums welcome over 30 million visitors and contribute over $22.5 billion to the U.S. economy. These facilities currently run over 200 unique research conservation programs to understand the natural world and help develop solutions to environmental challenges, including climate change.
“As leaders in conservation, aquariums are expected to walk their talk, and that’s exactly what this partnership is meant to do,” said Aquarium Conservation Partnership Executive Director Kim McIntyre. “We are uniquely qualified to set an example for others—in reducing our carbon footprint, encouraging sustainable operating practices, and inspiring hope in a public that is hungry to be part of the solution.”