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Powerhouse Museum Re-opens Ecologic Exhibition

The Powerhouse Museum’s permanent exhibition EcoLogic: creating a sustainable future will reopen on 30 October 2010 with a new, in-depth focus on climate change.

With major scientific, industrial and social developments over the last decade, particularly in relation to global warming and climate change, EcoLogic has been completely redeveloped to explore one of the world’s hottest topics today.

Sandra McEwen, Principal Curator of Biosciences and Built Environment, Powerhouse Museum said: “Scientific ideas aren’t always popular. It took 400 years for the public to accept that the Earth travels around the Sun, so it’s no surprise that there’s some public resistance to the notion of human-induced climate change. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of centuries to debate the causes, so it moves into the realm of risk management.

“The exhibition shows the basic science of climate change and allows visitors to decide how they will respond,” she said.

It explores the scientific evidence that burning coal, oil and gas (fossil fuels) is causing climate change. Evidence suggests this creates a ‘blanket’ of carbon dioxide which is warming the planet. Scientists believe erupting volcanoes might have done a similar thing 251 million years ago, almost extinguishing life on Earth.

The world’s climate scientists say we should prepare now for hotter temperatures, rising sea levels and more extreme weather like floods and droughts. Consequently, systems that supply our food, water, clothing and shelter will be affected. The exhibition explores options for adapting these systems and for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Water is a key focus of the exhibition – it’s our most precious resource and one of the biggest issues for Australia in a warming planet. Growing cities and more extreme weather will intensify the challenge of managing water supplies in urban areas. Visitors can test their own ability to manage a town’s water cycle by playing the Water Worx i-Pad game. Droughts, population growth and burst pipes create chaos amidst the effort to maintain dams, pumps, filtration plants, storm water and sewage systems. Beware of the ‘poo-nami’ at the end! A water laboratory allows further investigation into the tests and monitoring that goes on in a big city’s water supply. Just how do you keep the whole system healthy?

Visitors can check the ph level of different water sources, use a magnifier to see the insects that indicate if your waterway is healthy, and use a microscope to get up close to Giardia and Cryptosporidium. They’re the disease-causing microorganisms that nobody wants in their water supply!

Seven sections make up the new EcoLogic exhibition, which include: (1) an enormous 3D timeline, mapping the highs and lows of carbon dioxide concentrations over the last 400,000 years; (2) the consequences of global warming; (3) scientific research featuring air samples and carbon isotope studies; (4) global warming risk management; (5) redesigning our world for ecological sustainability; (6) water management; and (7) sustainability at home, featuring the original EcoLogic house with the ethos of reduce, reuse and recycle.

“EcoLogic provides an entertaining but insightful experience for children and adults alike. They will gain a clear understanding of some important environmental issues and learn how scientists are monitoring change. The exhibition presents current ideas on what each one of us can do to help reduce our impact on the world’s natural resources,” said Sandra McEwen.

The Powerhouse Museum first opened EcoLogic in August 2001 to explore how lifestyles and industries can change to avoid damage to ecosystems. This is the first major and timely update of the exhibition in almost ten years.

Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo
Telephone: (02) 9217 0111 or infoline (02) 9217 0444

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