70 years of helping people to care for our ocean

How does burning fossil fuels change the climate?

 By: Judy Mann

The recent release of the 2021 IPCC Climate Change Report reminded us of a bold step that we took in 2012, when we launched our first Climate Change exhibit – the ‘EcoHouse’. This step was motivated by the realisation that while the amazing animals at uShaka Sea World inspire love and care for the environment, simply caring for nature is not enough. We needed to help our visitors to take action to slow the climate crisis. The ‘EcoHouse’ was an innovative new exhibit situated at the entrance to the aquarium. A friendly penguin invited visitors to explore easy ways to reduce their energy use and save money at home “Do it for the planet – and your pocket”. From a full-sized geyser and solar panel, to a quirky woman in the fridge, interactive electricity panels, flushing toilets, flowing showers and much more – the exhibit attracted attention and challenged visitors to action. The exhibit was designed by passionate conservationists and enthusiastic technicians, with a great deal of innovation and a very small budget. And it worked. An evaluation of the exhibit revealed that the exhibit did inspire lasting behaviour change at home.

In 2012 climate change was still a rather abstract concept – something that was coming, in the future – maybe. Things have changed as the 2021 IPCC report makes rather frighteningly clear. The climate is changing, people are causing the change and unless we do something urgently life is going to become very difficult for millions of people, not to mention the other life forms we share this planet with. In 2012 we hoped that with enough information, governments and businesses would make the right decisions to avert the worst of the impacts of climate change. Clearly that that has not happened. We still have a gap between knowledge and action.

One of the most difficult concepts to grasp is the link between burning fossil fuels and climate change. We hope that this little animation, which we first produced for the EcoHouse, will help people to understand this link, and support more climate friendly behaviours.