Statement on Climate Change
Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County Statement on Climate Change
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) is of one voice in recognizing that climate change—the term used to encompass the evidence for Earth’s changing environments—is an undeniable fact.
Earth’s climate has changed often in the past, sometimes dramatically, resulting in ice ages and the intervals between them. However, recent changes in global climate have been far more rapid. These changes are clearly and demonstrably linked to human activities.
Evidence of climate change is abundantly available in the form of rising sea levels, melting polar ice caps, melting glaciers, changing ocean chemistry, severe heat waves, severe droughts, and increased storm frequency and intensity, and its dramatic impact on mass transnational human migration. We agree with this statement from the United Nations:
“Climate Change is the defining issue of our time, and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.”
As the steward of vast biological, paleontological, geological, and cultural collections documenting Earth’s history over millions of years, NHMLAC has a unique ability to see and understand how climate change is transforming our world. The work of our researchers is increasing our understanding of climate-driven changes taking place in nature. We use our collections to understand past and current change and to learn how we can mitigate future consequences. Our researchers document climate-driven changes in species’ distributions, animal behaviors, genetics, geology, and geography, and how people use the changing urban landscape.
And we are doing something about it. NHMLAC continues to lead in the search for, and implementation of, environmentally friendly and fully sustainable practices in the operation of our family of museums. We engage the public through the initiatives of our Urban Nature Research Center and Community Science programs to document the impact of urbanization on wildlife, our Nature Gardens and Nature Lab, and ongoing communication of new discoveries by our scientists.
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County, with its mission to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds, recognizes that an increased understanding of, and an urgent and immediate response to, climate change are necessary for the survival of our planet’s biodiversity—including ourselves. For additional information:
United Nations: Climate Change:
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services:
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented;’ Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating:’
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration: Climate and Information for a Climate-Smart Nation:
U. S. Global Change Research Program: Understand Climate Change:
The National Center for Science Education: Climate Change 101:
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health: Climate Change and Public Health in Los Angeles: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/eh/climatechange/