by Eileen Weber
Ever wonder what your T-shirt is made of or how far it traveled? Have you considered how much water your washing machine uses? Did you know that using a gas mower for one hour pollutes the air as much as driving a car for 20 miles?
We have all heard the green mantra: Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. But the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History wants you to “Rethink” as well. In their Sustainable Choices temporary exhibit, they illustrate all the simple, little things we can do every day to make a difference in how we affect the environment.
"This is a very practical exhibit that tells you how you as a family can change what you do in your daily life to live more sustainably," said Jane Pickering, the museum’s deputy director in a press release from the university’s Office of Public Affairs dated April 1st. "The big-picture discussions and ongoing research are very important, but this exhibit brings it down to individual action."
The exhibit, which opened on March 28th and runs until August 23rd, is geared toward younger school-age children. The kids can have hands-on interaction riding a bike, sorting recyclables, or switching lights on and off.
The point of the exhibit is to pose the question: Is our way of life sustainable? The exhibit addresses some of the more pertinent environmental issues like water and electricity usage, composting, mass transit and carpooling, and wind and solar energy. It even highlights using rechargeable batteries or choosing between paper and plastic.
There are two video segments on either end of the first floor exhibit. One shows vignettes of eco-friendly do-it-yourself projects and the other shows the different ways in which Yale University is committed to sustainability.
Since 2005, the university have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2020. They use green cleaning products and post-consumer recycled paper in their copiers. They invested in solar panels, CFL light bulbs, and light sensors to save on electricity. All of their new construction will apply for a LEED Silver certification. Their campus shuttles use biofuel or low-sulfur diesel. Forty percent of their cafeteria’s food is organic or locally grown. And, their electronics are Energy Star-rated.
The Peabody Museum of Natural History is located at 170 Whitney Avenue. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, $5 for children ages 3 to 18 and for college students with IDs, and $3 for members of groups making advance reservations. Admission is free for museum members and members of the Yale community with IDs. Admission is also free on Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.