10/2/2013 1:49:57 AM

Wednesday Shout Outs, October 2, 2013 {EAZA and AZA}

It's time for our (mostly) weekly shout-out.

On Wednesdays we feature individuals and groups who are working hard to fight climate change and save polar bears. We celebrate people determined to help change the world through their actions and can-do attitudes.

This week our shout-out goes to the EAZA and AZA.

Zoos and aquariums across Europe and North America have gotten together on a campaign to influence the energy consumption of their nearly 300 million visitors.

The 700 delegates of the annual conference of EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, were the first to hear about the new Pole to Pole campaign. The campaign is an initiative of both EAZA and its North American counterpart AZA, and emphasized the role of zoos and aquariums in conservation and protecting biodiversity. Zoos and aquariums across both continents will work with conservation organizations including Arctic Action Teams and Polar Bears International, to promote more sustainable living to their visitors. 

The campaign seeks to garner the power of groups to reduce energy use and protect the polar regions and beyond. They hope to

  • secure the participation of as many zoos and aquariums in as many countries as possible,
  • affect positive behavior change among zoos, schools, and zoo visitors, 
  • run as near a carbon-nuetral campaign as possible, and 
  • present a petition calling on the world's leaders to reduce CO2 emissions.

"The poles are an indicator of the health of the planet," explained Dr. Ian Stirling, polar bear expert, and one of PBI's scientific advisors. "When we see the huge reductions in the ice covering the poles, and the effect that that has on species that live there, we can get an insight into the danger facing the whole world."

The campaign will run for two years and will encompass efforts on social media and on site at EAZA and AZA institutions to raise awareness of the issues and how small actions by everyone can help to save species including the polar bear and the king penguin.

You can find out more, and take the pledge to reduce your energy use in specific ways by visiting the official campaign website.

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