The Sky Is Falling!

And they went, and they went, and they went, till they came to a wood, and there they met a fox. And the fox says, “Where are you going this day, Goosie-Poosey, Ducky-Daddles, Cocky-Locky, Henny-Penny?”

“We’re going to tell the king the sky is falling.”

And he says, “Come along, and I’ll show you the road, Goosie-Poosey, Ducky-Daddles, Cocky-Locky, Henny-Penny.”

And they went, and they went, and they went, till they came to the fox’s hole. And he shoved them all in, and he and his young ones ate them all up, and they never got to tell the king the sky was falling.

Quoted from: web.archive.org/web/20000620145435/http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type2033.html#chambers

Chicken Little

By J. G. Chandler – The Remarkable Story of Chicken Little, 1840 ( found at ), Public Domain

I’ve been to a lot of aquariums in my life. I love zoos and aquariums. I love animals and learning all about them. So it is no big surprise that I’ve visited the Aquarium of the Pacific more than once. Somes, because I write for my blog and, at times, other publications, I’ve been able to visit free of charge. And this week was another such adventure.

Twice a year, the Aquarium of the Pacific partners with Harbor Breeze Cruises to host whale watching excursions. The first time I went, it was AMAZING! So, since I’m moving to New York this year, I thought I’d take advantage of this last opportunity to see some whales and visit the Aquarium. I was especially interested in the new Pacific Visions wing, which opened in May 2019. The wing is the first major expansion project ever undertaken by the Aquarium and is a two-story, 29,000-square-foot structure designed by the San Francisco-based architecture and design firm EHDD.

What follows are some thoughts about my day’s experience.

Whale Not Watching

Alas, wild animals do not take appointments. You never know what you’ll get to see when you’re out to sea. Although I’ve been on two successful whale-watching trips, this was not one. All we saw were birds, a pod of dolphins and quite a bit of flotsam. Here’s a video summary:

That said, we were aboard one of the newer Harbor Breeze ships that had a really nice interior. I never went outside and still had an excellent view. I didn’t miss the bitter-cold wind in my hair at all!

The Pacific Visions Wing

According to the Aquarium’s website, Pacific Visions is the new focal point of the Institution and offers visitors “innovative ways to understand our connections to Earth, the World Ocean, and contemporary scientific research.” My experience was mixed.

What I Liked About the New Wing

The look and feel of the new wing are beautiful. It was designed to suggest the form of a whale and “evokes the size, depth, variability, luminosity, and biological diversity of the Pacific Ocean.” It truly is a stunning design both inside and out.

Click on the image to open up the full size.

The New Aquarium of the Pacific exterior
The New Aquarium of the Pacific exterior
Sea Urchin sculpture at The Aquarium of the Pacific
Sea Urchin sculpture at The Aquarium of the Pacific
The new Pacific Visions wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific
The new Pacific Visions wing at the Aquarium of the Pacific
3D motion wall in the new wing
3D motion wall in the new wing

Included in the new wing is a state-of-the-art immersive theater, expanded special exhibition and art galleries, and additional space for live animal exhibits. This space, which can be used for not only new exhibits but also performances and cultural events, holds a lot of potential for future exhibits.

During the movie, the seats rumble at appropriate times, and I was told that scents can be added in, as well.

In other words, the new wing has a lot of “wow” factor going for it.

What I Did Not Like About the New Wing

The movie currently showing in the theatre is all about developing new, sustainable methods for producing food, water, and energy. These are all laudable goals that I’m all for. However, the way in which they were presented was very in your face and obviously fueled by political agenda. Here are the things I did not like about the movie:

1. The Hostess
Colombian-American actress Isabella Gomez is the host and narrator of the film. She is perky and enthusiastic and was probably chosen to appeal to audience members under the age of 30. However, given the content of the film, I think a narrator with a bit more gravitas is called for. If they wanted someone young, perhaps Camren Bicondova (Selina Kyle on Gotham) would have been a better choice. I would have gone for someone like Morgan Freeman, myself.

2. The Presentation of Science

Theories and projections are stated and treated as if they were facts. This is a common problem and I think it leads to a lot of bad thinking. Science is rarely absolute. The way science works is this: First, you have a theory of how you think the world works. You develop a hypothesis to test that theory and then you devise an experiment to prove or disprove that hypothesis. More often than not, current scientific belief about anything follows the theory that best fits the current evidence. Often, said theory only fits most of the evidence, that’s why it is still a theory.

3. Fear Mongering
Because they were stating theories and projections as fact, the movie could easily engender fear in young audience members who don’t have the life experience to take where they’re hearing with a grain of salt. Ms. Gomez cheerfully tells the audience that we’re going to run out of food and water if we don’t do something now.

My personal belief is that the human race has been given the role of stewards of this planet. And therefore, I’m all for developing creative ways to develop alternate forms of agriculture and animal husbandry, especially if we can do so humanely. I’m all for developing new and innovative ways to produce energy. I especially liked the idea of using wind-power technology to collect the energy stored in the ocean’s currents. However, I don’t want to be bullied or scared into doing these things.

The film clearly had a leftist ecological agenda that I think would be much more effective if discussed in more down-to-Earth terms and not like Chicken Little proclaiming that the sky is falling.

The heavy-handed eco-agenda didn’t stop there. After the movie, you can exit out the back and enter into the second-floor exhibit about the “future city.” It is filled is demonstrations that go into greater detail about the concepts in the film.

One such demonstration is an exhibit that helps you “feel” the difference between the carbon emissions of various forms of transportation: SUV or pick-up, average car, hybrid and electric car. The idea is to lift the lever to find out the CO2 emissions. The more emissions, the harder it is to move the lever. I could barely budge the one for the SUV, so I couldn’t even say what the emissions were, and the lever for the electric car was a breeze. My question is this: How can you educate someone if they can’t even access the data because of their lack of strength? If I couldn’t move that SUV lever, do you think a child could?

Final Thoughts

Do we need to be better stewards of the planet? Yes.

Do we need to be thinking about being more efficient with the land and waters we have so that future generations can enjoy what we enjoy? Yes.

Do we need to be scared into it? Do we need to be misled into thinking things are worse than they are? No.

I think this new wing is worth a visit. The interactive technologies used are cool. However, be prepared to be virtually bludgeoned over the head with an “the sky is falling” eco-ideology.

The CO2 Lift — Why CO2 matters.
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