Earth Day at the Minnesota Science Museumby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Today is Earth Day and the Minnesota Science Museum is marking the date with a new exhibit that shows how humans affect the Earth.
Patrick Hamilton produced the "Future Earth" exhibit, which attempts to show that humans have surpassed nature as dominant agents of global change.
"There is tremendous potential if we realize that humans are now the architects and engineers of this planet. And that the future will be determined by human decision either by accident or by design, or by intent," Hamilton said.
The exhibit features a 6-foot diameter globe that display planetary data to that show how humans are changing the planet at an unprecedented rate. In another section, visitors can mix carbon dioxide with seawater and see how the water's acidity rises.
The "Future Earth" exhibit also includes examples of geologic epochs gone by, including Minnesota's only complete wooly mammoth skull.
Hamilton says a great deal of news about the environment that people see tends to be about specific events, such as an oil spill, loss of arctic sea ice, or the extinction of a species.
"What we're trying to do with this exhibit is pull it all together so that people can kind of step back and realize that, yeah, we are really the dominant agents of change on this planet and we are the architects and engineers of our future. And what do we want that future to be?"
Interactive exhibits also allow visitors to see how a power grid works and what the atmosphere feels like.