Protect our Ecosystem, Take the #MyCarbonCyclePledge
April 18, 2022 | #MyCarbonCyclePledge
By Sarada Sangameswaran, Interpretive Educator
In October 2021, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden opened Carbon Cycle: An Earth Exhibit. The piece, created by artist W. Gary Smith, explores our coal mining past and our future through the artful use of natural materials found on our site. The exhibit is large, with its unique juxtaposition of logs and coal, encircled by a ring of bright new trees springing to life. It invites each visitor to explore the story of the Garden and create their own personal story through the exhibit.
The Garden’s story is intertwined with carbon throughout its history. Long before modern civilization, ancient forests were found on this land. Over time, they were buried and all the carbon-based life forms were transformed into coal. The carbon in the trees was sequestered in the earth until humans discovered this coal and started mining in the 1920’s. By the 1940’s, the mining process had intensified its effect on the land through strip mining. Entire forests and hillsides were decimated in the search for this fuel.
Extraction and use of coal and the burning of fossil fuels throughout the world has led to climate change, air pollution and land degradation. Climate change, with the rapid warming of the planet, and its associated floods, droughts, and fires, is the biggest challenge we face as a globe. As we release more carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, we change ancient weather patterns and cause human strife. However, we believe our past does not have to dictate our future. We can change and so can the planet.
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden inherited a degraded piece of land and is working hard to reverse the damage, creating a beautiful and inviting space for everyone to enjoy, learn from and find solace. Whether we are planting thousands of trees, remediating water or teaching people about native plants, we wish to inform our visitors about ways that we can live in harmony with the planet.
The Carbon Cycle exhibit has given us an opportunity to take this one step further. We invite you to join us in taking action to mitigate the impact of climate change on future generations by our own actions and examples. Each month, we will post an action that can help mitigate climate change. We would like you to embrace the action and to show us how you have incorporated it into your life. A single action can be a candle that can light more candles and create a movement.
What are you prepared to do to create a habitable world? The solutions are in our hands. Join us on this journey, take the #MyCarbonCyclePledge.
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden encourages you to take small steps toward reducing your personal carbon footprint. Read more about the carbon cycle, what the Garden is doing to reduce our carbon footprint, and take the #MyCarbonCyclePledge.