By Lance Cutrer, Museum of Discovery and Science
In the face of rising environmental challenges, South Florida has become a hotbed for sustainability and resilience initiatives. From comprehensive regional plans like the third Southeast Florida Regional Climate Action Plan (RCAP 3.0) to localized efforts such as the Broward Climate Action Plan and Miami’s Back Bay Study, the region has witnessed meticulous planning aimed at fortifying communities against the impacts of climate change.
Recent findings from the Florida Climate Resilience Survey, conducted by Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies, indicate a positive shift in public sentiment. Floridians are not only invested in the topic of climate change but also favor increased government intervention to address its effects.
These findings reflect the culmination of hard work and dedication by policymakers, environmentalists and communities striving to create a more resilient and sustainable South Florida. However, critical questions arise: How well informed is the average South Florida resident about these ongoing initiatives? Do they fully grasp the extent of work happening within local governments, nonprofit organizations and universities? Do they possess the knowledge and tools to actively contribute to climate action?
Addressing this need for awareness and education is the Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS), a pivotal player in the South Florida community. Recognizing the importance of closing the gap between climate policy and public understanding, MODS was designated as the Hub for Resilience Education by the Community Foundation of Broward. This initiative seeks to unite the diverse stakeholder groups engaged in critical climate change work across the region.
MODS envisions the Hub as a collaborative platform where voices from various sectors can come together to share successes, avoid duplication of efforts and promote a unified approach to resilience and sustainability. More than just a convener, the Hub aims to empower individuals and communities through comprehensive education and training programs focused on sustainability and resilience. By providing the public with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions, MODS hopes to catalyze grassroots action and community involvement.
Through the Hub, MODS is committed to presenting cutting-edge scientific concepts linked to coastal resilience and climate change. By fostering a creative environment that inspires innovative thought, MODS aims to spotlight innovations and contribute to the burgeoning resilience sector in South Florida. The Hub’s focus extends beyond traditional education, embracing workforce development, promoting entrepreneurship and stimulating economic vitality in areas directly addressing climate challenges.
At the center of the Hub lies a transformative permanent exhibit at the museum, currently in the design phase and set to open in 2025. This exhibit will connect guests with climate action, providing an immersive experience that educates and engages. By making climate change tangible and relatable, MODS seeks to inspire a sense of responsibility and action among its 500,000 annual visitors.
MODS’ Hub for Resilience Education stands on the foundation of the museum’s longstanding commitment to institutional sustainability and adherence to green building practice. Leveraging the trust that society places in museums, particularly science centers, MODS positions itself as a highly credible source of information. This trust is supported by research from the American Alliance of Museums and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, highlighting the public’s confidence in science news originating from museums.
MODS is not embarking on a journey toward a more sustainable, resilient and just future for the museum alone. Instead, it is extending an invitation to the entire South Florida community, especially to practitioners actively engaged in addressing climate change. If you are one such practitioner and wish to learn more about the Hub for Resilience Education, please reach out to email@example.com.
MODS is committed to ensuring that as many individuals as possible join them on this transformative journey, fostering a community that is not only informed but empowered to actively shape a sustainable future for South Florida.
Lance Cutrer is the director of environmental sustainability at the Museum of Discovery and Science. He is an education and sustainability professional with expertise in ecology, wildlife and fisheries management and primary/secondary education.