Renowned Scientists Urge Museums to Drop Climate-Denier Donors, BP Dumps ALEC
The Natural History Museum is a New York-based organization that provides online and mobile programming, and exhibits intended to "affirm the truth of science" and call attention to the "political /funding climate" in the science museum community. It has no multimillion-dollar signature building, expensive exhibits with benefactors' names next to them on gold plaques or an admission price that will set a family back $100. But it's taking aim at those science and natural history museums that do, questioning the integrity of accepting funding from donors with an interest in and history of refuting scientific research on issues like climate change—donors like the Koch Brothers of the fossil fuel-driven Koch Industries.
The group has issued an open letter to these museums from members of the scientific community, urging them to cut such ties.
It points to the Code of Ethics for Museums, adopted in 1991 by the Board of Directors of the American Alliance of Museums, which says, “It is incumbent on museums to be resources for humankind and in all their activities to foster an informed appreciation of the rich and diverse world we have inherited. It is also incumbent upon them to preserve that inheritance for posterity.”
"We are deeply concerned by the links between museums of science and natural history with those who profit from fossil fuels or fund lobby groups that misrepresent climate science," says the letter. "Museums are trusted sources of scientific information, some of our most important resources for educating children and shaping public understanding. We are concerned that the integrity of these institutions is compromised by association with special interests who obfuscate climate science, fight environmental regulation, oppose clean energy legislation and seek to ease limits on industrial pollution."
The letter points out that David Koch, one of the two billionaire Koch brothers whose big donations have funded climate-denying organizations, candidates and elected officials, is a major donor, exhibit sponsor and trustee at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
"David Koch’s oil and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries is one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States," the letter says. "When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge. This corporate philanthropy comes at too high a cost."
"We believe that the only ethical way forward for our museums is to cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry and funders of climate science obfuscation," it concludes.
The letter is signed by 36 scientists and members of the science community, including James Hansen, retired head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; James Powell, former president and director of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum; George Woodwell, founder of the Woods hole Research Center; and Kevin E. Trenberth, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Climate Analysis Section of National Center for Atmospheric Research, the lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) reports that led to IPCC winning the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Natural History Museum invites others with scientific credentials to sign. The public can also sign their petition at KickKochOff TheBoard.com. The Natural History Museum plans to deliver the signatures to the American Museum of Natural History before their annual board meeting in April. and to the Smithsonian board at their meeting in June and to ask the museums of remove Koch from their boards.
The museums deny that funders have any impact on their programming. Randall Kremer, director of public affairs for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told the New York Times that while Mr. Koch was the largest single donor to the museum, “He signed our standard gift agreement, which prohibits donor or sponsor involvement in content.”
Large institutional museums have a history of receiving funding from those who might have an interest in slanting how they cover climate issues. Oil company BP, for instance, is a corporate sponsor at Chicago's venerable Museum of Science and Industry, whose exhibits have long promoted a cheerful upbeat "better living through science" approach and whose interactive coal mine exhibit has been one of its major attractions since 1933.
But BP is doing a little image scrubbing of its own. It announced Monday that it has dropped its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the rightwing climate denying group that is heavily funded by—you guessed it!—the Koch brothers. BP gave no reason for dropping its membership, but it follows in the footsteps of Walmart, Amazon, McDonald's, Coca-Cola Co., Best Buy, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Wells-Fargo and dozens of others that have dropped their ALEC membership in response to pressure from activist groups.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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