Science Centers at COP21

28 November,2015

ASTC is organizing science center networks to participate in the upcoming COP21 climate conference in Paris. On behalf of the European Network for Science Centres & Museums (ECSITE), the Latin American and Caribbean Network for the Popularization of Science and Technology (RedPop), the South African Association of Science & Technology Centres (SAASTEC), and the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), we have created two events that will give a voice to youth who have taken part in Youth Climate Summit programs based on the model developed by the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, New York. The youth have discussed concrete plans to save energy and mitigate climate change during the program and will share them during the COP21 events. However, ASTC wants to go beyond the presence in Paris and give all science centers the chance to be a part of these events. Here’s what you can do to be involved:

Join the live, interactive webcasts and create your own local eventcop21-sci-cent-network-logos

On November 30 at 8:00 a.m. ET (1:15 p.m. in Paris and 12:15 p.m. GMT), youth from Mundo Nuevo in La Plata, Argentina, Heureka in Vantaa, Finland, Kwazulu Natal Science Center in Umhlanga, South Africa, The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, New York, the Michigan Science Center in Detroit, and the winner of the science center contest in India will present their climate change plans to a panel of experts. The panel, made up of COP21 negotiation participants, will critique the plans and discuss how they relate to the negotiations with the youth. This event will be streamed live so youth from science centers around the world can take part. Online viewers will be able to submit questions and comments through Twitter with the hashtag #WorldCOP21. This event is made possible thanks to the support of the White House, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

by_universcienceOn December 3 at 10:00 a.m. ET (3:00 p.m. in Paris and 2:00 p.m. GMT), a similar event will take place hosted by Universcience. Participating science centers will be connected online to COP21 participants and a local audience. This event will also be streamed live online (link forthcoming), and ASTC would like to thank Universcience for the support in putting this event together. Universcience is also hosting Climate, the 360° exhibition to coincide with COP21. As part of this exhibition, Universcience worked with several local schools and education officials to create a climate negotiation simulation exercise, the result of which will be shown during the event on December 3. See a sneak peek.

Science centers are invited to watch these events and stream them live at their institutions. It is also a wonderful opportunity to create local events that will connect your institution to a large, international event. For example, your institution can host a related exhibition, have a “science café” event after the live stream, collect questions from your audience for a later discussion, or start planning to host your own Youth Climate Summit.

Organize a mock negotiation session

Your institution can host a climate negotiation simulation using the World Climate Exercise tools made available through ASTC’s partnership with Climate Interactive. This exercise, development by Climate Interactive and MIT, allows groups to play the role of climate negotiators from developed, in development, and emerging countries with the goal to make decisions that will allow global warming to stay under 2⁰ C by the end of the century. The data participants use for the exercise is the same used by the United Nations, and participants can see the effects of their actions in real time, allowing for in-depth discussions throughout the exercise. You can find more information and download the necessary materials here.

Share your activities

Let the science center field know what your institution is doing around youth engagement for climate action by sharing your planned events through this online form. The events collected will be posted online and shared with media contacts and through social media. If you have a significant project that you think could become a case study to be shared with a larger audience, please complete this form. Remember, the more science center activities we collect, the stronger the case we can make for our field as contributors to climate action.

Questions? Contact Walter Staveloz at or (202) 783-7200 x118.

Source: ASTC