Watching the World Change through Victoria’s Museums Parks and Gardens
22 May 2019
This month, the United Nations announced that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history, driven in part by climate change.
Evidence of this is crystal clear in Victoria, with a new online story called Collections and Climate Change showing how the Victorian Government has been taking steps to understand climate change impacts through Victoria’s cultural and scientific treasures.
The documentary film and gallery, now live on the Victorian Government Culture Victoria portal, explores how the information gathered and stored by Museums Victoria, Parks Victoria and the Royal Botanic Gardens gives insight into local climate related shifts in human, plant and animal life.
Some of the biggest changes are happening underwater off Victoria’s coast. “On a big broad scale, we’ve changed the chemistry of our planet and how it works,” explains Kate Phillips, Senior Curator Science Exhibitions at Museums Victoria.
“One big response to warming oceans is that animals are moving,” says Ms Phillips. “Things that occurred in tropical waters in the past are actually coming further south.”
There is also change in Victoria’s alpine ranges. “We’re starting to get issues like the timing’s wrong,” says Dr Mark Norman, Chief Conservation Scientist, Parks Victoria.
“The snow’s melting early and the mountain pygmy possums are emerging two weeks before the Bogong moths come,” says Dr Norman, “so they don’t have the critical food source they need straight away.”
The living and static collections of Victoria help us understand and track these shifts, says Dr David Cantrill, Executive Director Science, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. “You can start studying the impact of those sorts of things through time, and that’s one of the great uses of the collections.”
The film and digital gallery documents many examples of the ways in which collections illuminate our understanding of climate change across the different domains of human life and culture, biology, zoology and rocks, fossils and minerals.
It is free for the community to watch, show and share at cv.vic.gov.au .
Lucinda Horrocks, producer, Wind & Sky Productions, P:03 4310 6667, E: firstname.lastname@example.org