The Process of Building an Exhibit: Unnatural Disasters

Written by Kate Patterson, ESLLC 2017-2018

This quarter I had the opportunity to design and present an exhibit for the Anderson Academic Commons. The only requirement my group and I had was to structure the exhibit around sustainability and higher learning. We were given the freedom to choose topics that we were passionate about and present our ideas to the public. I got to work with trained researchers and professional exhibit creators. Through the process of creating the exhibit, not only did I learn more about sustainability, but I expanded my knowledge of how to research effectively and how to present topics to the public.

My group and I decided to combine our passion for climate change with our interest of natural disasters. I had done months of disaster relief after the flooding in Baton Rouge and after Hurricane Matthew. We had all seen the impact that natural disasters have on communities, and my group and I were interested to find out how climate change was affecting the severity and frequency of these devastating disasters.

Through our research we learned that the amount of greenhouse gases that humans are producing have caused the earth temperature to increase slightly over the last decade. This increase in temperature has set into effect severe storms, droughts, and fires all over the world. My group and I wanted the impact of humans on natural disasters to be the focus of our exhibit. For this reason, we decided to name the exhibit Unnatural Disasters: The Destructive Impact of Climate Change. Unnatural disasters put an emphasis on the fact that these storms, droughts, and fires are harsher than in the past due to humans having a direct effect on climate change.

Our exhibit is now hanging in the Anderson Academic Commons for all the students and faculty to view. We hope that those who pass by and read the exhibit take that time to reflect on their daily habits surrounding sustainability. We wanted to focus on the community impact of these disasters so that those reading the exhibits would realize the large impact that their ways of living have on a global scale and encourage them to become more sustainable. Unnatural disasters will continue to increase in frequency and severity unless we all start making progress towards a healthier and more sustainable earth.

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