Last night we had our Chicago book event at the Shedd Aquarium. This place is amazing! The Shedd's been around since 1930, housed in a glorious building amidst several of Chicago's other premier museums. Like so many of the city's culture leaders, the aquarium has been aggressively pursuing a sustainability agenda in the last few years, with a task force dedicated to seeking out ways to improve the facility's green performance and educate visitors about their efforts and the possibilities for the future.
They have a challenging job, with exhibits that require special lighting in order to maintain the health and wellbeing of the creatures inside. But the staff continues to look for innovative ways to improve efficiency and conserve resources while upholding a high standard of care for their animals. The place is chock-full of CFLs and has a green roof. It also runs a program similar to Monterey's Seafood Watch called Right Bite, which provides easy-to-read guides to sustainable seafood choices and the current state of the world's fish populations. The program has been getting a lot of positive attention in the press of late as a leader in education and outreach around ocean food sources.
Rachel Bergren-Gross, Director of Conservation, was unbelievably generous in helping to make the Worldchanging event happen, gave us a fantastic private tour of the place after hours. It's remarkable how passionate she and her colleagues are about the marine life (and reptiles) there, and how many stories each one has. We met Nickel, a rescued sea turtle who'd been rehabilitated after a boat hit her, the as-yet-unnamed baby Baluga whale, and -- perhaps best of all -- Faust, the huge, tank-like Kimodo Dragon who is visiting the Shedd temporarily.
We're tremendously grateful to the people at Shedd who hosted us and provided such a great place to celebrate our book. It was an honor to bring our supporters and allies there for an evening of conversation about what's worldchanging in Chicago and beyond. Look for more reports on sustainability in the Chicago region on our new local blog, and if you live in Chicago and want to write for your city's Worldchanging site, drop us a line!