Parking Lot Update

The UNC-owned Morehead parking lot is under construction. Weekday visitors must pay using ParkMobile (Zone Code 4468) or the Pay Station near our iguana. For more info, go to our Plan A Visit page.

Stay Green to Breathe Clean


BY AMEYA JINNURI

CHAPEL HILL, NC (May 17, 2024)—Recently, climate change has become a more pressing matter in the minds of not just Americans but those across the globe. Climatologists are searching for methods to slow climate change and reduce its impact. With these global rises in temperature, animals are being displaced from their homes, glaciers are melting, and even the quality of life for us humans is progressively becoming worse.

For Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s February Teen Science Café, Dr. Kathie Dello came and spoke to us about climate change. Rather than the standard presentation style, Dr. Dello instead answered teenagers’ questions about our specific role and the severity of the climate crisis in North Carolina. Before kicking off the Cafe, we had our monthly pizza social for teenagers to interact with one another and partake in our activity. This month’s activity involved using infrared radiation detectors on different objects, seeing which object gives off the most radiation, along with observing the sun and its invisible parts.

After a half-hour of the activity, we headed downstairs to the Morehead Planetarium Science Stage to start this month’s program. Dr. Dello is the state’s climatologist and serves as the Director of the North Carolina State Climate Office, working alongside agencies, farmers, planters, and all people who are concerned about the climate in North Carolina. When asked what the most challenging part of her job was, Dr. Dello stated that communicating with people about the climate was very difficult due to common misconceptions citizens hold about climate change. With the rise of social media platforms, spreading these misconceptions has become quite easy.

In addition to communicating with people, Dr. Dello and her team use climate models to predict the climate for the future, publishing a climate change report in 2020. Some of the largest indicators of climate change observed were the much hotter temperatures during the summertime and the increased humidity throughout the year, leading to the muggy conditions that nobody enjoys.

A stream with orange, yellow and green trees in the background.
Jeff Dewitt / Unsplash

Some of the steps that Dr. Dello mentioned in reducing our impact on climate change and helping the environment included

  1. Finding alternative energy sources is becoming more possible with the development of wind farms along the coast and solar power throughout the state.
  2. Finding ways to further develop public transportation in NC to reduce car usage.
  3. Recycling and reusing. Although this may seem obvious, only 32% of Americans recycle and use renewed products, which would reduce the amount of emissions we put out into the environment.

Although all of these methods may seem quite obvious to some, if a majority of Americans adopt these habits, we will be able to reduce our emissions and our impact on the climate and the environment by a significant amount. This would lead to the extended longevity of our planet.

To get teens involved, five teenagers from Morehead’s own Teen Leadership Board were sent to the North Carolina Youth Climate Summit at the Museum of Life and Science, where they developed a climate action plan for our Teen Science Café program. Morehead’s Climate Summit team proposed activities and widespread education of the youth regarding climate change, as the youth is the future of America. To me, our main goal is to educate those who may not know as much about climate change and its drastic effects, and by educating them, inspire them to take action and make changes within their own lives.

Here at Morehead, we hope to ignite the love for science within others so they may someday be able to share the passion that the young people on the Teen Advisory Board share. Hosting cafes is one of the many ways we try to spread scientific knowledge, and these aren’t just for the youth. There is the Carolina Science Cafe, UNC Science Expo, and many other events you can attend to learn more about the topics that interest you.

Our cafes are held on the third Friday of every month during the school year, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and we would love to see you there!

Ameya Jinnuri is a junior on the Morehead Planetarium Teen Science Cafe Youth Leadership Board. He has a deep passion for science and specifically medicine and aspires to publish more work in the future.