Narrative: Ocean Acidification
Additional considerations for tailoring your presentation
Narrative: Ocean Acidification
Additional Considerations

There are at least two places in this narrative where you may want to adapt the content to your own institution or region.

  • Slide 2: Seattle Solar Installation. You may wish to substitute your own institution or city’s fossil fuel reduction initiative here for a solid local focus to hook your audience.
  • Slide 6: Seattle CO2 Data. This slide may be an opportunity to feature research partnerships at your institution or in your region. If you choose to substitute another graph, keep the graph simple and easy to read. Interpret the data so that it provides a clear link to fossil fuel use reductions.
  • Slide 7: Species Impacted by Ocean Acidification. You may wish to insert a different piece here to discuss local or global OA impacts if your institution is not located in the Pacific Northwest.

Here are some notes to keep in mind when crafting content for each of these sections of the narrative:

  • Think about examples of fossil fuel reduction solutions that are relevant to your institution or region. Is there a municipal or state renewable energy initiative in your area? Does your institution use alternative forms of energy for part or all of your operating needs? Is there an opportunity for local residents to participate in a renewable energy initiative through your local energy company or via civic action?
  • Offer collective solutions, not individual actions. The common solutions we hear from visitors or the media are at an individual level—changing light bulbs, vampire electronics, etc. These lead people to think that they’ve done their one action and now they are done, or question how can that small action really help the large problem, so is it even worth it? Telling inspiring stories where people come together to act as a group is the key. Things happening across neighborhoods, institutions, cities, and regions inspire the “we” and activate the citizen identity.
  • Think about ways to scale up what you are asking visitors to do to be a part of the solution. For example, rather than suggesting they ride the bus instead of driving their car to work, ask them to support local initiatives to improve access for all citizens to use public transit.
  • Make sure that the solution you offer matches the scale of the problem being addressed. Ocean acidification is a global scale issue, so we need to offer solutions that are bigger than simple individual actions in order to make our audience feel that they can make a worthwhile contribution.
  • Make sure the solution is accessible to visitors. Asking everyone to trade in their vehicle for a hybrid or electric model is probably unrealistic. Asking them to support initiatives to improve public transit options in their community is more achievable.
Impacts of OA:
  • What impacts of ocean acidification are affecting your local community now, or what impacts are projected for the future?
  • If your institution is not located near the water, do you have an exhibit that represents a species or habitat that is being impacted by ocean acidification (e.g., tropical coral reef, larval organisms, fresh-water mollusks, oysters, etc.)? Think about how you can bring in a reference to that exhibit. Identify the impacts that location or habitat is facing from ocean acidification in this narrative to make it relevant to visitors at your institution who are observing that exhibit.
  • Try to focus on one specific impact rather than a broad selection of impacts. Keep the discussion of impacts as straightforward as possible.
  • Avoid a crisis tone, which can make your audience feel that the problem is too big and there is nothing we can really do about it, so why bother?
  • Make sure that you have linked the impacts of ocean acidification clearly to the cause of OA (burning of fossil fuels). This will allow you to make a strong case for why your presented solution (reduction of fossil fuel use) will help to alleviate those impacts.
Rhetorical Questions:

The scripted version of this narrative includes many rhetorical "bridging" questions. Consider your presentation location and style. Some questions may be modified to engage audience participation.

Suggested Props:
  • Shell biofacts
  • Solar panel model or renewable energy solution model
  • Puppets of animals with shells or calcareous body parts
  • Small exhibit with shelled animals for reference
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