Global climate change as seen by zoo and aquarium visitors

A report from the Chicago Zoological Society investigates the ways in which zoos and aquariums can effectively incorporate visitors’ values and emotional connections with animals into educational resources that inspire climate action.


Zoos and aquariums can be important institutions in climate change education by making nature accessible and providing strategies for tackling environmental challenges.


The Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network (CliZEN) conducted a national survey with fifteen United States zoos and aquariums on attitudes and behaviors.

The survey found that zoo and aquarium visitors:

  • are receptive audiences for climate change education

  • want to do more to address climate change, yet perceive barriers to doing so, particularly ignorance about what behaviors will be effective

  • provide visitors with socially supportive contexts for discussions about animal exhibits and connections to nature

  • have access to and experience with virtual social networks and other Internet technology platforms

  • concern about climate change and participation in behaviors to address climate change systematically varies with their sense of connection with animals

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