My Experience at the Florida Museum of Natural History By Nilan Bhakta

The Florida Museum of Natural History has so much to see and understand that it would take multiple trips to truly appreciate everything that the museum has to offer. The butterfly garden is an incredibly peaceful sanctuary in which I could spend hours upon hours doing literally nothing but appreciating beauty and reflecting on myself. I enjoyed walking through the museum and it brought up a wide range of topics from the first organisms to inhabit the earth to modern day issues such as climate change.

Nature on Display

These are all photos of my experience inside the butterfly garden at the Florida Museum of Natural History. This exhibit appealed to me because although it was a man-made environment, I felt it was a great representation of the natural world. There were mudflats and a small creek allowing the ecosystem to thrive. I have never experience true nature such as this, because for the most part I am inside the city in which human architecture cuts into and shapes nature. Even when I have gone hiking, I have never really strayed off trail thus this was an experience that really captured my attention. I was able to see the natural beauty of the world and the plants, insects, and other life forms around us. In fact without them we humans would probably not even be around. In addition to the beautiful green colors of the plants and the vibrant colors of the butterflies, I enjoyed listening to the water move. It was a calming music to my ears and really cleared my mind of everything. I wish that I could study to the sound of a creek or river all the time. Finally, my favorite experience from the butterfly garden was seeing the butterflies sucking the nectar out of the bananas, grapefruits, and oranges. It reminded me that although humans and other creatures may be different, we all have the same basic needs. This realization helped me connect to nature and look at the world in a completely different perspective.

Nature and Ethics

This photo captures me trying to interact with the climate change exhibit, but either I could not figure out how to use it or it was broken. Nonetheless the exhibit represents a very important issue in the modern world, climate change. It is not only an ethical issue, but a political and economic issue, which makes finding a right answer incredibly difficult. There is scientific evidence that links human energy creation and usage through the burning of fossil fuels to an increase in global temperature. The increase in temperature is dangerous because a slight increase can cause sea levels to rise dramatically, impacting not only marine life, but terrestrial life as well. This leads to the question of whether we should control our emissions to stop or slow this from happening, but at the same time putting many companies out of business, or whether to do nothing and deal with the consequences when they potentially rise. This exhibit did not focus on the temperature rise, but instead linked climate change to a rise in allergen problems, thus there are many problems associated with the issue. In my opinion, fossil fuel emissions should be limited, especially with the growing efficiency of other types of energy sources such as solar, wind, and nuclear. I believe that it is our responsibility as humans to preserve the world for the next generation. After all we would want to leave our kids in good hands, without having to worry about such an issue. In addition, climate change due to human existence is causing an unnatural change in nature which has never happened before, and thus we will never know the long term consequences.

Nature and the Human Spirit

These are all images of my exploration of the fossil exhibits at the museum. Since I was a child I have always been fascinated with dinosaurs and the creatures that lived before us. I remember my parents always got me dinosaur fossils that I had to put together, but as I got older my fascination never really died. I still often wonder which theory of dinosaur extinction is actually true and whether humans would be able to survive such a catastrophic event. The fossils in these exhibits represented life forms that existed millions of years ago. We really don't know if they looked exactly like this, however, through research the bones were put together in a way that made the most sense. I am just shocked and amazed at the size of the creatures. Humans have not existed long enough to see such creatures and now all we have is fossils to understand their life and their existence. As I was walking through this exhibit and looking at all types of fossils and re-creations, I wondered how many different forms of life have and still do exist that we have not discovered yet. This sense of mystery is frightening to me because there is still so much of the world that we as humans do no completely understand, but at the same time it leaves us with room for discovery. The more that we discover about other life forms, the more knowledge that we will gain, and the better off and better prepared the human race will be in the future.

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