The discourse on global warming at 50graus.org is delivered in poignant actions, words and visual communication about our fears, understanding and hopes for the planet. One installation is such an eloquent voice in the effort to draw awareness to climate change that we, like many others, had to stop and take notice. Ice Penguins is an engaging display of one of the icons of a changing world. These frozen counterparts of the seabirds that have captured the attention of concerned global citizens were placed in a public square in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to alert people to global warming.
Scientists have estimated that the population of Antarctic emperor penguins has declined by 50 percent over the past 50 years. Increased air and sea temperatures have reduced Antartic sea ice resulting in reduced population in krill, one of the emperor penguin’s primary food sources. While ecosystem health factors many variables, a warming climate is the primary cause for the decline of this species.
The Ice Penguins of Sao Paulo evoke this scenario in a tangible setting. Quietly posed with the endearing mannerisms of emperor penguins, these small portents of global climate cause and effect make the plight of the Antarctic emperor penguin clear – as their habitat warms they will disappear.