The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach received a high honor last week as California Governor Jerry Brown bestowed it with the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award.
The aquarium is the first museum, zoo or aquarium to receive what the California Environmental Protection Agency calls the most prestigious environmental honor in the state of California. The award recognizes those that protect the environment and conserve California's resources.
Since 2002, when it developed a new master plan, the aquarium said it has demonstrated environmental and conservation concepts through new exhibits and education programs that empower the millions of visitors it reaches every year.
In 2007, he aquarium became the first in the United States to certify its greenhouse gas emissions and was named a "Climate Action Leader" by the Climate Action Registry. In addition, the aquarium is the first in the nation to build a carbon-neutral building on its premises.
"Our master plan demonstrates that greening can be sustainable from a business perspective," Douglas Otto, the aquarium's board director said in a release.
According to aquarium representatives, attendance at the facility has also been on the rise with a 26 percent increase in annual attendance. However, while attendance is rising, the aquarium said they have still managed to decrease their carbon footprint by 20 percent and their water usage by 30 percent.
"It is by building relationships between and among people that we can deal with the most pressing environmental issues," Aquarium of the Pacific president Jerry Schubel said in the release. "Our goal is to connect people to nature through entertaining, educational, and empowering programs and exhibits.”