THE THREE PILLARS
Three big ideas are foundational to how science serves society in the 21st century. We must restore the biosphere, while we embrace new technology and industry, and simultaneously ensure no one is left behind.
RESTORE THE BIOSPHERE
Conservation includes habitat restoration, increasing the protection status of land and sea, and building robust conservation, monitoring, and enforcement plans for protected space.
BUILD THE FUTURE
The role of technology and industry in the 21st century is changing fast, including the amazing potential to benefit society, but also existential risks that threaten us all. S.T.E.A.M. education will provide society the tools to manage and mitigate the opportunities and threats the future will bring.
ELEVATE ALL PEOPLE
Equity in access to knowledge and resources underlies our belief that ALL people must thrive together. There are knowledge gaps due to poverty and the uneven distribution of resources. Decentralizing science centers from cities to small towns will reduce this divide.
THE SUCCESS OF THE CARNEGIE MODEL
A Carnegie Library is funded by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Between 1883 and 1929, 2,509 libraries were constructed worldwide, with 1,689 in the US, 660 in the UK and Ireland, and others in various countries. Carnegie initially focused on areas with personal connections, like Scotland and Pittsburgh, but later expanded funding. By 1919, almost half of the 3,500 US libraries were Carnegie libraries, with most requests for funding granted if they met his terms for operation and maintenance.
Carnegie would give grants to build buildings and buy books if local governments could show they:
Needed a public library
Had a site for the building
Would pay staff and maintain the library
Would use some public funds to run the library
Annually provide 10% of the cost of the library's construction to support its operation
Would make sure service was free for everyone
All Carnegie libraries built by 1920
REPLICATING THE CARNEGIE MODEL
By making nature and science centers as common and distributed as libraries, especially in small towns, we can stimulate a similar surge in science literacy as was seen with traditional literacy during the library expansion in the 19th and 20th centuries. This approach also promotes equal access to science resources and celebrates and preserves our cultural and natural diversity.
LIBRARIES = LITERACY
SCIENCE CENTERS = SCIENCE LITERACY
Public access to knowledge is essential to societal well-being and a thriving democracy. Studies show that science centers facilitate a "scientifically and technologically informed, engaged, and literate public" (Falk et al., 2016). In one study of libraries in small towns, patent applications increased by 7-11 percent in the 20 years following library construction (Berkes & Nencka, 2021). Science centers, when as abundant and distributed as libraries, will allow society to increasingly face the challenges ahead.
More libraries = increased science literacy and innovation
Studies show a link between literacy and access to libraries during childhood. Hachette Book Group's infographic reveals that states with more public libraries have lower illiteracy rates. The map uses yellow icons to show library density and red icons to show illiteracy rates. States with higher library density, like Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, have lower illiteracy rates.