Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet

Take a field trip to Uptown for colorful lessons in sustainability

Discovery Place Kids Huntersville

Field trip time! That’s right, our Stay at Home Science lesson for the week has you leaving your home and heading out for an adventure.

The Cool Globes public art exhibition on display in Uptown showcases 35 globe structures that each teach us ways to incorporate sustainability into our lives. The majority of them are located throughout an eight-block radius, offering plenty of ability to keep your distance from others while learning some valuable lessons.

So grab your masks, and let’s go check out this free exhibition!

Where to start

You’ll find a handful of these globes located just outside of Discovery Place Science, on both the North Tryon Street and Sixth Street sides of the Museum. It’s a great starting point for a walking tour. If you park in the Discovery Place parking garage, head toward the Sixth Street entrance of the Museum to encounter your first globe.

Called “Wave Power,” this globe focuses on the power of ocean waves and using them as a source of renewable energy. The constant presence of waves allows countries with large coastlines and strong winds to produce five percent or more of their electricity from wave power. The harnessing of this power has the potential to displace tons (literally!) of carbon dioxide emissions that would otherwise be produced by conventional power plants.

Keep walking toward North Tryon Street and you will discover local artist Britt Flood’s globe. It explores innovative sustainability, pointing out that the interconnectedness of our world underscores the need to take collective action, no matter how small, to address global challenges like climate change.

At the corner of Sixth and North Tryon streets, you’ll spot a globe buzzing with the message of conservation. The “Bee Mindful” globe’s honeycomb pattern is a visual representation of the critical role honeybees play in agriculture. The globe shares ways we can have an impact, too, from buying locally grown, organic products to planting pollinator-friendly plants and community gardens.

Follow along the perimeter of the Museum on North Tryon Street to get to a globe emphasizing the impact cars have on the environment. The “Under Pressure” globe reminds people that regular tune-ups addressing elements such as properly inflated tires, using the right motor oil and maintaining clean air filters can increase a vehicle’s fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent – and save thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Next, you’ll spot a globe created by Charlotte artist Jackie London. The “Sustainable Textiles” globe pays homage to the Carolinas’ long history of textile and furniture manufacturing while sharing the many innovations that have been made to increase the sustainability of textiles. One such method is to create new recycled yarns, which often come from post-consumer recycled items like water bottles.

Not too far away, is a globe created by Charlotte artist Rosalia Weiner, whose “Mother of Invention” mural is also featured on the Museum’s façade along Sixth Street. The globe maintains a laser-like focus on recycling, specifically around contact lenses. With more than 45 million contact lens wearers in the United States, discarded contacts result in nearly 22 metric tons of discarded plastic each year. Proper disposal of contact lenses can prevent them unintentionally ending up in our oceans.

Coming full circle

Keep going on your walking tour by continuing along North Tryon up to 11th Street to find more globes, including one in front the Charlotte Ballet Academy. Then, wrap around to walk along the other side of North Tryon where you’ll find more globes around the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library, Bank of America Plaza and back across the street in front of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

An added bonus to this national exhibition is the inclusion of seven globes created by local artists. In addition to the three locally created globes featured outside of Discovery Place Science, be on the lookout for these globes by Charlotte artists:

  • “United Fingerprints” by Norma Gely

“United Fingerprints” focuses on connecting to nature and inspiring a stronger emotional bond with our surroundings. From the concentric circles of our solar system and the rings of a tree to the patterns of our fingerprints, the colorful spirals of nature connect us all.

  • “Ditch the Drive, Rock the Ride” by Rosalie Grubb with assistance from Elisa Sanchez

When it comes to biking, Charlotte is on a roll. Grubb’s globe emphasizes the use of biking to improve the quality of our atmosphere as well as economic mobility and aesthetic appeal.

  • “Modern Problems and Modern Solutions from Children” by Trinity Episcopal School Climate Justice Group with Jen Rankey-Zona

A true group effort, this globe is all about listening to the children. Working with their teacher, Jen Rankey-Zona, the student group merged all of its sustainability ideas into one comprehensive design. The globe covers topics including renewable energy, food waste, single-use plastics as well as accountability and responsibility and listening to scientific research.

  • “Don’t Cook the Planet” by Max Dowdle

The carbon footprint of food (or “foodprint”) is on full display on this globe as it examines the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced through growing, rearing, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking and disposing of the foods on our plates. It also shares some easy ways to cutdown your own “foodprint.”

Learn more about the Cool Globes exhibition here.


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