Luke Meyers cared deeply about our world. He saw the threat of global warming and dedicated himself to combating it by educating his community and planning a career working on climate change mitigation.
Although Luke had only 15 years on this Earth, his passion and ideas impacted thousands of people. On one day alone in November 2019, hundreds of people swept Greenwich Point Park clean of trash during the Live Like Luke beach clean-up.
The summer of 2019, Luke volunteered at the Bruce Museum Seaside Center. As a Greenwich High sophomore, Luke did not sign up in order to hang out on the beach or fulfill a community service requirement. He volunteered to raise awareness of environmental issues, and quickly planned a project to determine the level of microplastics in the sand at Greenwich Point Park.
Last year, Luke contacted the Make a Wish Foundation about installing a climate change education center at the Bruce Museum Seaside Center. People at the Bruce Museum said they were moved beyond words to be part of Luke’s selfless wish. With Luke’s input, and advice from his mentor at the Environmental Action Club at Greenwich High, they crafted a plan. Luke decided the exhibit should focus on sea level rise, the impacts on Long Island Sound marine life, such as how native species like lobsters are being affected by warming waters, and most important, the exhibit should inform people on what actions they can take to halt global warming.
Together, an interactive, multimedia exhibit station was designed that will have a permanent home at the Bruce Museum Seaside Center at the Innis Arden Cottage in Greenwich Point Park.
One component of the digital interactive exhibit will show Greenwich Point and the surrounding area today, and then let visitors see how sea level is predicted to rise under scenarios where we either keep our carbon emissions steady (“business as usual”), make minor cuts, or make bold choices. They will see that without the most drastic measures, the waters of Long Island Sound will be lapping over the threshold of the Seaside Center before the century is out.
“At the Seaside Center, where Luke volunteered, we are close to sea level and thus close to ground zero for climate change,” said Dr. Daniel Ksepka, Curator of Science in a release. “Sea level rise can seem abstract, but when you are standing literally a stone’s throw from the ocean, it will make the reality of what we are facing more startling.”
“Of course, showing the effects of climate change doesn’t really make a difference unless we convince people to do something about it,” Ksepka added. “Luke was passionate about making a difference, and so a major part of the exhibit will be visualizing the impact of actions in reducing carbon emissions.”
Dr. Ksepka said many people don’t have a good grasp on how effective different choices like reducing flying and driving, installing solar panels, turning the thermostat down – or up depending on the season – and even diet are on minimizing carbon footprints.
Working with the Meyers family and our community partners, the Bruce Museum has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds for the Luke’s Wish Climate Change Exhibit. As a part of Sustainable CT’s Community Match Fund, the fundraising campaign will be hosted by Patronicity.com and the first $15,000 in donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Sustainable CT. The website url is https://www.patronicity.com/LukesWish, and the goal is to raise $26,500 by January 15, 2021, to complete the exhibit and support future Seaside Center climate-change educational programs. Luke’s Wish has already received a number of meaningful gifts from members of the Bruce Museum and others from across the community.
Sustainable CT is an initiative of Eastern Connecticut State University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy that inspires, supports, and recognizes sustainability action by towns and cities statewide. The Community Match Fund — supported by the Smart Seed Fund, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and the Connecticut Green Bank — is an innovative funding program that supports community-led sustainability initiatives.
“Sustainable CT is thrilled to be collaborating with the Bruce Museum, the Town of Greenwich, and community donors to support the development of this new interactive, public exhibit on climate change,” said Lynn Stoddard, Executive Director of Sustainable CT. “This educational exhibit and many other actions taken by Sustainable CT communities are helping people understand the monumental challenges of climate change and, more importantly, inspiring them to take action.”
“Every summer, the Seaside Center gets roughly 10,000 visits,” said Kate Dzikiewicz, Science Curatorial Associate and Seaside Center Manager. “We want to let Luke’s vision speak to all of them through this exhibit, multiplying the enormous impact he has already made. Please help us make Luke’s wish come true.”