November 15, 2021 (ATLANTA) - Georgia Aquarium has partnered with Georgia Natural Gas (GNG) to add a new interactive element in its southern sea otter exhibit. This innovative feature will include two interactive games that teach visitors the important role southern sea otters play in reducing carbon emissions while also learning how guests can help protect the environment by making their natural gas usage carbon neutral with the Greener Life® program from GNG.
Through these two interactive games, Georgia Aquarium guests can learn about this important ecological connection in a fun and engaging way. Guests can challenge themselves or go head-to-head with another player as they attempt to earn as many carbon offsets as possible by collecting sea urchins or knocking out carbon emissions within a time limit to save the kelp.
Kelp is a seaweed that thrives in cool coastal waters worldwide, often in groups called kelp forests. Kelp use photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide (CO₂) into biomass and can naturally reduce a substantial amount of carbon emissions. Kelp is anchored to the seafloor by a root-like structure called a holdfast. A large population of sea urchins can decimate a kelp forest by eating the holdfasts. By hunting sea urchins, sea otters keep the population in check – and in turn the kelp forests can thrive and continue to reduce carbon emissions through photosynthesis. Sea otters are considered a keystone species because of their role in keeping this underwater ecosystem in balance.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to reduce our environmental impact and to share that message with our guests,” said Michael Lewis, vice president of exhibits and projects at Georgia Aquarium. “This new interactive feature gives us the opportunity to educate guests on the importance of reducing carbon emissions in an engaging way. Working with Georgia Natural Gas to create this exhibit for our guests was a simple choice for us since we already partner with them to reduce our own emissions footprint using GNG’s Greener Life for Business program. Combining our message of promoting the conservation of wildlife species with the protection of our planet has given our guests a fun, hands-on addition to our popular sea otter exhibit.”
“Georgia Natural Gas is keenly focused on helping our customers reduce their carbon footprint, which is why we make it simple for them to offset emissions from their natural gas use with Greener Life,” said John Jamieson, vice president of retail operations at GNG. “Educating the public about the important role sea otters also play in reducing emissions by sponsoring this new exhibit at Georgia Aquarium is a natural extension of our work. We hope visitors will enjoy the exhibit and join us in the important work of protecting our environment."
The Greener Life program is an optional product from GNG that helps its consumers do their part for the environment and reduce their carbon emissions footprint. For all those participating, GNG uses Environmental Protection Agency standards to calculate the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from customers’ use of natural gas. GNG then purchases and retires carbon offsets to balance the impact of those customers’ emissions. The greenhouse gas emissions being offset by the Greener Life program are those associated with the combustion of natural gas at the point of consumption only, and do not include lifecycle emission that occur during extraction, production, or delivery.
Visit Georgia Aquarium to check out this new interactive installation in their southern sea otter exhibit and to learn more about the importance of reducing carbon emissions and protecting this crucial species. Residential consumers looking to lessen their environmental impact can visit gng.com/greenerlife.
Georgia Natural Gas is the leading natural gas provider in Georgia and part of SouthStar Energy Services. SouthStar is owned by Southern Company Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). SouthStar also operates as Ohio Natural Gas, Florida Natural Gas, Maryland Energy, Pennsylvania Energy, Grand Rapids Energy (in Michigan), and in other parts of the Southeast as SouthStar Energy Services. SouthStar’s subsidiaries in Illinois operate as Illinois Energy and Illinois Energy Solutions. For more information, visit www.southstarenergy.com
About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.3 million natural gas customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 666,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other businesses include investments in interstate pipelines and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit www.southerncompanygas.com
About Georgia Aquarium
Georgia Aquarium is a leading 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Atlanta, Ga. that is Certified Humane by the American Humane Association and accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Georgia Aquarium is committed to working on behalf of all marine life through education, preservation, exceptional animal care, and research across the globe. Georgia Aquarium continues its mission each day to inspire, educate, and entertain its millions of guests about the aquatic biodiversity throughout the world through its hundreds of exhibits and tens of thousands of animals across its seven major galleries. For more information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org