Since 1995 Montreal’s Biosphere has served as an environmental education centre and tourist attraction for hundreds of thousands of visitors. The iconic geodesic dome structure, designed by Buckminster Fuller, is unique in North America. having started life as the United States pavilion at the 1967 World’s Fair.
When it re-opened as Biosphere in 1995 the displays focused on the aquatic ecosystems of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes but have today evolved into a more broadly based environmental museum with displays on air, water, biodiversity, climate change, sustainable development and more. Environment Canada, which operates the City-owned facility, claims that it is the only environment museum in North America.
Now a large coalition of groups and individuals from the environmental, environmental science, culture and museum communities have sent a letter protesting what they believe are Environment Canada’s plans to close the Biosphere or to turn it into an office building without public access. Environment Canada is stating that its plans for the Biosphere are not yet final but there is no indication that there will be opportunities for public input on the future plans for the building.
As the environmental groups say, this may be the last summer for visiting North America’s leading environmental museum.
Environment Canada’s web page about the Biosphere is at http://www.ec.gc.ca/biosphere/default.asp?lang=En&n=E012964B-1
The letter of protest regarding possible closure of the Biosphere can be seen (in French) at http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/science-et-technologie/379249/dernier-ete-pour-le-musee-de-l-environnement-a-la-biosphere