America’s first-ever museum dedicated exclusively to the environment could find a home in Fort Worth thanks to local community leaders in research, science, and education, as well as established business owners and entrepreneurs. At the heart of the EcoPlex InterNational Environmental Complex will be the National Environmental Museum, which will feature engaging exhibits designed to help visitors learn about environmental challenges and what everyone can all do to solve them.
Professor Becky Johnson is an EcoPlex advisory council member. She teaches several courses focused on the environment at TCU, and she believes that Fort Worth is already leading the change when it comes to water treatment and recycling programs. Johnson says, “My job is to bring the real world into the classroom, and that includes not only how the science is applied, but also how you make the economic case for environmental reforms. Being able to collaborate with other applied scientists to solve some of the world’s ‘wicked problems’ is something that I could not pass up!”
EcoPlex will have world-class research labs, and collaborative workspaces where science and industry can meet and develop ecologically safe products. Johnson says, “I’ve spent my 30-year career trying to clean up the environmental messes that we’ve made. I realized that we should be preventing them rather than just cleaning them up, so that lead me into the compliance realm…Once you achieve compliance, you can start working toward true sustainability – using less resources, using less hazardous substances, creating less waste, finding ways to recycle or reuse scrap/waste, etc. The idea is that if we can still have a robust economy while consuming fewer resources, we have saved those resources, making them available for subsequent generations. EcoPlex is truly a place where all of those ideas, practices, and results can be shared and adapted to virtually any process.”
Johnson believes that TCU definitely has a seat at the table for this ambitious project and is a leader in global education. She says, “Imagine the outcome if all the institutions of higher education in DFW came together to collaborate on this project, and then continued those collaborations once EcoPlex is a reality. It would make Texas, and specifically Fort Worth/ TCU the epicenter of sustainability in the U.S.”