EARTH - The Operators' Manual

Project: Research project

Project Details


The purpose of this project is to develop a 'user's guide' to the present and projected energy resources of our planet and the relationship to climate change. It will prototype and evaluate new ways of providing the public with the information and tools to make wiser choices about powering homes, schools, businesses, and communities.

The project uses a hybrid model of science communication that includes video, in-person presentations, and Web 2.0 social networking. National PBS broadcasts of three hour long programs will reach large audiences influencing the understanding of climate change in measurable ways. Events at four science centers and natural history museums located across the country will explore how increased knowledge of Earth Science informs behavior. The project's social networking tools and resources will motivate and support accessible real-world activities. The multiple PBS broadcasts of the hour long programs over three years could potentially reach an audience of 10 million. Internet users accessing the short videos, authoritative information, and blogs could reach 200,000 to 500,000 per month; the museum visitors attending the live presentations of researchers could reach approximately 80,000-100,000 over the duration of the project.

The core project team includes Richard Alley, chair of the National Academy of Sciences panel on Abrupt Climate Change, who will host the television programs. Andy Revkin, author and science journalist for The New York Times, will be a key project advisor and co-host for some of the television programs. Outreach partners include science centers across the nation and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. The project will leverage existing NSF-supported projects such as the Future Earth Initiative led by the Science Museum of Minnesota and ASTC's Communicating Climate Change.

Rockman Et Al will evaluate the project impacts working from front-end to summative stages to understand the reactions of media, online, and on-site users. Proposed project impacts include increasing participants' understanding of how the Earth's system is affected by human uses of energy and the impact of those energy uses on climate. Other impacts include changes in attitude and behavior affecting individual uses of energy. Evaluations will be conducted with TV show viewers as well as science center and website visitors using quasi-experimental, quantitative, and qualitative study designs.

Effective start/end date9/15/098/31/14


  • National Science Foundation: $3,074,957.00


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