Earth: The Operator’s Manual

2019, Nature, Environment  -  54 min Leave a Comment
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In much the same way as an operator’s manual gives you important information regarding your car or refrigerator, Earth Science can do the same for the planet. To illustrate the evidence, geologist Richard Alley takes viewers on a trip around the globe telling the story of Earth’s climate history and our relationship with fossil fuels. The purpose of the film is to offer sustainable solutions for a healthier planet.

This three-episode PBS documentary series was produced in high definition and taped worldwide in Xi’an, Shanghai and Beijing (China); São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Ceara and Iguaçu Falls (Brazil); Marrakesh and the Sahara (Morocco); Seville (Spain); high on the heavily-crevassed snowfield of the Franz Josef Glacier, “Hell’s Gate” hot springs and geothermal reserve, Rotorua (New Zealand); New Orleans, the California coast, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the Algodones Dunes, near Yuma, Arizona; the National Renewable Energy Lab, and the National Ice Core Lab in Denver, Colorado.

Humans have always needed energy. But what has become critical for our survival these days is how we use that energy. Earth’s population is now nearing 10 billion and civilization depends on vast amounts of energy to function. 80% of what’s used worldwide is provided by fossil fuels. Although these fuels have helped billions of us live better than we ever have before, still a vast amount of people have no access to electricity.

It has been a while since scientists have discovered the heat-trapping influence of carbon dioxide. Today, atmospheric CO2 is increasing, temperatures are rising, and glaciers and ice sheets are melting. The evidence is clear: Earth’s climate is warming and there will be consequences that include rising sea levels, food and water scarcity, rapid increase in the spread of disease, and mass migration.

The military is the United States’s single largest user of energy and it recognizes that its use of fossil fuels has to change. Just imagine: the Pentagon uses over 300,000 barrels of oil each day. Both the Army and the Marines are looking into how to decrease the number of convoys trucking in fuel and water. By 2016, the Navy plans to have what it calls a “great green fleet” which is a complete carrier group running on renewable fuels. The goal is to cut usage of fossil fuels by 50% by the year 2020. Today’s technology has made a start towards this end and the nations of the world are joining hands in an effort to save our planet.