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Sunday, April 10 at 10 p.m. – Earth: The Operator's Manual

(Rochester, NY)Earth: The Operators’ Manual, a new kind of program on climate change that presents an objective, accessible assessment of the Earth’s problems and possibilities that will leave viewers informed, energized and optimistic premieres on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11) Sunday, April 10 at 10 p.m. Host Richard Alley – a geologist, contributor to the United Nations panel on climate change and former oil company employee leads the audience on this engaging one-hour special about climate change and sustainable energy.

Earth: The Operators’ Manual (ETOM for short) is a rigorously researched, beautifully filmed and ultimately uplifting antidote to the widespread “doom and gloom” approach to climate change. The program opens with a thorough grounding in Earth’s climate history and an overview of the current dilemmas, but its main thrust is an upbeat assessment of our many viable sustainable energy options.

“Of course we share the best climate science, but we know today’s audiences want to see solutions, not just restatements of the problems,” says writer/director Geoff Haines-Stiles. To illustrate the evidence and the way forward, ETOM takes viewers on a High-Definition trip around the globe.

In New Zealand, the audience follows Richard Alley into a deep crevasse to understand how the advance and retreat of massive glaciers during Earth’s Ice Ages are tied to changing levels of carbon dioxide. In Denver, Colorado, we peer over his shoulder at the National Ice Core Lab to see how records of temperature and atmospheric composition trapped inside chunks of ancient ice conclusively demonstrate that today’s levels of CO2 are higher than at any time in the past 400,000 years, due largely to our burning of fossil fuels over the past several hundred years.

Then it’s on to locations where developments in sustainable energy are already proving it’s possible to do things differently. A solar power plant near Seville, Spain, will soon provide electricity to 200,000 homes  – promising news for the sunniest place in the world, the deserts of the U.S. Southwest, where solar energy could account for 80% of Earth’s current use. On the North Island of New Zealand, a geothermal generating station is a reliable source of carbon-free energy.

Pictured: DP Art Howard filming prototype wind and solar installations at the Army’s National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California.
Credit: Courtesy of Anne Belle Peevey


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.