Earth the Operators' Manual

Energy Quest USA and Powering the Planet premiered April 2012.
EARTH: The Operators' Manual premiered April 2011.

About the Program

Around the globe, people are looking for ways to save money by conserving energy at home. Every day, ordinary people are showing that the politicians on Capitol Hill don't need to agree on climate change in order for us to take concrete steps to cut our carbon emissions. This community of pragmatists is on full display in EARTH: The Operators' Manual, the critically acclaimed documentary on climate change and sustainable energy solutions, which returns to PBS for Earth Day accompanied by two new specials, Energy Quest USA and Powering the Planet.

EARTH: The Operators Manual

Series Trailer

Aired: 2011-04-10 12:00:00 0:30 Expires: 04/13/11 Rating: NR

What if we had an operators' manual that told us what causes climate change?

About the Episodes

Energy Quest USA  Premiered Sunday, April 22, 2012.
Robbyn Lewis, Patterson Park Energy Captain, canvasses for the Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge. Visit five very different American communities where citizens are making smart energy choices based on economics and the environment. In Kansas, communities compete for $100,000 cash prizes in an energy conservation contest. In Baltimore, Md., the Neighborhood Energy Challenge is enabling low-income homeowners to save as much as $1,300 a year through simple measures like weather-stripping and reduced water use. In oil-rich Alaska, renewables are becoming an increasingly important part of the power portfolio. In Fort Worth, Texas, fracking has led to an economic and employment boom, even as citizens continue to pursue what they call "cowboy sustainability." And in Portland, Ore., forward-thinking decisions made decades ago have given rise to a vibrant economy and turned the city into one of the nation's greenest. In a political climate in which "going green" is often associated with a liberal agenda,Energy Quest USA sends the message that we need to get back to the all-American values of saving a buck, tackling problems head-on, working together in our communities, and looking out for the future of our kids and our country.

Powering the Planet  Premiered on Sunday, April 22, 2012.
Get an eye-opening look at some of the world's most important case studies in smart energy decisions. In Spain and Morocco, large-scale solar farms and individual photovoltaic panels atop tents in the Sahara are beginning to bring the sun's vast potential down to Earth. In Brazil, abundant natural resources (sun, rain and sugar cane) are transformed into efficient, sustainable biofuel. In Samsø, Denmark, and West Texas, citizens have taken sustainability, and economic realities, into their own hands by becoming stakeholders in wind turbines. In China, a full-throttle approach to multiple sustainable energy technologies is giving rise to a "new empire of clean tech." Great nations and small communities alike are finding sustainable solutions that provide for people and protect the Earth. But what about America — are we making the right decisions for our country's energy future?


EARTH: The Operators' Manual  Rebroadcasted on Sunday, April 22, 2012.
An operators' manual helps keep your car or computer running at peak performance. Earth science can do the same for the planet. Join host Richard Alley – registered Republican, geologist, former oil company employee and expert on climate change and renewable energy — on a high-definition trip around the globe to learn the story of Earth's climate history and our relationship with fossil fuels. In Spain, Brazil, China and Texas, as well as at the U.S. Army's Fort Irwin and the U.S. Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton, a diverse cast of Earth "operators" are proving that when the Earth's bounty meets human ingenuity, there are many reasons to be optimistic about our energy future. As Alley says, if enough of us get involved, "we can avoid climate catastrophes, improve energy security, and make millions of good jobs."

EARTH: The Operators' Manual was written and directed by Geoff Haines-Stiles
and produced by Erna Akuginow, and is a production of Passport to Knowledge/Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions, Inc.

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Funded by: 

National Science Foundation

 Produced by: 

Passport to Knowledge

 © Passport to Knowledge/Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Text by Geoff Haines-Stiles. Photos courtesy of Geoff Haines-Stiles and Art Howard.

EARTH: The Operators' Manual and the materials on its website are based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award 0917564. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of Passport to Knowledge/Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions, Inc., and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation or PBS.

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