EARTH – The Operators’ Manual

September 15th, 2009 - August 31st, 2012 | PROJECT

The purpose of the ETOM 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 online 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, with two new specials premiering on Earth Day 2012, will reach large audiences influencing the understanding of climate change and the potential of renewable energy in measurable ways. Events at four science centers and natural history museums located across the country will explore how increased knowledge of Earth Science through in-person presentations informs behavior. The project's social networking tools and resources will motivate and support accessible real-world activities. An online "Energy Gauge" will allows users to find rebates, explore driving and diet, and make choices that can save money and reduce carbon emissions. 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. 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. 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.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products
Earth: The Operator's Manual Summative Evaluation
ISE Spotlight - Earth: The Operators' Manual

Team Members

Geoffrey Haines-Stiles, Principal Investigator, Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions
Richard Alley, Co-Principal Investigator, National Academy of Sciences
Ema Akuginow, Co-Principal Investigator, Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0917564
Funding Amount: 2999957


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Climate | Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Geoscience and geography
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media