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Earth: The Operators' Manual

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EARTH: THE OPERATORS' MANUAL 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.

To illustrate the evidence and the way forward, the film takes viewers on a high-definition trip around the globe. In New Zealand, host Richard Alley rappels 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, including: A solar power plant near Seville, Spain, that will soon provide electricity to 200,000; a geothermal generating station in New Zealand; and China, the world’s largest energy consumer, which is evolving from “the factory of the world” into “the clean-tech laboratory of the world.”

  • Year
  • Runtime
    53 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Geoffrey Haines-Stiles
  • Producer
    Erna Akoginow
  • Executive Producer
    Geoffrey Haines-Stiles, Erna Akoginow
  • Cast
    Richard Alley