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The Weather Channel To Air NSF-Sponsored Town Hall Meeting In Celebration Of Earth Day

April 20, 2011

“Changing Planet” town hall broadcast brings together scientists, thought leaders and students to discuss impact of climate science and possible solutions

In celebration of Earth Day, The Weather Channel will air a previously recorded special town hall event moderated by NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw on Friday at 9 p.m. ET.

Titled, “Changing Planet,” the town hall was hosted at Yale University as part of a partnership between NBC Learn, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and DISCOVER magazine.

“Today’s youth is interested and engaged in trying to understand climate change and its impact on our world,” said Brokaw. “It is important that we involve them in finding solutions through events like this.”

The town hall is one in a series of three “Changing Planet” town hall events intended to encourage student learning and dialogue about climate change by gathering scientists, thought leaders, business people and university students to discuss the facts of climate science, the dynamics of its impact and to brainstorm solutions.

“Changing Planet” will air on The Weather Channel as part of the cable network’s special “Green is Universal” coverage and will be available for viewing on the NSF, NBC Learn and DISCOVER websites. Portions of the town hall also will be available after the broadcast on The Weather Channel website. In addition, a special print adaptation of “Changing Planet” will appear in the June issue of DISCOVER, available on May 10th.

This unique event at Yale University explores what climate change means for human health, economic opportunity and competitiveness, moral and religious values and the impact on youth. The event brings together over 100 students and four renowned panelists: Rajendra K. Pachauri, who leads the Yale Climate and Energy Institute; Billy Parish, founder and coordinator of the Energy Action Coalition; Katherine Hayhoe, GeoSciences professor at Texas Tech University; and Linda Fischer, chief sustainability officer at DuPont.

A second “Changing Planet” town hall was hosted at George Washington University on April 12th, and a third will be held at Arizona State University in the fall of 2011. The “Changing Planet” series is taped before a live audience at each university, is produced by NBC Learn and underwritten by NSF, in cooperation with DISCOVER.

In addition to the “Changing Planet” town halls, NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, and NSF are working together to produce a series of 12 online video reports looking at the impact of climate change in various locations around the world. From Bermuda’s tropical seas to the Arctic Ocean, each story follows scientists in the field who are studying the dramatic impacts of rising temperatures in the air, in the water and on land. The series is narrated by Anne Thompson, chief environmental affairs correspondent for NBC News.

Designed for use in the classroom, each report is correlated to state standards and includes a lesson plan with activities created by the “Windows to the Universe” project team at the National Earth Science Teachers Association led by Dr. Roberta Johnson.

The first videos of the series are available now at NBC Learn, with a new video released weekly. The videos are available on the NBC Learn, NSF and Windows to the Universe websites and are available for widespread broadcast and digital distribution.

Titles in the “Changing Planet” series include:

   1. Fresh Water in the Arctic
   2. Lake Temperatures
   3. Withering Crops
   4. Ocean Temperatures
   5. Adaptation of Species
   6. Melting Glaciers
   7. Black Carbon
   8. Ocean Acidification
   9. Coral Reefs
  10. Melting Permafrost
  11. Rising Sea Levels
  12. Infectious Diseases

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