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Press Release 11-081
The Weather Channel to Air NSF-Sponsored Town Hall Meeting in Celebration of Earth Day

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

Image of the earth with the words Changing Planet and logos of NBC News, NSF, DISCOVER and Yale.

Tom Brokaw of NBC News moderates the "Changing Planet" town hall meeting.
Credit and Larger Version

April 19, 2011

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 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET. It will also air on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and Sunday at 5 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

-NSF-

About NBC Learn

NBC Learn is the educational arm of NBC News dedicated to providing resources for students, teachers, and lifelong learners. The online resources NBC Learn has created for the education community leverages nearly 80 years of historic news coverage, documentary materials, and current news broadcasts. The NBC News Archives on Demand feature gives students and teachers access to thousands of video clips from the NBC News archives, including great historic moments--from the Great Depression to the Space Race to the latest political coverage. NBC Learn also offers primary source materials, lesson plans and classroom planning resources, and additional text and image resources from our content partners.

About the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

About DISCOVER

Now in its 30th year of publication, DISCOVER magazine covers a wide range of topics related to science and technology. Key subjects include physics; astronomy and space exploration; the brain; medicine; biology and evolution; and energy and the environment. The magazine's award-winning staff brings to readers the work of leading science writers and photographers. DISCOVER is the largest general science interest magazine in the world.

About The Weather Channel Companies

The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC) are made up of The Weather Channel® television network, The Weather Channel digital properties, and WSI. The Weather Channel is based in Atlanta and is seen in more than 100 million U.S. households. TWCC also operates Weatherscan®, a 24-hour all-local weather network; The Weather Channel Radio Network; and The Weather Channel HD. The digital properties of TWCC, which include the weather.com® site, The Weather Channel Desktop and The Weather Channel Mobile, reach more than 40 million monthly unique users, are the most popular source of online weather news and information, and offer the second most popular mobile application on all smart phones. WSI, headquartered in Andover, MA, primarily provides business-to-business weather services, particularly for the media, aviation, marine and energy sectors. TWCC is owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. For more information, visit The Weather Channel website.

Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8070, bmixon@nsf.gov
Meghan Pianta, NBC News, (212) 664-2364, meghan.pianta@nbcuni.com

Program Contacts
Susan M. Mason, NSF, (703) 292-7748, smason@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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