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Discovery Project Earth
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this educational series -- which follows a team of globe-trotting scientists as they help researchers find ways to counter the effects of global warming -- is relatively mild, some of the discussions about the negative impact that climate change is having on the planet could upset young and/or sensitive viewers. The show's scientific focus may not interest some kids, but tweens and teens interested in science, engineering, and/or environmentalism will find it worth watching.
What's the story?
DISCOVERY PROJECT EARTH follows the members of an environmental task force as they travel around the world assisting leading scientists combat the effects of global warming. The three experts -- engineer Jennifer L. Langwell, businessman/billionaire Kevin O'Leary, and quantum physicist Basil Singer -- help geoengineers, glacierologists, oceanographers, and others test ambitious, high-tech ideas (like covering glaciers in Greenland with reflective blankets to keep them from melting, or somehow converting ocean winds into electricity) that are designed to solve some of the planet's biggest environmental problems. The trio must find practical ways of implementing the scientists' radical ideas while simultaneously measuring the actual financial and environmental impact of executing the plans on a global scale.
Is it any good?
This informative series candidly addresses global warming as a major and immediate crisis. But it goes beyond simply describing the problem (and its potential calamitous effects, i.e. natural disasters) by showing how scientists and other experts are actively working to develop and test creative solutions that merge technology with nature. While the success of some of the projects is exciting, team members also acknowledge that implementing them could cause new problems -- like creating large carbon footprints and requiring governments to come up with billions of dollars to pay for them. It also recognizes the danger that scientists sometimes face when applying technology to fight global warming.
Some of the science-oriented conversation -- as well as the continual references to environmental crisis and natural disasters -- may be a bit overwhelming or even scary for young and/or sensitive viewers. But overall Discovery Project Earth offers some important lessons for both kids and adults that go beyond science. The series shows viewers that sometimes it's necessary to think outside the box and be willing to try things that might seem strange or impossible. And it reminds us of how important it is to keep looking for solutions to problems that can seem too massive to solve.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about global warming. What impact does it have on the Earth? Can people counter its effects in their every day lives? If so, how? Families can also discuss the costs associated with preventing and/or combating the effects of global climate change. Do you think it's worth trying to fix these problems even when the solutions are extremely expensive? What role can/should the media take in addressing issues like global warming and "green" living?