Image courtesy of Polar-Palooza
I’m feeling green. Monday, St. Patrick’s Day, was chock full
o’ everything one could imagine in shades of emerald, olive, and kelly:
clovers, clothing, even the
Polar-Palooza is a traveling road show, part of a broader multimedia initiative supported by NSF and NASA, through which leading polar scientists, journalists, and local residents share their research and experiences with the general public in entertaining, interactive forums. Orchestrated to coincide with the International Polar Year, Polar-Palooza aims to paint a full, vivid picture of the stories behind the headlines of global climate change. From the Polar-Palooza website:
“…The Poles are changing faster than anywhere else on our entire world. Understanding the Poles helps us make wise decisions about building a sustainable future for our species and our civilization. At the same time, the Poles offer intriguing stories of human and animal adaptation to extreme conditions, and insights into the real-world adventure which doing science in such extreme conditions inevitably offers…. Why "PALOOZA"? Like the rock tour, we hope to be a little out of the box, and always on the edge.”
I had the opportunity to see Polar-Palooza at National Geographic Headquarters in
Palooza features experts in a variety of fields, which allows for great depth and perspective on each individual topic. It’s powerful to hear the message directly from those working on the ground to compile the data, that are living the realities of the Arctic firsthand. The members of the panel shift as the show tours the country, making the program flexible and adaptable for audiences of different ages and orientations.
The style of live performances enables viewers to personally
engage with the researchers and ask questions. It also allows for the
incorporation of dramatic stunts like a “visit” from a hundred-thirty-thousand
year-old core of ice from
Polar-Palooza succeeds in promoting a message of environmental conservation and sustainability—without being overly preachy. As Revkin explained, experts are in near universal concordance over the scientific fundamentals of global warming, the conclusion that polar environments are changing, and the role that humans play in those processes. The point of contention arises only in the perceived magnitude of the problem and the nature of the appropriate human response. This response, of course, will be determined largely by policy makers and their constituents in the general public—us . The experts’ task is to ensure that we all have the information necessary to make these difficult decisions. And that’s exactly what Polar-Palooza, Andy Revkin, and others endeavor to achieve--while having a little fun in the process!
Sarah for My Wonderful World