Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Editor's Pick

Robert Krulwich says: CO2, Polygamous Prima Donna

All the world is a stage, and the myriad of dramas unfolding each have their own cast of characters. And among each cast, as in a Broadway musical, there is one character of utmost focus: the star, the key player. So, in the drama of global warming - and we all know the magnitude of that drama - who is the star?

Well, if you ask NPR Science Corespondent Robert Krulwich, global warming all boils down to the actions of one player. And as tiny (and predictable) as that player may seem, its actions will rule the fate of us all. So then, the star of the Ever Unfolding Drama of Global Warming: the carbon atom.

Krulwich, in cooperation with PBS and National Geographic, has put together a 5 part, web-based series based on the life and times of the carbon atom, specifically how it relates to global warming. And even though this is an NPR production, you will not hear Krulwich's series (called Global Warming: It's All About Carbon) on the radio. That's because this is a cartoon series.

Yep. Cartoons. Each cartoon (about 2 minutes a piece) feature the same wit and humor that make Krulwich popular. And they introduce real concepts and insights about why global warming happens. Krulwich takes us on a journey from ancient organism, expired, buried in mud and compressed for millennia until they are harvested by man and burned to release their energy. Stray carbon quickly bonds with two oxygen atoms forming CO2. And, that's where the trouble starts: the trees and oceans can't absorb all the CO2 we create. Krulwich goes on to talk about carbon sequestration and the hopes for its ability to reverse global warming. And along the way: a cartoon drawing of Krulwich dancing about without a shirt. Hilarious.

Check out the entire 5 part series at npr.org.

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