For The Weather Channel, tackling environmental issues is part of the network’s culture.
“Everything we do is designed to give people the tools to make critical decisions today for what’s expected to happen tomorrow,” said Meredith Smith, Weather’s vice president of climate strategic marketing. “The Weather Channel is the manifestation of climate change, so it makes sense for us to pay close attention to this issue.”
Weather’s new high-definition studio has been built using the latest green technologies and the network is aiming for a gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certificate, Smith said. The company bought two years of power upfront and about 35% of it comes from renewable power sources. Rainwater is collected and used to irrigate the landscape. Sensors and computer programs monitor the weather to make sure no water is distributed if it’s going to rain. The Forecast Earth Web page is filled with all kinds of environmental information including a virtual tour of the eco-friendly HD studio, and has turned out to be one of the most popular pages on Weather’s site, Smith said.
Weather has also launched the “Classroom Earth” program providing grants to teachers — not just science teachers, but math, social studies and English teachers as well — who want to incorporate environmental issues into lesson plans.
Student grants will also be awarded to kids who launch ecology-focused projects in their schools and communities.
Weather is building Web sites for students and teachers and, as part of its second Forecast Earth Summit this summer, it is bringing 20 kids to Washington, D.C., to learn more about what they can do to improve the environment and educate others.
“Whatever initiatives we undertake must have teeth,” Smith said. “People are looking to us to be informed and inspired.”