‘Planet Forward’ tapes in SMPA

“Planet Forward,” an Internet and television project devoted to promoting public discussion on environmental issues, taped its first television show in the Jack Morton Auditorium Tuesday night.

President Barack Obama’s top energy and climate change adviser Carol Browner joined moderator Frank Sesno, an SMPA professor and CNN correspondent, for a two-hour taping. The project began online with video submissions from scientists, professors and students, which were played at the taping to prompt panelist responses.

Panelists included Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place, James Connaughton, executive vice president of Constellation Energy and former chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and L. Hunter Lovins, president and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions.

During the taping, Browner and other guests discussed renewable energies, transportation and the Obama administration’s role in the world of environmentalism.

“The president has taken this task on with the American Recovery Act: It is one of the largest energy bills in the history of the country. With American innovation and ingenuity, we can do things as a country that we don’t expect,” Browner said.

Browner, the longest-serving administrator in the history of the Environmental Protection Agency, said improving the nation’s environmental standards would help the country in a variety of fields.

“The president believes that we can have a lot of different answers come forward. The public absolutely wants to be a part of this movement. They are ready for leadership and the president is bringing forward this issue,” Browner said. “The country is breaking the dependency on foreign oil, training a new generation for green jobs, putting a cap on greenhouse gases. All of these things will mean economic success.”

Conversation between the panelists was broken up by the videos submitted by students, professors, environmentalists and scientists.

One video, submitted by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, was titled “Boiling Point” and depicts an experiment at a gas station. The video showed how a frog thrown in boiling water will immediately hop out, but if the water is slowly brought to a boil, the frog will not notice. High prices flashed on the screen, telling consumers to “jump” before gas prices triple again.

Another video featured D.C. institution Ben’s Chili Bowl, which uses 100 percent wind power.

“It is the right thing to do for the future of our kids and for our country,” an employee said.

“President Knapp was an early supporter of the ‘Planet Forward’ project since sustainability is one of the top priorities of the University,” said Knapp’s chief of staff, Barbara Porter. “It is initiatives such as this one that GW is all about.”

The program will air nationally on PBS on April 15 at 8 p.m.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.