MinuteEarth is envisioned as a companion YouTube channel to MinutePhysics (check it out), an existing and popular channel of short (≈1-2 minute long) videos that are produced about once per week. The goals of MinuteEarth will be to engage people in learning about, thinking about, and dreaming about earth, in all (or at least many) of its dimensions, including ecology, earth system science, climate science, environmental science and policy, geology, and many others. The brainstorm idea here is about the idea of a “MinuteEarth Collaborative” which would develop a somewhat distinct but compatible and complementary model to the existing MinutePhysics one. This approach would also simultaneously serve as a “broader” impacts outreach and education training program at the same time as making MinuteEarth happen.
This brainstorm has several goals. One is to get feedback about this idea. The second and more important goal is to explore the notion of doing this as a “collaborative”. The short story: MinutePhysics is the creation of Henry Reich (who works at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, in Waterloo, Ontario) and is related to the organizer of this session (I’m his Dad). Given our mutual and overlapping interests and expertise we thought, hey, let’s do something environment-oriented too! So, Henry and I have been trying to figure out how to launch MinuteEarth, which would be easy to do if we could fully clone Henry, but otherwise difficult as he is already very busy. We’ve done a bunch of jabbering and planning and chatting with folks in a variety of fields (e.g. climate science, earth science, ecology). The “collaborative” idea is that, with just the right set of volunteer collaborators, we could work largely with, but also in some senses under Henry’s guidance and supervision, to develop, research, and write narratives that would become videos under his further handiwork (with eventual collaboration on the videos also worth thinking about). Volunteers (5-10 hours per week for a fixed term?) could come from many ranks: perhaps aimed at the grad student/postdoc level but without disqualifying undergrads, retirees, full professors or anyone else. There is also likely a paid position as coordinator/writer for which we have some funds. If the “collaborative” idea worked well it could eventual develop into a more complex and diverse (hey this is ecology!) mode of communication (i.e. a collective initiative rather than one that is 90% Henry Reich) than MinutePhysics, but that is putting the cart way before the horse.