Have you seen this PBS show about science and technology? It’s one of those fast-paced, Gen-X-friendly news magazines and its October 10 episode covered the effects of climate change on gardeners. The narrator introduced us to two VERY pleased-looking
gardeners somewhere in Minnesota, who told us about "the joys of global warming" – all those southern plants they can now grow. Is this attitude – "What, me worry? As long as I can grow crape myrtles in Toronto I’m happy!" really typical? I’d sure like to have heard from gardeners who see the bigger picture, like the vast majority of gardenbloggers. (Note to MSM: we’re easy to find and love being asked for our opinions.)
Then there was another gardening item in the very same episode, in a regular segment called "What’s Inside?" The host
rattled off a long list of ingredients and asked readers to guess what the product was. The ingredients were salt, boric acid, urine, rust remover, fire retardant,
and so on. Can you guess?
Well, the punch line (and indeed it’s played like a big joke) is: Miracle Gro! The narrator
then chatted away about Miracle Gro having been invented in 1950 by a New York
adman and the (scary) fact that the product has now garnered 85 percent
of the home fertilizer market. Then what do you suppose viewers were
told about Miracle Gro? Nothing. No mention of the consequences of all that synthetic fertilization. I call that a wasted opportunity.
Based on this and other recent episodes, I have to conclude that "Wired
Science" works so hard to make science news fun that it simply blows it. It’s too jazzy to educate. It may be the very nature of its short-short segments. (Are we all presumed to have ADD?) Their website asks for feedback and while there are plenty of fans, I agree with this comment: "Quit treating every segment as if it needs to fit on a morning
gab fest show. More information." Right. And a chemist wrote to complain specifically about the "What’s Inside" segments.
Now if you’re lucky enough to have the Sundance
Channel on your TV, you’re probably already a fan of this new show. I don’t get the channel myself, but I went to their DC launch
party and screening and have watched the CDs they kindly sent me of
several episodes. Their show about waste was SO edifying I
had to turn it off because I happened to be eating dinner while
watching it, which I strongly advise against doing. Total ick! It’s called "Crapshoot: the Gamble with our Waste." Another episode on Cities was very good, as was their segment about guerilla gardeners – thank you! It’s no coincidence that "The Green" gives plenty of time to the subjects it covers.