With the sun shining and deer quietly nestled on patches of lawn at the wooded, tranquil NASA-JPL complex in the foothills near Pasadena, it’s easy to forget that some of the world’s most advanced research is being conducted—right here in our own back yard—on how to counteract the dark threat brought on by global warming.
A NASA-JPL climate scientist made the global come into sharp local focus when he was asked during a recent panel about the vanishing ice in northern Greenland, the dramatic backdrop for the film Inuk and its story of traditional ways being threatened by global warming.
The Lifetime movie Call Me Crazy: A Five Film (co-starring Jennifer Hudson, pictured) took first-place honors in the Primetime Drama (Major Storyline) category for its portrayals of people dealing with mental illness. The film was among the winners of the 14th annual Sentinel for Health Awards that were announced in a ceremony Sept. 19 in Hollywood. Sentinel Awards recognize exemplary achievements in TV storylines that inform, educate and motivate viewers to make choices for healthier and safer lives.
Hollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington and HH&S program administrator Chris Dzialo recently traveled to India for the public launch of its global center called The Third Eye, bringing in local writers for a series of panels, classes and storytelling workshops, and taking them on a research trip to explore the kinds of health-related challenges facing young girls and women in a remote village.
Hollywood, Health & Society presented a panel titled "Stayin' Alive: The Truth About Obamacare" on June 27 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. Guest speakers for the panel were Peter Lee (pictured), executive director of Covered California, the state's health benefit exchange; Dr. Victoria Sorlie-Aguilar of the Centers for Family Health; Dr. Zoanne Clack, executive producer for Grey's Anatomy; and Dr. Neal Baer, executive producer for Under the Dome. HH&S Director Sandra de Castro Buffington served as the evening's moderator.
Hollywood, Health & Society led a select group of writers on a “Jurassic Park”-style tour of remote Santa Cruz Island off the coast of Santa Barbara to learn about the effects of climate change, wildlife restoration efforts and how to live in a sustainable, off-the-grid environment. Accompanied by two experts from The Nature Conservancy—John Randall and Ric Wiles—the six writers and HH&S support staff departed early-morning, overcast Ventura Harbor for the hour-long crossing by ferry. A bumper sticker on the ship’s bridge read “I Brake for Whales”—a harbinger of things to come later in the day. On the way back, the group was spellbound by a rare treat—a mega-pod of thousands of dolphins swimming alongside the ship, with a handful of 50-foot humpback whales that repeatedly surfaced as they all feasted on great schools of anchovies.
An invitation-only audience was treated to a special screening of “Chasing Ice,” photographer James Balog’s hauntingly powerful 2012 documentary about Earth’s disappearing glaciers, on May 23 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. Co-sponsored by Hollywood, Health & Society, a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, and the Environmental Media Association, the event featured a panel conversation with Paula DuPre Pesmen, a producer for the documentary, and the film’s writer, Mark Monroe. They were joined by two climate scientists—Dr. Josh Willis of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Dr. Paul Bunje, senior director for prize development at the XPRIZE Foundation and a founding executive director of UCLA’s Center for Climate Change Solutions. HH&S Director Sandra de Castro Buffington and EMA President Debbie Levin served as the evening’s moderators.