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richard-branson_idol.jpgWhen I received a press release yesterday stating that Sir Richard Branson, of the Virgin mega-brands and various hot air balloon adventures, had joined SciFi Channel’s “Visions for Tomorrow” advisory board, my curiosity was piqued. Not only do I think that Branson is one of the coolest philanthropists around, but I had never even heard of said initiative and I’m no stranger to the SciFi Channel.
The “multi-platform, pro-social campaign” aims to use “the power of science fiction to inspire individuals, organizations, corporations and policymakers to meet the growing challenges of the future and advance the idea that individuals can affect positive change” and “utilizes public service announcements, educational curricula, and an interactive website to impact the future.”


Sure, the board is made up of “visionaries” and innovators” like most advisory committees, but how cool is it that a former NASA astronaut, MIT professor Dr. Jeffrey A. Hoffman, is serving next to “Battlestar Galactica’s” Mary McDonnell?
Although I found the list of “Top Things You Must Read, Watch and Do to Save the World” unconventional and inspired, I wish SciFi would put as much into the design of the website as they do the bumps between their shows and ads. If anyone could make the initiative’s current theme of energy conservation fun, it should be the SciFi Channel, right? There’s already a “Eureka” energy facts page, why not have the cast of “Stargate Atlantis” do a very special webisode about searching for alternative energy sources.
Yes, the site’s simple design easily delivers the “Visions of Tomorrow” curriculum to educators, but this is a wonderful opportunity to broaden the scope of the project and appeal to a much wider audience, anyone who wants to learn more about energy conservation. And, really, that should be all of us.

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