PRESS RELEASE

PBS Announces Unprecedented Multiyear Commitment to Environmental and Climate Programming

17th January 2023
Multiplatform Initiative to Explore Climate Change from Diverse Perspectives with New Series and Specials Including HUMAN FOOTPRINT, a Second Season of AMERICA OUTDOORS and New PBS KIDS Series WEATHER HUNTERS from Al Roker Entertainment.
PBS Headquarters.
PBS Headquarters, Crystal City. Image: melanie.phung/Creative Commons

This article was originally published on PBS.


Today at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger announced the launch of an unprecedented environmental and climate programming initiative that explores impacts on the country and planet. The comprehensive effort marks a bold commitment to bring together the very best in science, history and news programming in 2023 and beyond. Building on more than 200 hours of climate and environmental content currently available across its various platforms, PBS and its member stations will focus on the challenges of a changing climate while highlighting examples of positive impact.

The broad slate of programs will explore climate change from a diversity of perspectives and include new productions such as HUMAN FOOTPRINT; returning series such as Season Two of AMERICA OUTDOORS WITH BARATUNDE THURSTON, currently in development from Twin Cities PBS; climate-focused programs from award-winning PBS series NOVA and NATURE; journalistic storytelling from FRONTLINE and PBS NEWSHOUR; digital-first series from PBS Digital Studios including WEATHERED; and station-led efforts such as WNET Group’s “Peril & Promise.” Today, PBS also announced at TCA a new PBS KIDS series produced by Al Roker Entertainment — WEATHER HUNTERS — which will help further young viewers’ interest and knowledge of Earth science and meteorology, both key building blocks of climate education.

“Our longstanding commitment to science and factual programming, combined with the local reach of our member stations, puts us in a unique position to take on this topic,” said Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. “These extraordinary stories, told across multiple PBS platforms, will bring understanding and hope to audiences.”

Read more: PBS’ Innovation Centers

The initiative kicks off in April for Earth Month with a special multiplatform slate of programs that will be available on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS app.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “The Sun Queen”

Tuesday, April 4, 9:00 p.m. ET
For nearly 50 years, chemical engineer and inventor Mária Telkes applied her prodigious intellect to harnessing the sun’s power. She designed and built the world’s first successfully solar-heated home in 1948. Along the way she was undercut and thwarted by her male colleagues at MIT.

NOVA “Climate Across America” Campaign

April 2023
Climate Change is a global problem, but the varied impacts are felt locally. This spring, NOVA will lead a national campaign — “Climate Across America” — spotlighting how climate change is affecting communities across the country and the innovative solutions being implemented to address the climate crisis. The campaign includes two programs:

NOVA “Weathering the Future”

Wednesday, April 12, 9:00 p.m. ET
It’s hard not to notice: our weather is changing. From longer, hotter heat waves, to more intense rainstorms, to megafires and multiyear droughts, the U.S. is experiencing the full range of impacts from a changing global climate. At the same time, many on the front lines of these destabilizing weather trends are fighting back — innovating solutions, marshaling ancient wisdom and developing visionary ideas. The lessons they’re learning today can help all of us adapt in the years ahead as the planet getswarmer and our weather more extreme.

NOVA “Chasing Carbon Zero”

Wednesday, April 26, 9:00 p.m. ET
The U.S. recently set an ambitious climate change goal: to achieve 100% zero carbon pollution by 2050. And to achieve that: slash emissions in half by 2030. But is that even feasible? What exactly would it take? “Chasing Carbon Zero” takes a hard look atthe problem and identifies the most likely real-world technologies that could be up to the task. Find out why there is still hope that we can achieve carbon zero in time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

CHANGING PLANET II

Wednesday, April 19, 9:00 p.m. ET
In its second season, CHANGING PLANET revisits six of our planet’s most vulnerable ecosystems and catches up with the inspiring people introduced in the first series — scientists and local experts fighting to safeguard their communities and wildlife, charting the progress of their game-changing environmental projects. Dr. M. Sanjayan hosts this year’s episodes from Australia, a country on the front lines of climate change both in terms of its devastating effects but also potential solutions. Moving between Australia and our six hubs, Season Two paints a powerful picture of our CHANGING PLANET.

The slate extends beyond Earth Month with specials and series including:

HUMAN FOOTPRINT

July 2023
This six-part documentary series is hosted by biologist and Princeton University professor Shane Campbell-Staton as he embarks on a journey to understand all the ways humans have transformed the planet.

NOVA “Ancient Earth”

Fall 2023
This NOVA/BBC five-part series presents an epic biography of the Earth, delving into deep history to uncover the most dramatic events in our planet’s past, from its birth to the emergence of humanity. With astonishing visuals and contributions from leading scientists, the result is an exciting fusion of sweeping storytelling and freshly delivered insights illuminating billions of years of Earth’s epic history.

DYNAMIC PLANET (w.t.)

Fall 2023
This extraordinary four-part journey to the extremes of Earth shines a light on the impacts of climate change and reveals how science and tradition can prepare us for a fast-changing world. Pairing indigenous knowledge with cutting-edge research and unexpected animal behaviors, the program explores the interconnectedness of nature and provides surprising hope for our future.

EVOLUTION EARTH

Fall 2023
Discover how new animal behaviors are revealing insights into the story of our changing planet. Traveling to extreme locations, distant wild lands and modern urban environments, this five-part series meets both animals and people on the front lines of climate change and offers a look at how Earth is evolving at superspeed.

More titles will be announced later.

Educational resources drawing on content from these programs will be available through PBS LearningMedia. Available for free to all educators pre-K through 12th grade, PBS LearningMedia offers classroom-ready content aligned to state and national standards, compatible with the tools teachers use most, such as Google Classroom, and contextualized with supporting materials.