NOVA, Public Media Stations Collaborate to Examine Local Effects of a Changing Climate

April 5, 2023

CPB-supported Climate Across America Spotlights Community Solutions

NOVA Climate Across America

In documenting the collapse of the snow crab population in Alaska to erosion on the Gulf Coast of Florida, public media stations across the country are partnering with television’s most acclaimed science documentary series, NOVA, to explore how changes in climate affect local communities. The NOVA Climate Across America initiative, which gives audiences the opportunity to participate in conversations about innovative solutions to community issues, is part of the Science and Society program, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB is also a longtime supporter of NOVA, now in its 50th year airing on PBS.

“Climate change is a global problem, but the varied impacts are felt at a local level,” said NOVA Co-Executive Producer Chris Schmidt. “This initiative provides a timely and unique opportunity to tell stories that shed light on the impacts of climate change on American communities while also showcasing the innovative solutions that individuals and communities are developing to adapt. We hope these stories will provide helpful and hopeful examples to others.”

Weathering the Future / NOVA

Two climate-related feature documentaries are premiering on NOVA this month: Weathering the Future, examining how Americans are dealing with extreme weather (airing on April 12), and Chasing Carbon Zero, on technologies aimed at reaching net-zero carbon emissions (airing on April 26). In addition to being broadcast on PBS (check local listings), the programs will be available to stream via the PBS App,, and on NOVA’s YouTube channel.

Ten public media stations across the country have worked with NOVA and producing station GBH to produce digital short films and audio reports about the effects of our changing climate and solutions being pursued in their communities. Many are holding screening events highlighting the local and national programs and conversations with experts.

They include:

  • Northwest Public Broadcasting will host a screening event and discussion on April 6 in Moscow, ID. The event features the station’s locally created content about the conflicting demands of power dams and the local salmon population and includes excerpt from “Weathering the Future.” Panel speakers include Julia Cort, co-executive producer of NOVA, and members of the Nez Perce Tribe.
  • WHRO, Norfolk, VA, is holding a “Weathering the Future” preview event on April 11. The station’s short film, focused on a $112 million flood wall and earth berm being built along the shoreline to create a coastal defense system against sea level rise, premieres April 22 on the WHRO Facebook page.  
  • Nebraska Public Media has produced a digital short on the tension between saving the ancient pallid sturgeon, flood management, and engineering projects that made the Missouri River easier for ships to navigate. Pallid Sturgeon: Ancient Fish, Modern Problem launches April 19 on the Nebraska Public Media website and social media platforms.    
  • WFSU, Tallahassee, is holding a screening event on April 20 that will spotlight their film on the physics of wave action and how coastal ecosystems evolved to withstand them, along with highlighted excerpts from “Weathering the Future.”
  • Alaska Public Media is holding a “Weathering the Future” screening and discussion in Anchorage on May 1. The event will also feature two AKPM videos, including one on the collapse of the Bering Sea snow crab population.
  • PBS North in Duluth, MN, will hold an event on April 21 that features station reporting on why some are calling Duluth “climate-proof” and somewhat immune from the effects of climate change.
  • WKAR, Lansing, MI, is producing a short film on research to improve batteries for electric vehicles.
  • Rocky Mountain PBS in Colorado, where the 2021 Marshall Fire damaged or destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Boulder County, is examining efforts to build fire-resistant homes.
  • Vermont Public has produced a digital short film on the dairy farming town of Panton, VT, which became the first community microgrid in the United States able to run exclusively on renewable power, without backup from fossil fuels. Another film features a Vermont family farm that converts manure from 900 cows and converts it to biogas and then to natural gas.
  • KPBS (San Diego) is creating content examining the impacts of sea level rise in the low-lying coastal city of Imperial Beach, CA. The short film will be posted on KPBS’ YouTube channel.

In addition, WHRO and WKAR are partnering with NOVA on the NOVA Science Studio, which works with students at local high schools to produce science stories that are of interest to them. The students at five high schools in Michigan and Virginia are producing more than a dozen science reports this school year.

Audiences can follow the Climate Across America initiative on YouTube and Instagram, starting April 10, using the hashtag #ClimateAcrossAmerica.

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