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NOVA shares climate content across public media platforms
June 07, 2024

The CO2 Foundation’s modest grant to GBH’s Planet Future Fund helped support NOVA’s Climate Across America initiative, which spotlighted how climate change affects communities across the United States and engaged audiences in productive conversations about innovative climate solutions.

Leveraging the reach and power of the PBS system to drive a national conversation about local impacts and solutions, NOVA presented two new, one-hour climate documentaries, “Weathering the Future” and “Chasing Carbon Zero”, accessible now streaming at, on NOVA’s YouTube channel, and via the PBS App. While long-form documentaries are at the heart of its work, the NOVA team strategically leverages its films to provide entry points to a wide array of NOVA content across a range of platforms. The team has found a large, engaged audience online, which continues to grow as it expands efforts to reach a diverse audience of all ages across platforms.

In addition to the two climate documentaries, NOVA worked closely with the following local station partners to create, share, and amplify climate-focused content including short-form videos, radio/audio stories, articles, e-newsletters, and social media posts: WHRO in Norfolk, VA; Nebraska Public Media in Lincoln, NE; WKAR in Lansing, MI; KPBS in San Diego, CA; Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver, CO; Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, AK; WFSU in Tallahassee, FL; Vermont Public in Colchester, VT; PBS North in Duluth, MN; and Northwest Public Broadcasting in Pullman, WA.

“Weathering the Future” reached 2.3 million viewers on TV during its initial one week broadcast window; the film also had more than 400,000 streams on YouTube and across other streaming platforms. Social media posts for this film reached 2.7 million people, earned 165,000 impressions, and had 7,100 engagements across Facebook, YouTube, X, and Instagram. Despite challenges with multiple of the social platforms, the project’s short-form videos collectively earned 540,000 views. The 10 partner stations also credited this collaboration with providing them the opportunity to experiment on various platforms, create new content around science topics, and target new audiences.

In addition to its flagship films and local station partnerships, NOVA hosted a national virtual screening event and virtual field trips for both “Weathering the Future” and “Chasing Carbon Zero,” engaging hundreds of classrooms across the country with over 15,000 views on YouTube. And NOVA and GBH Education collaborated to release a PBS LearningMedia collection in connection with “Weathering the Future.” Climate Across America extended into classrooms through NOVA Science Studio (NSS), NOVA’s youth program dedicated to teaching science journalism, digital media literacy, and video production to high school students. NSS partnered with WHRO and WKAR; over the course of six months, students from five schools reported on local climate change impacts and how their communities are adapting to or mitigating these impacts. (Check out the 18 videos they made, which have been viewed over 100,000 times on YouTube, Facebook, and PBS video streaming!) About the NSS program, WHRO wrote:

Through this partnership, we have directly and positively impacted the journalistic education of local students and engaged our community on an issue that directly affects our residents. Solution-based reporting showcased through NOVA’s Weathering the Future led to positive conversations and seems to have more impact when compared to programs that lead audiences to feel helpless.

Finally, NOVA distributed outreach toolkits and materials to 58 community organizations across the country, which organized 17 local screening events. These events created opportunities for community-led conversations about solutions to local climate change impacts. NOVA encouraged organizations to invite local experts to speak to these local issues at their events, and received very positive feedback; nearly all attendees agreed that “this event has increased my interest in learning more about local adaptation strategies to extreme weather and climate change impacts in my community.”

The CO2 Foundation contributed a relatively small amount to this vast effort, and are thrilled to have had the opportunity to be part of a program with such a great reach and impact across the country. The ability to connect with this dedicated, incredible team of storytellers has been a joy, and we look forward to finding additional opportunities to support public media in telling important climate stories. In that vein, make sure to read the short piece about Drs. Calvin and Graubard, on pg. 23 of the September 2023 issue of GBH’s Explore magazine!