Produced by the network’s news division, NJTV News, the documentary is a local companion to PBS’s national Sinking Cities series, produced by WNET’s Peril and Promise initiative
June 17, 2019 – NEWARK, NJ – NJTV, New Jersey’s public television network, explores climate change and its impact on New Jersey in a new documentary special, Facing the Future, premiering Wednesday, June 26 at 8pm on NJTV (check local listings).
Facing the Future, a half-hour documentary produced by the network’s news division, NJTV News, is hosted by its news anchor Mary Alice Williams and reports on the topic of climate change from several vantage points. It is a local companion program to PBS’s national Sinking Cities series, which is produced by WNET’s Peril and Promise initiative.
“The topic of climate change is relevant to every New Jerseyan,” said NJTV General Manager John Servidio. “Hurricane Sandy taught us all a lesson in the vulnerability of a coastal state like ours to the forces of nature; this program shows how innovative communities and thought leaders are working together to discover solutions for the greater good as we face the future.”
The program begins with an assessment of the over-arching local and global climate issues and threats, including the prospect of the drastic “doomsday scenario.” Among those experts lending their expertise on the subject is Dr. Robert Kopp, Director of the Institute of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences of Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
The documentary continues by digging deeper into what the topic means to the Garden State, examining local efforts to combat climate change and revealing plans for the future. Viewers will learn how New Jersey communities are working to protect themselves from the effects of climate change, from new building standards at Newark Airport to protecting tidal marshes and oyster reefs and planting more trees. And they will also hear about the state government’s efforts to tackle the issue, including discussion by Governor Phil Murphy’s administration to require 50 percent of the state’s power to come from clean renewables like wind and solar by the year 2050. But it’s Garden State citizens that will need to play a crucial roll according to Kopp.
“The state has launched a coastal resilience planning process,” Kopp says in the documentary. “It can’t be a top-down process. It really has to be a process that hears the voices of the people in our municipalities and leads to strategies that are owned by coastal communities.”
There is also a case study of Hoboken, a city hit especially hard during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 as two thirds of it is in what FEMA has designated a “flood zone.” Facing the Future tracks that city’s post-Sandy recovery projects and discusses its future planning efforts with the city’s Environmental Services Director Jennifer Gonzales about projects from rainwater collection and paver-installation to converting concrete parking lots into playgrounds.
To keep the discussion going, NJTV is hosting a livestreamed community forum in Cape May County this July on the topic of climate change, which will include clips from the documentary, expert commentary and Q&A from the public.
Major funding for Facing the Future was provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos with additional funding from Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III and The Marc Haas Foundation, as part of Peril and Promise. Sinking Cities was also supported by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and Viewers Like You. Additional funding for Peril and Promise is provided by Lise Strickler and Mark Gallogly. The views expressed in the programming do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.