Hosted by Biologist Shane Campbell-Staton and Produced by Day’s Edge Productions, the Series Airs on PBS Wednesdays, July 5 – August 9
ARLINGTON, VA; April 26, 2023 – HUMAN FOOTPRINT, a new six-part science documentary, premieres Wednesdays, July 5 - August 9, at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS App. Hosted by biologist and Princeton University professor Shane Campbell-Staton, Ph.D., this part-science, part-travel series takes viewers from high-tech labs to sweltering street markets, from farms to restaurants, and from primeval forests to the back alleys of New York to explore the ways humans are transforming the planet – and what those transformations tell us about who we are as a species. HUMAN FOOTPRINT is a visually stunning series set to an original score by legendary hip-hop and jazz producer Adrian Younge.
“HUMAN FOOTPRINT is a modern and exciting addition to our growing slate of climate and environmental programming that will energize all audiences to engage in exploring the science that’s all around us,” said Bill Gardner, Vice President, Multiplatform Programming & Head of Development at PBS. “We’re proud to welcome Shane and HUMAN FOOTPRINT to our legacy of best-in-class, provocative science content that’s also relatable, relevant and a joy to watch.”
In 4.5 billion years, the planet has never experienced anything like humans; we are no ordinary organism. Even our most basic needs — food, water, and shelter — place a staggering burden on the planet’s resources. Through unique interactions with an eclectic cast of characters – from scientists and historians to rat exterminators and dog dancing gurus – Shane discovers the complex motivations behind our impacts and unveils opportunities for a less lopsided coexistence.
“Hosting HUMAN FOOTPRINT has been one of the greatest adventures of my life. I study how animals adapt to the changes we are making to planet, but this journey really helped me to better understand the depth and breadth of our impact,” Shane said. “We are so intricately connected to the world around us in so many ways. I hope this series helps others to see and think about those connections in new ways.”
Each episode of HUMAN FOOTPRINT is built on a foundation of science, but the biggest lessons are about human nature. The series is not a “doom and gloom” tale of human villainy. Instead, it is an honest reckoning with our vast footprint and our species’ singular history of transforming the planet. The series’ six episodes cover a wide range of topics: invasive species that are both deeply devastating to ecosystems and critical components of culture; how it came to pass that once-wild wolves now work, sleep, and dance (that’s right, dance) alongside us; how five species that met our needs have hitched a ride along with us to global domination; the way that modern cities are both deadly and delightful for their inhabitants; and the science and history behind a crop with an outsized impact on culture – cotton.
“We’re thrilled to share HUMAN FOOTPRINT and Dr. Shane Campbell-Staton with audiences around the world,” said Neil Losin, owner and senior producer at Day’s Edge. “Now is the time to ask the big questions about humanity’s past, present and future, and Shane’s knowledge, curiosity and humility make him the perfect guide for this unforgettable journey.”
Descriptions and broadcast dates for each of the six episodes are provided below:
“Strangers in Paradise”
Premieres Wednesday, July 5, at 9 p.m. ET
Invasive species are reshaping the world’s ecosystems, but who’s to blame? Shane wrestles a python, hunts a wild pig, and gets sucker-punched by a carp to answer the question: in the age of humans, how does our species decide what belongs?
Premieres Wednesday, July 12, at 9 p.m. ET
There is a killer inside us. Our biology, culture, technology, and economy have transformed our species into the world’s greatest predator. From Yellowstone to Mozambique, Shane explores our global impact as the planet’s Top Predator.
“Man’s Best Friend”
Premieres Wednesday, July 19, at 9 p.m. ET
Shane discovers why dogs are more than “Man’s Best Friend” – they have been reshaped by evolution into humans’ perfect partner. And just as we’ve transformed them, dogs have left an unmistakable pawprint on us – and the world we share.
Premieres Wednesday, July 26 at 9 p.m. ET
Shane explores the surprising science and unexpected histories of “The Replacements:” five animal and plant species that made allies of humans, grew to dominate the planet alongside us, and changed their destinies (and ours) forever.
“The Urban Jungle”
Premieres Wednesday, August 2, at 9 p.m. ET
In “The Urban Jungle,” Shane explores the modern city: an ecosystem built by and for us. He encounters three species thriving in the city, reckons with our complex urban history, and envisions a new and wilder urban future.
“The Ground Below”
Premieres Wednesday, August 9 at 9 p.m. ET
In an episode that hits close to home, Shane explores the history and science of cotton. A prehistoric coastline from North Carolina to Texas laid the foundation for a crop that re-shaped our history, our culture, and even our DNA.
HUMAN FOOTPRINT is produced by Day’s Edge Productions with Nate Dappen, Ph.D., and Neil Losin, Ph.D., as series producers and directors. Bill Gardner is executive in charge for PBS. HUMAN FOOTPRINT has been made possible in part through funding secured from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.
In addition to the broadcast, there will be an eight-part digital companion web series also titled HUMAN FOOTPRINT. Launching in July, the digital series and expands upon many stories featured throughout the broadcast with additional original scripted content, animations and new behind-the-scenes footage from Shane. The series will be released on PBS Terra, the home for PBS’s science and nature programming on YouTube.
This programming is part of a multiyear, multiplatform initiative from PBS that explores every aspect of how climate change impacts communities, countries and the entire planet. The comprehensive focus represents PBS’s biggest-ever commitment to the topic, providing a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding climate change and exploring its intersections with conservation, biodiversity and the ecosystem. PBS and its member stations will create a rich destination of storytelling that details the challenges of a changing climate while highlighting examples of hope and positive impact.
About Day’s Edge Productions
We are a full-featured broadcast-ready production company based in San Diego, CA. We specialize in telling stories about science, nature, conservation and adventure. Our team of Ph.D.-trained scientists and award-winning filmmakers is passionate about bringing cutting-edge science, inspiring stories, and important messages to broad audiences. Our projects range from broadcast series and specials, to webseries, to classroom and advocacy films. For more information, visit http://www.daysedge.com/.
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’s broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’s premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV — including a 24/7 channel — online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, Facebook, or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Communications on Twitter.