Greenery and foliage on the shore of a body of water. | Featured image for "Earth Focus"

Fueling Change: Two Neighboring Towns Pit the Legacy of Oil Against a Renewable Future

California is famous for implementing policies to protect the environment, yet it has also been one of the biggest crude oil producers in the country since the mid-19th century. Kern County supplies more than 60 percent of the state’s high demand for oil but reserves are running out, leaving only crude that is accessible through fracking methods. 

The mayors of the neighboring towns of Taft and Arvin face off on stark differences in their administrations’ priorities. While Taft mayor Dave Noerr promotes the economic benefits and practical realities of a society demanding petroleum, Arvin mayor Jose Gurrola advocates for the health of residents and their right to clean air and water.

Get the free PBS App

Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Tackling Ocean Challenges

Oceans support life, yet they are overfished, polluted, and, with global climate change, are becoming increasingly acidic.

  • 2019-10-14T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-14T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-16T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-18T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-18T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

Toxic Futures: Untold Stories of Chemical Pollution

(Earth Focus: Episode 56) Exposure to toxic chemicals affects people in both the industrialized and developing world. Earth Focus looks at how Toms River, a New Jersey town, fought back to save its drinking water from toxic waste dumping by dye manufacturer Ciba Geigy and by Union Carbide. Then, a look at the new film Amazon Gold, which addresses illegal gold mining in Peru and its tragic impact on human health and the environment.

  • 2019-10-15T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-15T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-17T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-19T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-19T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

Avocado Wars: The Battle Over Water Rights In Chile

The popular demand for avocados, once considered an “exotic” item, is having a devastating impact on a drought-stricken community in Chile. Lying within one of the largest avocado producing regions in the country, Petorca avocado plantations are in a battle over water rights, where claims of illegal water diversion are creating civil unrest.

  • 2019-10-16T18:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-20T11:30:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

Climate Migration

Populations are dramatically shifting as climate change drives migration. Droughts and floods are driving many people away from their rural, farming communities into big cities. We see how this is manifesting in Mongolia and examine the factors leading to the new community of Haitian people living in limbo at the border between Mexico and the U.S.

  • 2019-10-17T13:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

Meeting Tomorrow's Food Needs

(Earth Focus: Episode 48): With a changing climate, a growing population and anticipated fresh water shortages, our food production must evolve. In this episode of Earth Focus, a look at innovative research that is helping develop new and improved root systems for agriculture in stressed conditions, a new Swedish model for urban agriculture, the use of solar energy to power food production in the Himalayas, and an innovative truck farm in New York City.

  • 2019-10-21T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-21T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-23T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-25T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-25T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

Exposed: The Ugly Side of Food Production

Food and social justice. Human rights abuses, rape and corrupt practices in the Bangladesh shrimp industry. A report by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation uncovers the human and environmental cost of shrimp farming and shows why buying shrimp from Bangladesh where they are exposed to pesticides and injected with dirty water may be hazardous to your health. UK's The Ecologist investigates the plight of African migrant workers in Italy and looks how financial speculation is threatening the livelihood of Mexican farmers.

  • 2019-10-22T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-22T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-24T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-26T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-26T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

Building A Future: Lumber Poaching In Oregon and Brazil

Wood is found in countless products consumers use every day. In fact, lumber is closely connected to the world’s economy – a country’ s importation of lumber tends to rise in correlation with its gross domestic product. Following groups like “Guardians of the Forest,” we explore illegal lumber poaching in the forests of Brazil and Oregon, where citizens and scientists are working together to combat the illegal lumber trade.

  • 2019-10-23T18:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-27T11:30:00-07:00
    KCET-HD

City Planning

Two cities, San Francisco and Freetown, brace for climate change using vastly different methodologies. San Francisco's developers are building expensive real estate on floodplains as officials try to heed expert projections on future sea levels. On the other side of the world, a deadly mudslide caused by torrential rains and deforestation in Sierra Leone shows the consequences of city planning that doesn't take climate change into account.

  • 2019-10-24T13:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

Unsafe: The Truth Behind Everyday Chemicals

There are tens of thousands of chemicals in our air, water, and in the everyday products we use. They are largely unregulated and few are adequately tested for safety. They contribute to disease and are linked to conditions such as asthma, autism, ADHD, diabetes, cancers, infertility, cognitive disorders, obesity, reproductive disorders and birth defects. "Earth Focus" looks at endocrine disruptors, ubiquitous chemicals that affect development, metabolism, fertility and intelligence at extremely low doses and at what measures could be taken to better ensure public safety.

  • 2019-10-28T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-28T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-30T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-01T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-01T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

Exposed: Killing Dolphins-Dying for Lobsters

Thousands of dolphins are killed solely for shark bait each year off the coast of Peru. An upsurge in shark meat consumption in Peru and the rise in the cost of fish bait has helped drive the hunt to as many as 10,000 dolphins killed each year according to some estimates. Jim Wickens documents this illegal practice in an original undercover investigation for "Earth Focus."

  • 2019-10-29T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-29T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-10-31T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-02T00:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-02T04:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

Dairy Alternatives: Rethinking Milk In California and Kenya

The realities of milk production are forcing dairy communities across the globe to rethink the dairy production process. In this episode, we travel to a village in Kenya where the commercialization of camel milk is proving a sustainable solution in the face of drought. In Northern California, the heart of the U.S. dairy industry is finding innovative alternatives to limit the use of water and manure emissions.

  • 2019-10-30T18:30:00-07:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-03T11:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-11-09T02:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD
  • 2019-11-09T15:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD

Adaptation to Global Water Shortages

Anticipating future water needs, two regions on opposite sides of the world turn to technology for answers. Western Morocco, near the Sahara Desert, is currently facing unprecedented drought and groundwater mismanagement. But an ancient method of gathering moisture from fog is being taught to 13 villages, allowing people to have a level of local control over their most basic need. In Central Valley, California, the food basket of the world uses nearly 80 percent of the entire state's water supply.

  • 2019-10-31T13:00:00-07:00
    KCETLINK

Fueling Change: Oil Extraction in Alaska and California

The global demand for oil and gas has long-lasting impacts on the communities that supply it. In Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, powerful native communities are at odds over an oil exploration and drilling plan that will boost their economy but have long-term consequences on native species and their environment. In California’s Kern County, the mayors of two neighboring towns face off on the economic benefits and health risks of oil production and their vastly different visions for the most sustainable path to the future.

  • 2019-11-03T23:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-04T03:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-05T23:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-07T23:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-08T03:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK

Illicit Ivory

Every twenty minutes an elephant is killed to feed an insatiable demand for ivory. African elephants may be gone in as little as ten years. Behind the slaughter are the most dangerous groups in the world – organized crime syndicates, insurgents and terrorists. Ivory buys guns and ammunition for Uganda's Lord’s Resistance Army and Sudan's Janjaweed, both linked to mass atrocities and supports al Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate behind the attacks on Kenya’s Westgate Mall and Garissa University.

  • 2019-11-04T23:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-05T03:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-06T23:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-08T23:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-09T03:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK

Lighting A Path: Embracing Solar Power In California and Zanzibar

Solar power is changing lives in unexpected places. At the Barefoot College in Zanzibar, Muslim women who have traditionally been marginalized in the workforce are learning solar installation and bringing it back to their villages, which are primarily powered by candles and paraffin lamps. In East Los Angeles, formerly incarcerated individuals are finding green job opportunities as they transition underserved communities into solar power.

  • 2019-11-06T17:30:00-08:00
    KCETLINK
  • 2019-11-10T11:00:00-08:00
    KCET-HD