Climate Matters: Working for a Cooler Planet

By April 29, 2007Documentary, Featured

Star reporter Lee West investigates the confusing world of carbon offsets in the latest series of reports on the environment, produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Media Factory.

    Climate Matters: Working for a Cooler Planet

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Climate Matters: How To Save The Environment

This five-minute TV program focuses on how young people can effect change on the environment.

Artist and pro skateboarder Lee West hosts a series of short TV programs that show young viewers (ages 12-25) how to effect environmental change.

In the pilot video, Lee West investigates the confusing world of carbon offsets, a plan that allows people to invest in renewable energy such as wind, wave or solar projects to offset their carbon usage. West asks tough questions, such as “Where is the money going and how does it help save the environment?”

Shot, edited and cut in the style of a music video, the program features West’s skating and tricks. West explores complex topics in an interesting, hip, and easy-to-understand way.

The objective of the series is to spur young viewers into effecting environmental change by altering their lifestyle and informing their purchasing decisions.

The series will examine how people can make recycling, energy usage and transportation decisions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Other programs in development include a look at the hybrid, bio-diesel, and low-emission vehicles called “Pimp my Prius,” a guide on how to eliminate paper-based junk mail called “Kill Snail Mail,” and a guide to low cost DIY Solar Solutions called “Lighting Up.”

“Pimp my Prius”: A guide to new range of hybrid, bio-diesel and electric cars coming on the market. It will reveal which systems are actually environmentally friendly, and which are simply greenwashed. For example, certain types of bio-fuels produce up to 10 times more carbon than petroleum.

“Kill Snail Mail”: Each year we produce 4 million tons of junk mail, consume 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water. “Kill Snail Mail” is a guide to the numerous tactics that need to be employed to stop junk mail marketers. The investigative element in this report includes how to find out what companies are making money from selling your name to junk mail marketers.

“Lighting Up”: A guide to the emerging market of low-cost solutions to reducing energy consumption. “Lighting Up” goes a step further by recommending consumers to swap their incandescent light bulbs for newer energy-saving ones. It also shows other techniques such as building water heaters and using low cost solar panels to augment the energy supply.

Produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Media Factory, the series explores some of the myths of the environmental movement. For example, it is widely believed that bio-diesel offers a green alternative to fossil fuels, yet often the production of bio-fuel harms the environment. The series will be shot in the San Francisco Bay Area, a US environmental capitol and key player in the production of new green technology.

Episode 1: The Confusing World of Carbon Offsets


Tom Arnold – TerraPass Inc.: A company that provides carbon offsets to the public.

Bryan Cole – Cliff Bar: The energy bar company has a not- for-profit division that sells carbon offsets.

Rachael Woods – Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. Like many resorts Alpine sells not-for-profit carbon offsets with its lift tickets.

Bill Barclay – Rain Forest Action Network: A nonprofit that has been battling environmental destruction for many years.

The program covers the following issues.
(1) What are carbon offsets?
(2) Where can you buy them?
(3) How much do they cost?
(4) Where does that money go?
(5) What are the advantages of carbon credits
(6) What are the disadvantages?
(7) Does that really help you save the environment?
(8) Are they simply the indulgences of the rich?

Host: Lee West
Producer/Director: Niall McKay
Production company: The Media Factory and the Center for Investigative Reporting

Center for Investigative Reporting:
The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting investigative journalism in the mainstream media. CIR is part of the solution, injecting tough but fair investigative reporting into the news media, by: INVESTING in promising stories at their earliest stages to give them a chance in the news marketplace. PRODUCING major investigative projects for television, radio, print and the Web. PROMOTING the best investigations to maximize their impact with policy makers and the public. In the past CIR has co-produced many PBS’s Frontline documentaries, NPR radio programs, and investigations with publications such as The Nation, Salon and The New York Times.

The Media Factory
The Media Factory specializes in producing short and long form documentaries, drama and television programming for broadcasters such as PBS, the Discovery Channel, and Atom Films. The company is also a leader in producing digital video content for podcasts, vodcasts, and the emerging mobile device marketplace.


Niall McKay
The Media Factory
+1 510 638 4871