Becoming California

A Documentary About Environmental Change


Narrated by Jane Fonda and with original music by Pat Metheny, Becoming California is an Emmy-Award winning public television documentary about environmental change on America’s western edge.

Broadcasting nationally on PBS!

From the fog shrouded redwoods of the northern coast to the sun drenched deserts of the south, Becoming California is the story of natural change across deep time – how colliding land forms interact with the ocean and atmosphere to create one of the most beautiful, diverse and biologically rich places on earth.  It is also the modern, cautionary tale of human transformation, in which California’s natural wealth is mined with textbook abandon.  But these stories of change – ancient and modern, natural and human – are merely the preface to an even greater story: the California of tomorrow.

Using California as its inspiration, the film resonates on a national and international level as it tackles one of the most important questions of our time:

Can nature and civilization coexist? 

Becoming California examines this question by exploring California’s tremendously diverse, beautiful and yet astonishingly transformed environments, as well as through compelling interviews with top scientists, educators and business leaders, as well as stories of how Californians today are discovering ways to forge new partnerships with nature.

Becoming California takes a fresh approach to our modern environmental dilemma; it shows how the needs of nature can be reconciled with the demands of civilization… sustainable environmental change not just for nature, but for people too.

Award winning Producer/Director Kit Tyler brings these stories to life through stunning cinematography, astonishing aerials from across the state, over 40 interviews with top scientists, educators and business leaders, and through personal and inspiring stories of how everyday Californians are creating a new and hopeful story – one in which we reconcile the needs of nature with the demands of civilization.



Narrator – Jane Fonda

Music Composer – Pat Metheny

Producer/Director – Kit Tyler

Executive Producers – Jim BaxterJeffrey White

Writers – Kit Tyler, Richard York

Animator – Richard Tsai

Graphic Designer – Lynne York

  1. It’d be nice if there were links to the more natural yard options discussed in the documentary. I was only able to catch a few pieces, but would like to change my lawn and wasn’t able to figure out the ‘how.’

  2. I wanted to see the story embrace California’s unique role creating market-based conservation incentives. The segment on San Diego’s MSCP was leading in that direction. The region was the first to initiate compensatory mitigation programs for species (gnat catcher) and habitat (coastal sage) in the late ’90s. Since then California’s conservation banking program has become not only a remarkable tale of market-based ‘reconciliation’, but a story of revaluing land based on potential ecological assets that representing a substantial source of conservation based revenues.

  3. Jack Schlotte

    This has to beone of the best documentries I have ever seen on TV. The photography, the science and the hopefulness about our future are all superb and depicted with clarity and purpose. I do hope that this can be made available to educators at all levels throughout California and other states interested in developing similar stratgies to improve their environmental connectedness and increase the participation of their citizenry. I was involved in the 6 years of surveying and research for San Diego’s Bisd Atlas project, which was used in developing the standards and parameters of the M.S.C.P. I was so glad to see San Diego highlighted for its role in protecting its environment in such a comprehensive way. This film needs the widest possible distributionh to further its critical aims and enlist a new generation in fostering this level of environmental concern and action. Bravo to everyone involved in the conception, filming and production of this great educational and inspiring film.

  4. Barbara

    I had the opportunity to preview Becoming California and fill out a survey. I was thrilled to see the final production the other night on PBS and hope that it airs again so that my friends can see it also. I remain very impressed with every aspect of this film. The photography is terrific and the message is sincere and well thought out. I love California and have mourned the loss of so much that we had. Your film gives me hope we can recover. At 78 I am one of the few remaining Californians that remember how things were and how they have changed. Thank you so much for bringing the historical perspective of this beautiful piece of the world to national attention. Perhaps people will stop and think before they give another permit to shave off the top of a mountain to build another subdivision or to pour asphalt over productive lands. I remain hopeful that we will someday be able to recover at least some of what we have lost. I am so happy that you have given the world a perspective of what has been lost because there are few of us left that remember what was once there in such glorious abundance.

  5. Rich Hall

    I watched this program and greatly enjoyed it. Beautiful, informative, and provocative in the best sense.

    Then I thought to share it with my daughter, a civil engineer working in the Bay Area. She, like so many people of her age bracket, does not have cable television. All of her information comes in through a high speed internet connection. Is there any way for her to see this show? If not, I am stunned.

    Thanks for creating great content that is of service to the public good.

  6. Becoming California is available for any PBS station nationally to broadcast. Outside of California, stations in Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Kansas and Florida are airing the program. We hope east coast stations will begin to pick it too! If you’d like to see it air on WETA, contact the station and tell them you’d like them to air it!

  7. Joe, I’m sorry you missed the program last night. You’re right that the other KQED broadcasts are in SD. My understanding is that KQED will be re-broadcasting the show again in HD but I don’t know when. Unfortunately, the program is not available on iTunes. But you can purchase a DVD or Blu-ray of the program on our project website at

  8. Dolores Bravo

    As a high school teacher of Environmental Science AP and Biology AP in Southern California, I would love to get my hands on this documentary! Clearly, educators would be overjoyed and appreciative if the DVD was made available at no cost to interested classroom teachers who already spend hundreds on their students. Thanks for making an important and timely documentary on CA’s environmental health, looking forward to seeing it air on TV.

  9. Virginia

    Excellent program and good information… how we can “reconcile” with nature. Well done. Only sorry it was broadcast so late in day..but see it reruns tonight at 9 PM. Hope the school children get to see it..maybe somehow distribute it to the schools..hopefull.
    Thanks Virginia

  10. Joe Collins

    I missed it on KQED last night and the next few showings are in SD only. When will the program be available to watch again in HD or to buy the HD format on iTunes?

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