Becoming California

A Documentary About Environmental Change


Narrated by Jane Fonda and with original music by Pat Metheny, Becoming California is a new public television documentary about environmental change on America’s western edge.

Premieres this September 10, 2014 on KQED in San Francisco and nationally on PBS September 24!

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.


From the theory of plate tectonics to climate change to the ever-changing tapestry of life, Assembling California explains how California came to be, how it naturally functions and how the accelerating pace of change may now signal widespread environmental collapse.


From early colonization to the Gold Rush to the dizzying pace of change today, Reinventing California tells how population growth, resource exploitation and technology transformed California into the richest, most populated and most radically changed region in North America.


From its forests to its deserts, its cities to its farms, to living architecture and more, Reconciling California shows how nature and civilization are no longer adversaries but partners in a statewide effort to engineer healthy functioning ecosystems amidst thriving economies.



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. 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

  2. virginia bertelsen

    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

  3. 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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