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Department Hosts Screening of 'Becoming California'

Becoming California
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Last fall, the Social Sciences Department hosted a screening of a new documentary, ‘Becoming California: Environmental Change on America’s Western Edge.’ Producer Kit Tyler and Executive Producer Jeffrey White attended the screening and answered questions from the audience afterwards.

Narrated by award-winning actress Jane Fonda, the documentary is presented in three acts: “Assembling California,” “Reinventing California,” and “Reconciling California.” Throughout the film, audiences gain an understanding of the evolution of the state’s environment, moving from its original natural state to its reinvention as a result of ever-increasing human populations and resource exploitation. The documentary strives to show how people and nature can meet halfway for a more sustainable future.

The film is the product of 10 years of work by a group of California State University and University of California scholars who sought to produce a scientifically grounded and visually stunning documentary on the history and future of California’s environment.

The film begins in deep geologic time, explaining the slow evolution of California’s natural landscape, and progresses through to its settlement 13,000 years ago by Native Californians. It then documents the extensive environmental changes associated with Euro-American settlement.

Department Chair Terry Jones was a member of the film’s Advisory Board, and he served as the archaeological consultant for the project. Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts and College of Science & Mathematics contributed funding for the production.

After the initial screening, the film was broadcast on Public Television affiliates all over the U.S. In spring 2015 it earned two Emmy awards.

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