About the Documentary
Winner of the DuPont-Columbia University award for outstanding journalism, Beyond the Light Switch took viewers on an enlightening and comprehensive journey of discovery into the inner workings of our existing energy infrastructure. Guided by an independent advisory panel, Beyond the Light Switch investigates whether the United States can completely transform its existing energy landscape before it's too late...
While the future of the United States' energy economy remains uncertain, many difficult decisions will soon need to be made. The documentary explores the possible paths forward including coal, natural gas, renewables, natural gas, solar, the “super grid” and others to determine what achieves the goals, creates jobs and gains a measure of energy security.
Woven throughout each episode of Beyond the Light Switch is a provocative story structure focused on:
- Leveraging innovative electricity generation & distribution technologies into a new economic driver for the U.S.
- Weaning the U.S. from a disproportionate reliance on foreign sources of fuel and electricity
- Knowing that future electricity generation on a global scale must take Climate Change into consideration as new technologies and policies are developed and implemented
By drawing together the most knowledgeable sources and asking the tough questions, Beyond the Light Switch provides a much needed balanced perspective to the critical issues surrounding the future of energy in the United States.
About the Corps of Discovery
Detroit Public Television has partnered with the University of Idaho to form the Corps of Discovery research project, a joint venture in education and broadcasting designed to promote the central idea of worldwide sustainability. Using the broadcast reach of America’s largest public media enterprise (PBS) combined with academic support and educational engagement from two of the nation’s leading universities, (University of Idaho and Washington State University) The Corps of Discovery endeavors to harness fast-evolving technological mediums in order to create a uniquely bipartisan dialogue on sustainability, environment and energy in the US and worldwide.
In the words of project partner Professor Greg Möller, the Corps of Discovery approach is “a case study in new media singularity for sustainability—crossing institutional domains—where unbiased digital data and resources are rapidly researched and reviewed, supporting a broadcast outreach for national and international public engagement.”
The Corps of Discovery project aims to circumvent the political stalemate of bipartisan posturing by creating a media nexus of informative, entertaining and socially responsible stories addressing global sustainability. Such engagement is critical as our thought leaders and policymakers, and we as individuals, more forward in sustainability. It is not a static or one-way message: the goal is that of ongoing conversation and education regardless of age, creed, social status or political leaning. Simply by living on this planet you are necessarily involved in the discussion—that’s why the Corps of Discovery seeks to bring us all a little closer together.
About WTVS, Detroit's PBS station
PBS is the largest public media endeavor in the United States and has garnered a reputation of editorial excellence and social responsibility. It is uniquely independent of corporate aims or political partisanship, and as such it has a responsibility to provide content that is balanced, relevant and unequivocally unbiased.
Viewer-supported PBS member station Detroit Public Television (WTVS) serves the nation's 11th largest television market, and is carried on cable and satellite systems throughout Southeast Michigan and over a thousand communities in Canada. In 2011 they released Beyond the Light Switch, a documentary on the future of electricity and energy in the United States. The documentary won critical praise and the Dupont-Columbia Silver Baton Award for documentary filmmaking in 2012. This is just one piece in an ongoing puzzle of DPTV’s journalistic mission to confront hard-hitting issues of energy, sustainability and environmentalism in the modern world. For more information, please visit www.dptv.org.
Beyond the Light Switch is a broadcast documentary series and online initiative produced by WTVS Detroit Public Television.