On-Air Highlights

Shattered Sky: The Battle for Energy, Economy, and Environment

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Oct 24, 2012 3:17 PM

Thirty years ago, scientists reported a hole in the ozone layer “the size of North America.” The culprits were man-made chemicals called CFCs, which were prevalent in billions of dollars worth of refrigeration, air conditioning and other products that had revolutionized America’s way of life. With doctors forecasting skyrocketing cancer rates if changes weren’t made, the stakes were literally “life as we know it.’” Yet companies remained bitterly opposed to changing their products. Politicians were slow to act. Like with today’s CO2 emissions, an invisible compound was threatening the Earth’s life-support systems, but a solution seemed beyond reach. Eerily reminiscent of today’s energy and climate crisis, Shattered Sky tells the story of how America led the world in solving the biggest environmental crisis ever seen. Directed and produced by Steve Dorst and Dan Evans.

Shattered Sky, traces the unfolding drama of the ozone crisis through archival footage, as well as revealing interviews with key players. In 1974, chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, the gas found in billions of dollars worth of products like aerosol sprays, air-conditioning and refrigeration, were linked to the destruction of the protective ozone layer. Scientists warned of catastrophic consequences, including skyrocketing skin cancer rates. But lawmakers were slow to respond and business was reluctant to change.
The issue captured the public's attention. When consumers stopped buying aerosol products and flooded Congress with letters, it led to a ban on CFCs. But that wasn't enough. In 1985, a hole in the ozone layer the size of North America was discovered. The film reveals this milestone as a turning point, both in public consciousness and policy response. Two years later the United States led the world to a historic solution, and businesses developed replacements for CFCs, demonstrating that government regulation can lead to innovation.

Join witf for Shattered Sky Thursday at 8pm. A repeat will air Sunday at noon.

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