ARLINGTON, VA; April 26, 2023 – HUMAN FOOTPRINT, a new six-part science documentary, premieres Wednesdays, July 5 – August 9, at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS App. Hosted by biologist and Princeton University professor Shane Campbell-Staton, Ph.D., this part-science, part-travel series takes viewers from high-tech labs to sweltering street markets, from farms to restaurants, and from primeval forests to the back alleys of New York to explore the ways humans are transforming the planet – and what those transformations tell us about who we are as a species. HUMAN FOOTPRINT is a visually stunning series set to an original score by legendary hip-hop and jazz producer Adrian Younge.
In 4.5 billion years, the planet has never experienced anything like humans; we are no ordinary organism. Even our most basic needs — food, water, and shelter — place a staggering burden on the planet’s resources. Through unique interactions with an eclectic cast of characters – from scientists and historians to rat exterminators and dog dancing gurus – Shane discovers the complex motivations behind our impacts and unveils opportunities for a less lopsided coexistence.
Each episode of HUMAN FOOTPRINT is built on a foundation of science, but the biggest lessons are about human nature. The series is not a “doom and gloom” tale of human villainy. Instead, it is an honest reckoning with our vast footprint and our species’ singular history of transforming the planet. The series’ six episodes cover a wide range of topics: invasive species that are both deeply devastating to ecosystems and critical components of culture; how it came to pass that once-wild wolves now work, sleep, and dance (that’s right, dance) alongside us; how five species that met our needs have hitched a ride along with us to global domination; the way that modern cities are both deadly and delightful for their inhabitants; and the science and history behind a crop with an outsized impact on culture – cotton.