Broadcasting Now

The 51 Percent Project is a client of Boston University’s Hothouse Productions, an elite student team of television producers, directors, writers, and designers. BU’s College of Communication (COM) and Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) are partnering with Litton Entertainment, the major award-winning independent producer and distributor, and a division of Hearst Television.

The COM students’ three original public-service announcements (PSAs; details below) are informed by Sarah Finnie Robinson’s research: each video exhibits one or more climate-communications principle. The PSAs are currently broadcasting in 157 U.S. markets June through September, 2019, via Litton partners the CW Network, and KATZ Diginet. CBS will air the three PSAs in rotation June 15 through August 31. All in Litton’s edutainment block on Saturday mornings, 8am to 12 noon.

Data provided by Robinson, the Director of The 51 Percent Project and a senior fellow at ISE and recently appointed COM clinical professor. Fact-checked by ISE research fellow Josef Benzaoui. Fact sheet available on request.

Follow on Twitter via @LittonTV @SarahFRobinson @ISE_BU @COMatBU; use hashtags #EarthtoPeople #The51Percent. Read on to view the films, including the student-produced documentary, “Making of PSAs,” which tells the story of how the student filmmakers developed the PSA content.

We will update response here as the summer progresses!

For additional 51 Percent collaborations, click here.


Mother Nature

Brilliant construct has Mother Nature herself holding an intense emergency board meeting with her direct reports: Captain Wildfire, Professor Polar Vortex, Mr. Hurricane, Colonel Carbon, Agent Flood, Miss Plastic — and the Human Ambassador (pictured at left), who has a clever solution to propose.

This PSA takes a cue from the “Thing 1, Thing 2” principle of Climate Communications:

1) Offer the facts, even when they spell disaster

2) Promptly follow with a solution — preferably one that is massively impactful and already underway.


The Talk

A small climate-concerned girl has “the talk” with her dad, not about the birds and bees but about Climate Change. It’s a dramatic and timely scenario that imagines family conversations in family rooms all over the country. Americans of all ages are becoming more aware of Climate Change — and, impressively, data-savvy school children can sometimes present the facts with more eloquence than their elders.

This PSA elegantly demonstrates the “Trusted Messenger” principle of Climate Communications. Emerging research finds children can change their parents’ minds about climate change. Shifting your attitude is hard for many people, but our own trusted children, family, and friends can often be the key to an a-ha moment.

P.S. Click for the “Dad”’s response to seeing his PSA broadcast via Instagram!


The Love Planet

A lively game show provides the engaging context for three alternative views of our culture’s response to global warming. Bachelor number 1, “Mr. Fix It,” is the environmentally friendly choice. The second option, “Mr. Let It Be,” displays the shruggingly complacent “business as usual” (BAU) response track that the world is on today, despite scientists’ mandate for swift decarbonization. Slick and sleazy, “Mr. I Don’t Care” is Bachelor number 3.

“The Love Planet” utilizes a basic principle of behavioral science: Provide Choices. A handful of choices can highlight the best strategy while highlighting the inadequacies of alternatives.


Making of PSAs

This behind-the-scenes, student-produced documentary tells the fascinating story of how the Hothouse class developed and produced the three PSAs — and how the students became confident in their own ability to be part of the climate solution simply by talking about it in their own circles. Footage includes Sarah Finnie Robinson teaching the “Six Americas” framework developed by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

COM Student-Made PSAs Underscore the Urgency of Climate Crisis: Hothouse Productions work will be aired on nationwide TV this summer,” BU Today, Amy Laskowitz. June 6, 2019

The 51 Percent Project.” Hothouse Productions site at Boston University’s College of Communication

Litton Entertainment press release, March 19, 2019

Hothouse Partners with Litton Entertainment and The 51 Percent Project,” BU College of Communication.