2022 Digital Video Storytelling, Series, Small/Medium Newsroom finalist

Proof of Concept

About the Project

Science explains what’s happening with our climate — and it is essential in solving our climate crisis. The path to coming up with unorthodox and promising solutions to climate change are often filled with elements of the weird, the clever, and the random. Grist highlighted this messy, but necessary, process of discovery in its new video series, entitled Proof of Concept.

Our goal with these pieces was to show curious, personal, and solutions-driven stories behind concepts, like air pollution monitoring or utility scale batteries. The result was a four video series that involved:

*Youth scientists in one of Seattle’s most prominent environmental justice communities using moss to track down their neighborhood’s air pollution problems.
*A battery company uncovering a 30-plus-year-old research paper to create a utility-scale battery that runs on iron and salt.
*A high schooler whose science fair project paper transformed, two decades later, into an entirely new field of research.
*A geothermal project that will fire a type of laser to access energy from the largest volcano in the Pacific Northwest.

We used an engaging mix of on-location footage, archival films, maps, and original animations to create vivid depictions of the search for answers to our environmental problems. Lead Producer Jesse Nichols spent months researching leads, pre-interviewing sources, and scheduling reporting trips. Through his expertise and curiosity, he uncovered surprising links that add depth and nuance to important groundbreaking research. Senior Producer Daniel Penner, who edited and animated the series, provided remarkable visuals and meticulous notes to arrive at the final product.