Photo of Barbara Y.E. Pyle
Barbara Y. E. Pyle (NC ’69)
For over four decades, Barbara Y. E. Pyle has bridged the work of the entertainment and news industry with that of the environmentalist movement as an executive producer, filmmaker, photographer, media innovator and environmental activist.
After graduating from Newcomb College in 1969, Pyle worked as a photojournalist producing photo essays for NBC News nationally and locally in New York. After meeting future collaborator Ted Turner, Pyle was hired as Vice President of Environmental Policy at TBS. This appointment made her the first corporate executive in the world to have ‘environment’ in their title. Pyle served over two decades in this role, and was responsible for creation of the Turner
Environment Division and setting the company’s environmental broadcast agenda. Simultaneously, Pyle served as the Environmental Editor at CNN, where she introduced and oversaw environmental news reporting and programming on both CNN and TBS. Notably, Pyle worked as executive producer of the award-winning show People Count, which put a face on global issues addressed by a series of United Nations summits.
In 1989, Pyle and Turner created the series Captain Planet and the Planeteers, an animated series that could yield a generation of environmentally-literate youth. The series launched in September 1990 and ran for six seasons with a total of 113 episodes. Featuring celebrity voices such as Whoopi Goldberg, LeVar Burton, Meg Ryan, Jeff Goldblum, Tim Curry, Ed Asner, John Ratzenberger, Martin Sheen, and Dean Stockwell, the series was met with critical acclaim and became massively popular amongst youth. The series was No. 1 in Nielsen ratings for five consecutive years, was syndicated in 220 U.S. markets, and aired in over 100 countries. Pyle required that the series’ merchandising was made sustainably.
Pyle has traveled the world documenting real-life solutions in support of the United Nations Global Summits and Conferences. In 1997, she became the only non-scientist to be awarded the prestigious United Nations Sasakawa Prize for her lifelong global contribution to the protection of the environment.