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Why TV and film scripts need to stop ignoring Climate Crisis?

Why TV and film scripts need to stop ignoring Climate Crisis?

The firm Good Energy is the association in charge of studying the environmental impact generated by films and series produced in Hollywood both on and off the set; Therefore, it annually launches an investigation to measure the level of conversation around climate change in productions.

A study revealed that the climate crisis is no longer a topic that is touched on in Hollywood movies and series. Does that have any major impact?

The study focuses on tracking the level of representation of the climate crisis in scripted entertainment, that is, stories that are not necessarily documentaries or reality shows. However, figures from recent years show a low rating on global warming-related topics, as only 2.8% of 37,453 scripts used words related to the topic, while only 0.6% used the words “climate change” expressly.

On the other hand, only 10% of the audiovisual materials showed “extreme environmental changes” linked to some form of pollution, while 12% linked it to the use of fossil fuels.

CBS and HBO Max were cited as the TV platforms with the most mentions, with CBS addressing the topic in 7.5% of their projects and HBO Max in 6.4%.

Here’s just some of what that analysis found:

  • Only 2.8% of the scripts analyzed included any climate-related terms, such as “global warming,” “sea-level rise,” “solar panels,” etc.1
  • Even fewer (just 0.6%) explicitly mentioned the term “climate change.”
  • Only 10% of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, wildfires, or other climate-related disasters that were shown on screen were linked by writers in any way to climate change.
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“ Right now, most of the series and movies are located in alternate universes where there is no climate crisis. This study shows that the audience is beginning to feel disconnected from the subject”, commented Anna Jane Joyne, founder of Good Energy.

While the 2010s seem to have seen the biggest takeoff in conversations about climate change — Good Energy reported a total of 15.6% of scripts with some green theme — now the topic seems to have been all but forgotten.

However, it is important to remember that there have been other events that have impacted the narratives, including the situation of the pandemic, which has been addressed in various projects in the last couple of years.

Lot of myths or misconceptions about weather

  • The topic is too preachy, boring, or polarizing.
  • Climate stories have to be depressing or apocalyptic
  • Climate stories are necessarily a type of story at all, as opposed to a lens that we apply to all of our stories.
  • Screenwriters, some of whom live among Hollywood celebrities, must be ecological saints before they can broach this subject.

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