While the average viewer may not realise it, producing their favourite films and TV shows has a significant impact on the environment. One such impact is the effect on the climate. With the average ‘tent-pole’ production producing 2,840 tonnes of carbon dioxide (1), leading to an increase in the effects of climate change and ultimately a decrease in global biodiversity. Film production can also have a more direct impact. While shooting, particularly in remote locations, productions often damage the natural world through careless practices. For example, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015), was accused of causing lasting damage to sensitive areas of the Namibian desert, negatively affecting the rare reptile and cacti populations that live there (2). ‘Pirates of the caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ (2017) has also come under fire for harming the environment, through spilling of chemical waste into a creek in Australia (3).
However, it’s not all bad news! Some films, such as nature documentaries, are powerful tools for promoting sustainable behaviours to massive audiences. This phenomenon has even been dubbed ‘The Attenborough Effect’ (4) and was highlighted as one of the main drivers in a 53% decrease in single use plastics after the release of ‘Blue Planet II’ (5).
So how can the film industry reduce its negative impacts? Well, there are many ways productions can be more sustainable. For example, by using greener equipment, like swapping out diesel generators for battery powered alternatives (6). Or taking advantage of innovative technology, such as ‘Volume Stages’ being used in substitute of shooting in remote and potentially sensitive locations (7).
Through these and many more sustainable methods, we believe there is a future where film and the environment share a harmonious relationship, reflective of the films we love. We understand there’s a long road ahead but we hope we can count on your support to get there.
WRITTEN BY: Tom McAleese
- A screen new deal a route map to sustainable film production – Arup
- Mad Max: Fury Road sparks real-life fury with claims of damage to desert
- Eats, shoots and leaves: what the movie industry does to ‘location’ – Griffith Sciences Impact
- The Attenborough Effect: What Our Planet has taught us about our seas
- ‘The Attenborough Effect’: 53% of people report using less plastic | Metro News
- The Generator Project – Resources
- Industrial Light & Magic’s Digital StageCraft Technology: What We Know About the Volume