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Rewriting the Script

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- Can the silver screen make us more green? With all our work focusing on greening the production process, we could easily forget that through Film and TV’s unique ability to both project and reflect society, studios also have the potential to promote and normalise sustainable behaviours amongst their audiences.
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This is not to say that we should be using every film as an opportunity for an environmental lecture, but rather writers must work to ensure unsustainable behaviours aren’t needlessly promoted on screen, unnecessarily warranting or even encouraging overconsumption and overreliance on fossil fuels – activities that, due to our consumerist society, are still often framed as aspirational. 

Imagine if the houses on Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane were clad with rooftop solar panels. What if The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly styled herself using a capsule wardrobe of just ten items of clothing? Or perhaps the coffee-addicted Gilmore Girls could enjoy their brew in reusable cups.

Unfortunately though, while it claims to be making waves in convention and pioneering progressive values, the film industry is dawdling when it comes to greening the silver screen. Greening production processes is a worthy endeavour, but if the industry is serious about reducing its impact, change needs to happen both off and on screen. In its 2020 Green Matters report, which evaluates current sustainability efforts throughout the UK film industry, the BFI note that whilst 57% of NBCUniversal features donated clothing from wardrobe and 43% used biodiesel heaters, only 14% incorporated environmental messaging on screen. As Sheila Morovati, founder of environmental nonprofit ‘Habits of Waste’ states, “What we put on screen is impacting the world, society, our oceans, our planet – because billions of people are exposed to it.” 

Written by: Laura Tendall

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