When you think about climate change, you don’t really consider the entertainment industry one of its major contributors. In fact, with so many celebrities campaigning for better emissions regulations and laws to punish polluting companies, how could they be bad for the environment? The United Nations terms climate change an “existential threat” since it has the potential to end life as we know it. It’s one of the most severe issues in our time. While scientists are still in debate about what can be done about it, an overwhelming majority agree that it is indeed a unique and possible world-changing phenomenon. But what does the entertainment industry have to do about that?
Influencing Opinions Through Performance
Hollywood is more than the place to land the best acting classes in the country. It’s a place where ideas are shared with the rest of the world. The Tampa Bay Times mentions that Hollywood’s reach has spanned hundreds of locations worldwide. With such a massive outreach and so many willing moviegoers, Tinseltown has the eyes and ears of most of the world. Not only are they in an ideal position to help spread the news about climate change, but to push for legislative changes in those places as well.
Yet that’s just the problem. Moviemakers and scriptwriters aren’t focusing on this existential threat enough. A few massive-budget films were developed to show the potential impact of massive and irreparable climate change, but those movies and TV shows are few and far between. As scary as this problem is, most people simply ignore it. Without the media supporting the position that climate change can be a real and awful reality, people will just forget about it. It’s moved beyond being a political debate and become a problem that’s inevitable and that many are unprepared to face.
An Inconvenient Truth
Most people remember Al Gore’s very vivid yet misguided attempt to highlight climate change in his documentary. It didn’t sell well, and even though some people saw it, most people didn’t bother because they preferred the comforting lie that everything would be alright. Hollywood (the entire entertainment industry, as a matter of fact) is a money-making business that caters to moviegoers. The truth is that moviegoers aren’t interested in seeing anything about climate change. Movies are an escape for many people, a chance to leave their lives behind two hours at a time to immerse themselves in a fantasy world. Who’d want a real-world problem like climate change to follow them there?
A Light In The Darkness
Despite the bleak outlook for Hollywood investing time and resources into a film that won’t sell, there’s hope that new filmmakers will be inspired by climate change. Dystopian horrors and apocalyptic scenarios aren’t all-new for Tinseltown. Yet most of the films that focus on this topic get swept under the rug. Some don’t show up well at the box office if they do get the advertising push behind them. Television and cable news seem to be taking the initiative. CNN and CBS, both massive news agencies in their own right, are stepping up their coverage of climate change. While these are small movements, they are still something. Now, if we can only stop celebrities from using their polluting private jets to attend charity galas, we might see more of a change.