A Glaring Absence: The Climate Crisis Is Virtually Nonexistent in Scripted Entertainment

Download the document from the USC Norman Lear Center Media Impact Project.

In 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that climate change is now accelerating faster than we can adapt to
it. Despite its long history of being politicized in the United States, research suggests a large majority of Americans are concerned about climate change, and this concern is increasing.

Entertainment narratives have the power to shape our understanding of the world around us and mobilize us to take action. Research has examined the prevalence and impact of a wide range of health and social issues in scripted entertainment (e.g., immigration, criminal justice, gun safety), but little is known about how often climate change is acknowledged, nor the extent
to which entertainment audiences are interested in these kinds of portrayals. To address this gap, the USC Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project (MIP) conducted a research project with support from Good Energy, a story consultancy for the age of climate change.

See also: Good Energy: A Playbook for Screenwriting in the Age of Climate Change

Meet the band of TV animals that’s talking to preschoolers about climate

Read the full story in the New York Times.

There are few books, shows or other tools to help parents and teachers talk to preschoolers about global warming. “Octonauts: Above and Beyond” is one of the first to try.

Good Energy: A Playbook for Screenwriting in the Age of Climate Change

Good Energy describes the playbook as a resource, “…for screenwriters and creatives—those who are steeped in the climate crisis and those who are learning about it. Whether you’re writing a screenplay, outlining a pilot, or working as an EP or assistant on the twenty-third season of a show (we see you, Grey’s Anatomy), this Playbook will help you bring your climate stories to life.”

The playbook includes expert-informed material and fictional “story seeds,” which are intended to show glimpses of the enormous menu of potential climate stories, which are legally free to use as a jumping-off point.

See also AP’s story about the project.

Charlie Brown and friends celebrate the environment

Read the full story at Treehugger.

Charlie Brown has had a bit of a frustrating relationship with the Earth. There’s that aggravating tree that always eats his kite. And one time his friends turned his beloved baseball field into a garden.

Through the years in the comic strip and in TV specials, the Peanuts gang has long cared for the Earth. And now this month, there are two new nature-related specials featuring Charlie and his pals for Earth Day and Arbor Day.

This play is touring Europe. But no one’s going anywhere.

Read the full story in the New York Times.

How can theaters adapt to prevent climate change? The British director Katie Mitchell and a Swiss playhouse have developed a new model for taking a production on the road.

There is a new boom in climate-related coverage and storytelling

Read the full story at Treehugger.

Is the climate crisis finally getting the attention it deserves?

Pop culture can no longer ignore our climate reality

Read the full story from Grist.

Stories set in the present or near future will have to include the realities of a warming world if they are to be at all believable.

Guster, My Morning Jacket, other musicians unite to make concert tours more sustainable

Read the full story at PBS News Hour.

From gas-guzzling tour buses to concession stands loaded with single-use plastic water bottles, concert tours aren’t exactly easy on the environment. But now, a movement to make touring more climate-friendly is empowering musicians to not only talk about issues like climate change, but actually take action. Special Correspondent Tom Casciato reports on a non-profit working to turn the music industry green.

K-pop fans want the Korean music industry to fight climate change

Read the full story at Kotaku. Learn more about Kpop4Planet here.

The Korea Times reports that the fans are asking for the companies to make concert tours more eco-friendly and to not use plastic for albums and merchandise. On Monday, the “Sustainable K-Entertainment” conference was held at the National Assembly in Seoul.

Coldplay set ‘sustainable and low-carbon’ stadium tour in support of ‘Music of the Spheres’

Read the full story in Rolling Stone. See also Coldplay’s tour website.

A day before Coldplay drop their new album Music of the Spheres, the band has announced a 2022 “sustainable and low-carbon” tour that will bring the new LP to stadiums around the world.

The Music of the Spheres Tour — kicking off March 18th, 2022 in Costa Rica — aims to cut direct emissions from Coldplay’s last tour in 2017 by 50%, as well as power each show entirely by renewable, super-low emission energy; that includes installing solar panels at each venue, “kinetic stadium floor and kinetic bikes powered by fans,” and transporting around a mobile, rechargeable show battery to store the energy.