By Lauren Selman of Reel Green Media

One of the most influential players in the success of this new environmental movement is entertainment and media. From movies to plays, to magazines and webisodes, entertainment and media frame what is happening in the world in a creative way in order to make the message more available. Entertainers by nature are our society’s storytellers and have the unique talent of raising social issues, showing the unseen and challenging us to think differently. Believe it or not, as the recession creeps at a petty pace, people are still going out to the movies and catching a play here or there. As the world gets harder to face, entertainment serves as a means for us to escape realty and look at our world a little differently.

When it comes to the environment, entertainment serves as an integral vehicle of change and information. Think about it. When the message of global warming went to the silver screen with “An Inconvenient Truth,” people began to pay attention. When celebrities started sporting hybrids and dressing in organic threads, more and more people are “going green.” Previously environmentalists were a select few who participated in protests and ate things called organic foods, but today the faces of environmentalism are celebrities who have taken a stand to protect the environment like Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Alicia Silverstone, Bette Midler, Edward Norton, Julia Roberts and George Clooney. Many members of the community serve on the boards of various environmental groups, while others donate and/or host fundraisers for specific organizations.

When looking at environmental entertainment, there are two areas to explore—content and production. Environment Content is when the message, script and theme of the story carries environmental importance. Think of this like the environmental documentaries, network television how-to shows and “green” programming. Whereas Environmental Production, the less explored area of this topic, is focused on what does it take to make the content—the energy used, the water consumed, the miles traveled and the overall footprint of a movie, play, commercial or television show. Increasingly, this is beginning to change. Filmmakers, theater owners and big production studios are taking on climate change by adopting environmental practices into their means of production, but more can always be done.

If we look at the environment as being the context in which entertainment is created, we can begin to see a larger picture of the environmental impact of filmmaking.

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