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Climate change in TV and Film

12 October 2023

Research conducted in the US media market shows that only 0.56% of scripts on TV and films mention the term “climate change”. In the UK, the story may be slightly more positive, though there is still progress to be made. Research by albert looking at TV representations of climate change in 2020, found that “[w]hile terms describing the issue – climate change, climate emergency and climate crisis – had 14,540 mentions, those referring to tackling the problem – the term was used less frequently than “cake” and “dog”.

In recent years, the British Film Industry has declared a climate emergency and pledged to take action within the sector. Twelve broadcasters have also signed the Climate Content Pledge, convened by albert, to commit to using content to inspire and inform audiences about climate change.

Good Energy Stories published a report outlining how there is audience demand for climate storylines and characters who match their concern for climate change in the US.

Recommendations include: showing climate content in a variety of genres, beyond only dramas, connecting the dots between climate change and its causes and impacts, giving voice to climate anxiety, showing intersections with overlapping crises, and showing realistic actions being taken.

As Good Energy Stories write: “portraying behaviors on-screen can shift cultural norms and lead to real change. Decades of research in media psychology show that what we watch on-screen has an impact on our lives—whether it’s our body image, our desensitization to violence, or even the kind of wine we drink.

The image is a clip of a full page from an albert report, showing the frequency of mentions of different terms on British tv subtitling.

Reference article:

  • Source: Good Energy Stories
  • Authors: Soraya Giaccardi, Adam Rogers, Erica L Rosenthal
  • Date: 12th October 2022

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