Bringing Climate to the Screen!

Happy Earth Day, all! Apologies for the late delivery — I was traveling today to a climate action in Helena with 350 Montana. We need a fossil free federal reserve!

This week felt like a watershed moment in climate culture, because the Good Energy Playbook was finally released to great fanfare! The Good Energy Playbook is a project to guide movie and television writers in making climate conscious content that was founded by storyteller and activist Anna Jane Joyner. With a diverse team and buy-in from a wide swath of climate organizations, this playbook is the real deal.

To my knowledge, I am the only columnist specifically dedicated to examining the intersections of climate and pop culture… so as an industry expert, let me say that I’m stoked! Good Energy Playbook’s seeks to address a very real problem — the lack of stories about the crisis unfolding around us. For almost a year now, I’ve tried to cover all of these stories. Perhaps you’ve recognized that sometimes I need to grasp at straws? Or cover the lack of climate culture? Well, that’s because according to their research, only .56% of scripted TV and films released between 2016 and 2020 mention climate change. This is absurd!

The playbook provides an answer, with everything you (and screenwriters) around the world need to get started, including: different ways of addressing climate (they highlight climate placement, climate mentions, climate worlds, and climate characters), research, a list of inspirational experts, real world examples, and more in-depth screenwriting tips. I could not dream up a better resource if I’ve tried.

The times that I’ve called for shows like a workplace drama about pipeline protestors, or ta teen soap about school strikers? A crime procedural racing to collect evidence before a climate disaster strikes or a comedy about climate grief? I’m hopeful that this playbook can make them a reality.

No matter whether you’re a writer or a watcher, I’d encourage you to check it out. It will open your eyes to the future that’s possible. It’s truly has good energy (vibes).

I’d like to close out with a quote from screenwriter and producer Dorothy Fortenberry featured on the website.

If climate isn’t in your story, it’s science fiction.”

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