Genre: Events

Here are some of the ways you can embed environmental sustainability into event programming:

Interview with Liam Gallagher: Could you include talk around environmental in your VT?

1.

Use an environmental story as a filler segment

When writing segments for your show, could you include an environmental message? In coverage of motor racing, you could add a short insert that showcases the latest developments in electrical/hybrid technology. Or for music festival coverage, you might include a VT about the creative ways festivals and festival goers are reducing their environmental impact. This is a chance to enhance your programme with an environmental message without making it the main focal point.

Interview with Liam Gallagher: Could you include talk around environmental in your VT?
Smackdown Live (2019): WWE recently launched a brand new edition of the iconic championship belt. The prized accessory is made of 100% sustainable organic hemp and its plates are made from wood carved from a naturally fallen oak tree.

2.

Brief contributors to talk about their interests in sustainability

Let contributors know that you’re interested in their attitudes and actions on environmental sustainability. Prompt them to share this with your audience. It’ll bring a new message and face to the environmental movement and hopefully encourage your audience to join the action.

Smackdown Live (2019): WWE recently launched a brand new edition of the iconic championship belt. The prized accessory is made of 100% sustainable organic hemp and its plates are made from wood carved from a naturally fallen oak tree.
Lewis Hamilton: One of many celebrities who have publicly promoted veganism.

3.

Include contributors’ environmental engagements in commentary

Extend the research on your contributors to include what they have done, or are doing, to better the environment. It could be as exciting as an unlikely streak of activism, or the mention of a contestant’s conversion to veganism. Use this as commentary to help build a better picture of who they are while bringing a new face to the environmental movement that will encourage your audience to join the action

Lewis Hamilton: One of many celebrities who have publicly promoted veganism.

Genre: Current affairs

Here are some of the ways you can embed environmental sustainability into current affairs programming:

Dispatches: The Truth About Vegans (2019)

1.

Find the environmental angle in everything you’re investigating

Too often, climate change is the hidden story not being told. So, whether it’s the policies of opposing political parties or the impact of new buildings on neighbouring communities, find the environmental angle in your investigations. If you’re investigating public domains, such as banks or even supermarkets, question how their actions better (or worsen) the world around them. And show how, if at all, they are taking the climate into consideration through their business. By finding the sustainability angle, you will be bringing a fresh new take on stories that help the public better understand the world around them.

Dispatches: The Truth About Vegans (2019)
Lucy Siegel on The One Show

2.

Profile climate change facts

Help make the facts of climate change accessible and available to everyone. There’s a lot of misinformation and apprehension out there, which real facts can help dispel. Let people know that the consequences of climate change are real, that they’re close to home, and that there are a range of solutions that governments, businesses and we as individuals can act on to improve life on earth today.

Lucy Siegel on The One Show

3.

Include the solutions in your editorial

Raising the issues is a crucial step. But don’t stop there. Let your audiences know what they can do to help. If your programme mentions the plastic problem, make sure you also draw attention to reusable bags and cups, and ways to join movements and organisations that make change. It’s okay to show the problems, but when people don’t know what they can do about it, it can lead to fear and fatalism.  So, bring balance by showing that for every and any issue, there is something heroic that each of us can to help solve it.

Genre: Entertainment

Here are some of the ways you can embed environmental sustainability into entertainment programming:

Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman on Pointless

1.

Use it to develop contestant back stories

In entertainment, everybody has a back story. And saving the planet is a great one. Use environmental actions and experiences to build the profiles of your contestants. It’s a great opportunity to introduce a contestant’s beliefs and to add dimension in an interesting, contemporary way. And it’ll bring a new message and face to the environmental movement and hopefully encourage your audience to join the action.

Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman on Pointless
Pete Versus Life S1 E1 (2010): The episode makes a good point of showing the different actions people can take to better the earth.

2.

Understand the implications of everything you show

When commissioning content, think carefully about what you are promoting. Are you popularising negative environmental behaviours or positive ones? And what might the consequences of that be? By understanding the potential impact of everything you put on screen, you will be better able to create content that can both entertain the masses and improve the world around us.

Pete Versus Life S1 E1 (2010): The episode makes a good point of showing the different actions people can take to better the earth.

3.

Use props, scripts and questions to bring the topic to life

Just like anything you include in your production, environmentalism should be entertaining. Bring life to the topic by posing challenging questions that spark debate and discussion. Also use your props to add to the discussion. If your programming focuses on single-use coffee cups, let’s see them in the scene or better still, show its solution: reusable cups. Bring the topic to life through your visuals.

Genre: Popular factual

Here are some of the ways you can embed environmental sustainability into popular factual content:

 

 

 

Graham Norton talk show: Could you include guests on a talk show with an interest in environmentalism?

1.

Include contributors’ environmental credentials

Extend the research on your contributors to include what they have done, or are doing, to better the environment. It could be as exciting as an unlikely streak of activism, or the mention of a contestant’s conversion to veganism. Use this as commentary to help build a better picture of who they are while bringing a new message and face to the environmental movement that will encourage your audience to join the action.

Graham Norton talk show: Could you include guests on a talk show with an interest in environmentalism?
Eat Well for Less

2.

Brief contributors to talk about their interests in sustainability

As well as doing your own research, let contributors know that you’re interested in their attitudes and actions on environmental sustainability. Prompt them to share this with your audience. It’ll bring a new message and face to the environmental movement and hopefully encourage your audience to join the action.

Eat Well for Less
Jon Richardson Ultimate Worrier S1 E3: Food

3.

Feature issues and solutions as a segment or VT

A segment or VT is a great opportunity to enhance programming through environmental sustainability. So, in a show about fashion, add a segment on the latest sustainable fashion brands or the best way to upcycle clothing. Or in a cooking show, add a VT on the importance of sustainably sourced ingredients and where to find them or how to prevent food waste and save money.

Jon Richardson Ultimate Worrier S1 E3: Food
Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets (2018): Stacey Dooley investigates the damaging environmental impact caused by the world’s insatiable appetite for cheap clothing.

4.

Find the sustainability angle and include it

Look at events through the lens of sustainability and you’ll find the unexpected, untold story. From human migration and natural disasters to the cost of household energy, the carbon imprint of your commute and the price of your daily flat white, climate change is the hidden story not being told. Find the sustainability angle and you will be bringing a fresh new take on stories that help the public better understand the world around them.

Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets (2018): Stacey Dooley investigates the damaging environmental impact caused by the world’s insatiable appetite for cheap clothing.
BT Sport’s 100% Sport (2015): BT launched a global initiative to inspire sports fans all over the world to take action to tackle climate change with the simple action of switching to renewable energy.

5.

Take it beyond the screen

Once you’ve done the work to get environmental sustainability on screen, find ways to extend the conversation beyond it. When it comes to your digital marketing, you could create a social media campaign that promotes positive environmental behaviours. Or provide merchandise that helps people live more sustainably. Think organic or recycled cotton T-shirts, reusable coffee cups and refillable water bottles.

BT Sport’s 100% Sport (2015): BT launched a global initiative to inspire sports fans all over the world to take action to tackle climate change with the simple action of switching to renewable energy.
Generation Screwed? (2017): George Lamb travelled across the country for an insight into the lives of young Britain today.

6.

Use it as a tool to create debate

Give a voice to people with varying degrees of knowledge, from different walks of life, with different opinions about solutions (although steer clear from staunch climate deniers.) It’s with debate that we can open up the platform for real, productive dialogue around climate change.

Generation Screwed? (2017): George Lamb travelled across the country for an insight into the lives of young Britain today.

But remember…

Environmental sustainability issues are the stories of the 21st century with content opportunities like no other. They’re full of drama, conflict, compelling characters and controversies. However, some environmental-themed content falls at the first hurdle because it doesn’t meet the criteria for great, entertaining content. When you’re creating purposeful content, don’t let it distract you from what you do best:  telling a good story.

 

 

 

 

Ask yourself: does it pass The Planet Test?

A TV programme or Film would only pass The Planet Test if:

  1. It acknowledges the natural world actually exists
  2. Negative environmental behaviours are shown as negative character traits
  3. One person does something at least once to make the world a better place
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