1.

Reference it creatively

It could be a reference to the natural world, like the stars in the sky, or lack thereof (think pollution). Or maybe, it’s your character borrowing an outfit from a friend rather than buying a new one . Either way, just acknowledge the natural world in your script. It doesn’t have to take centre stage or be an entire story about climate change. The important thing is just to reference the environment in a way that doesn’t disrupt your story.

Misfits S2 E4 (2010): The loveable character Ollie Banley became involved in a community payback scheme after vandalising a coal-fired station over carbon emissions.

2.

Use it to develop characters

You can use environmental sustainability as a way to distinguish and define your characters in an interesting, contemporary way. Show compassion and openness through actions or concerns about the environment. Or show greed and carelessness through a disregard of it. You could use environmentalism to add conflict to a seemingly villainous character by making them sensitive to the world around them.

Misfits S2 E4 (2010): The loveable character Ollie Banley became involved in a community payback scheme after vandalising a coal-fired station over carbon emissions.
Black Mirror S3 E6: Hated in the Nation (2016): The episode does a great job of pointing out the irreplaceable role of bees in the protection (or in this case destruction) of our environment.

3.

Build it into your narrative

From protests to paper straws, more people (especially millennials and Gen Zs)  are demonstrating their commitment to the environment (see Collective action). Create content that speaks to this new and growing audience by building environmental sustainability into your narrative. You could write an exciting plot around the environmental crisis or uncover an inspiring story about the people who are creating new climate solutions.

Black Mirror S3 E6: Hated in the Nation (2016): The episode does a great job of pointing out the irreplaceable role of bees in the protection (or in this case destruction) of our environment.

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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