On the surface, Hollywood celebrities, such as Leonardo Dicaprio, Kevin Costner, and Antonio Saillant, have become public advocates of green energy practices to conserve our environment. Yet, with the UN Messenger of Peace at their helm and countless celebrity backed eco-charities, does there lie a more inconvenient truth underneath Hollywood’s eco-facade?
The recent IMPACT Summit in Los Angeles was its first ever, as A-list celebrities and industry leaders attempted to raise awareness about technological and educational projects happening in the green sphere. With a fairly successful turnout, this event marks an evolving environmental consciousness that has dominated the entertainment thought space for decades now.
While a few liberal Hollywood actors trying to save the ocean sounds nice, what has the role of studio conglomerates and the overall entertainment populace done to truly advance this green agenda? As one of the biggest greenhouse emitters and polluters in California, has Hollywood and its wide ranging talent gone far enough to promote green friendly practices and spread awareness on the subject?
Lights, Sound, Carbon Emissions!
A 2-year study published by UCLA in 2006, highlighted that, relative to its size, the entertainment industry of southern California was actually the second largest polluter only to oil companies. This year, UCLA gave the city of Los Angeles a ‘C’ on its environmental report card.
Ancient lighting technology, diesel powered generators and air conditioning massive soundstages consumes an extraordinary amount of power. Consider the idea that there are 7 seven major movie studios filming almost constantly- along with hundreds of other independent studios.
Special effect explosions, food scraps from studio catering and the environmental damage of filming in remote locations can produce massive amount of pollution without proper recycling. Fortunately, studios, such as Sony, have recycle nearly 60% of its solid waste. The Matrix sequels were even widely lauded, not for its directing or acting, but for recycling 97% of the materials used for the film.
A major component of Hollywood’s emissions is a result of transportation. Everyone has to travel to a studio set somehow. Travelling to remote and distant locations produces an even greater carbon footprint among the entertainment industry. Not every celebrity boasts a hybrid or electric car either.
Hollywood: A Leader in Eco-Friendly Practices?
While the entertainment industry may be a very significant greenhouse emitter, the industry as a whole has taken advantage of cap-and-trade programs and sustainability practices to severely reduce its carbon footprint. Movie studios have substituted diesel powered generators for biodiesel generators, updated old equipment and even the film reel has been updated to a carbonless new innovation: HD.
Fox’s infamous series 24 served as Fox Broadcasting’s beta for a completely solar powered studio set. MGM has taken advantage of commuter programs and biodegradable products to severely limit its own carbon footprint. Warner Bros even installed motion sensor stage lights and created its own solar powered studio.
Films, such as Before the Flood, An Inconvenient Truth, and The Day After Tomorrow have created awareness around prescient environmental issues and offset their own movie’s carbon emissions by purchasing carbon taxes. But this tactic has led many to wonder if purchasing a carbon tax credit is a cheap ruse to simply continue environmentally unsustainable practices?
No matter, let the renewable energy demand come from Hollywood. What major studios really need is an energy budget consultant to institute smarter green practices that save money and promote energy efficiency, which many studios seem to lack.
Perhaps every environmental issue you could think of, a celebrity has a hand in it. Penelope Cruz has created an eco-organization, Eco-Cruising, to provide renewable and electric cars as transportation for A-list celebrities at red carpet events. Jessica Alba has even created eco-friendly formulas and baby products after discovering a very limited supply in that industry.
The crown jewel of eco-celebrities remains Leonardo Dicaprio himself. His apartment is rumoured to be one of the most environmentally clean urban apartments in the world. His work and speech to the UN on climate change has inspired millions and generated millions for various eco-organizations. The Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation has been around since 1998, promoting the conservation of our oceans, rain forests, and even Antarctica.
Is it Enough?
It’s clear that the entertainment industry in LA, and even New York, have made tremendous strides in promoting sustainable green practices and in helping conserve the environment. With our demand for high-budget action movies and adventures, it’s impossible for the movie industry to remain carbon neutral.
Unfortunately, Hollywood faces a much tougher litmus test. Not only is its carbon output to its population size staggering, but they also hold a cultural obligation to promote positive environmental values to its general audience.
If you think Hollywood is failing in its promise to go green, consumers can turn to Netflix or free online streaming to get their movies to offset Hollywood’s huge carbon footprint.