Hollywood Ignores the Biggest Drama on Earth: Climate Change
With Los Angeles recently under siege by wildfires, it’s time for the movie industry to acknowledge our current reality
We are in the golden age of entertainment. The #MeToo movement and increased diversity are changing Hollywood for the better. Prestige television and film are delivering hard-hitting stories tackling racism, inequality, and reproductive rights. After dragging their feet, the entertainment industry is officially “woke-ish.”
And it’s not just quality, it’s quantity. In 2018, there were a whopping 495 scripted TV shows, 871 films released in theaters, and an endless stream of superhero movies, live-action remakes, and the always-necessary Fast & Furious spinoff.
Yet there is a glaring omission in the swarming vortex of entertainment — virtually any storyline that addresses the climate crisis.
Just last week, wildfires once again reminded us how vulnerable Los Angeles is, with the glitz and glam of the Hollywood dream factory now turning into a huge question mark of unsustainability. Just like Oscar season, wildfire season is here to stay. And in this new reality, The Rock won’t jump down from a helicopter and save us all. SPOILER ALERT: No matter how rich and powerful you are in Hollywood, the climate crisis will affect everyone.
It’s absurd that the world’s most talented and powerful actors, writers, and producers, the people who control global culture, are watching the destruction of their lives and city and yet they can’t come up with one honest story about our current reality.
Over the last few decades, the entertainment industry has offered very little substance on climate change for audiences to sink their teeth into, but for Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and the over-the-top CGI-fest, GeoStorm (2017). Paul Schrader’s 2017 film First Reformed gave us a more nuanced look at climate grief, while Leonardo DiCaprio’s well-meaning documentaries provide useful information and helpful motivation. Unfortunately, none have managed to stick in the public consciousness.
This year saw much of the same. We got a few throwaway lines about the need for population…