J500 Media and the Environment


Green in the Mainstream by micolea

What’s red, pink, includes a bevy of celebrities and is being hailed as the first in its industry to “go green?”

The answer is the movie ” Valentine’s Day.”


Photo by CarbonNYC/Courtesy Flickr

Though Hollywood movie production sets are known for lavishness and excess (big budget special effects, private jets and exorbitant food waste) this time around producers acted out of character and made a conscious effort to shrink their carbon footprint. Environmentally sound practices implemented on the Valentine’s Day movie set included: providing the actors with hybrid vehicles, reusable stainless steel beverage containers, composting of food waste and thorough use of solar-powered and biodiesel generators. The pinnacle of these ecological operations resulted in the composting of 25 tons of food waste, “eliminating 21,000 plastic bottles and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 67 metric tons, according to a ‘carbon audit’ by Warner Bros,” as mentioned in this Los Angeles Times article.

When I heard about this, I thought, “if only every film, music and commercial set would follow suit.” Which lead me to contemplate, “in what other ways is Hollywood reaching out and raising social awareness about environmental issues?”

The Environmental Media Association is a non-profit organization with a long-standing reputation of encouraging people across the globe to make environmental changes through the channels of television, music and film. Its Young Hollywood Board includes celebs such as, Amy Smart, Nicole Richie and Lance Bass. The organization’s web site features a green lifestyle guide that includes information ranging from which fruits and vegetables contain the most pesticides  to suggestions on where to shop for organic foods and which restaurants highlight organic dishes on its menus. 

Taking a more behind-the-scenes approach is the consulting media agency, Reel Green Media. It is increasing sustainability processes and lessening the environmental burdens left by media productions. Coincidentally, Reel Green Media has worked with media giants Warner Bros and Fox.

It seems as if Hollywood is taking green strides for our environment. I give the directors, producers, actors and organizations a standing ovation for taking part in helping to preserve and protect our Mother Earth. But I can’t help but wonder, is this a spark that will spur an honest transformation in people to make changes and redefine their relationship with the environment, or will these well-intentioned efforts no sooner be placed on the “going green” bandwagon?

Micole Aronowitz

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5 Comments so far
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Micole,

I too was excited to hear about Valentine’s Day… and the fact that they saved at least $21,000 on water bottles shows that going green has economic benefits, as well. But I think it is also a bit hypocritical that the stars of the movie and the members of the Young Hollywood Board of the Environmental Media Association live a life style of large homes, lots of air travel (which is one of the least environmentally friendly thing you can do), lots of sports cars and going to clubs that definitely aren’t eco-friendly. I think it is still a great thing that they were making the set eco-friendly, and it is better than nothing. But I think when people realize that the stars of the movie are in New York in the morning to do Good Morning America for press, and then L.A. to do Leno that same evening and then Chicago to do Oprah the next day, yet they are still going around saying that they are “green,” it kind of turns some people off. I would have really loved it had this movie decided to do all press via satellite. -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev

Kristina,

You bring up a great point. Though the measures they took on the production set were eco-friendly, they could have also made an effort to reduce their emissions from flying. That would have made their going green effort even better. Thanks for your comment!

Micole A.

Comment by micolea

I wonder how much money some of the many big-name actors in this film are making? As Kristina pointed out, many celebrities live lavish (decidedly not green) lifestyles. For how much this film might be saving on-set, it’s also providing millions to people who, aside from generally not needing that much more money in their bank accounts, are probably not going to give a second thought to the measures taken by the production staff of the film to be more environmentally friendly. -Ben C.

Comment by bendcohen

Neat post, Micole.
I had no idea that this movie was doing so much to help the environment.
I think that Ben and Kristina bring up a good point that many celebs live a lifestyle that isn’t so green after all, but it sounds like this could get a green movement going in Hollywood. And maybe celebs in lavish homes will change and start to make more environmental-friendly decisions.
At the same time though, how much can we really ask of people who are just beginning to go green? Baby steps are better than nothing, I think. Just because they are celebrities doesn’t mean that they have to make drastic changes right away.

Becca N.

Comment by beccan

In response to the question I posed at the end of my post, I would say that these efforts will fall into both categories. Some people will read or hear about these environmentally friendly efforts and it will stick in their minds while others may just ignore the message. The important part, to me, is that the information is reaching the masses. I think that is the first step to getting people to take action.

Micole A.

Comment by micolea




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