Good question. I’m betting because they would be boring, preachy, and even climate cultists wouldn’t watch
Creators have always pulled from history to explain the past as well as create apocalyptic visions of the future. But this moment seems particularly remarkable when you consider why so few creators have made shows and movies about the climate catastrophe. It’s the most dramatic development in our world, but it’s not just something that happened in the past. It’s still happening—and that might be the best explanation for why we struggle to translate it into art or entertainment.
The television series Occupied, based on a storyline I conceived in 2012, was about climate change and oil production, but its principal attraction for viewers was likely that it was about a Russian occupation of Norway—a story with clear echoes in the somewhat distant past, reminding viewers of the German occupation of Norway during the Second World War. And of course, while a Russian occupation is no longer far-fetched in light of the Ukraine crisis, for Norwegians it still seems more thrilling than frightening. Climate change, however, is a grim reality we’re going to wake up to again tomorrow. It’s the kind of news story we “ought” to read, and yet it feels about as exciting as homework.
(blah blah blah blah)
When good and also commercially successful film and television is produced that deal with themes such as racism, sexual exploitation, genocide, drug addiction, corruption and mental health problems, then why not stories based on the climate change crisis?
Because they’re boring, preaching, and few people actually watch them. Most of the shows and movies do dreadful in the ratings/box office. Some might be “critically acclaimed” and win awards, but, no one watches them.
For instance, imagine a climate researcher whose education has been funded by her beloved father, who is running an oil company that has brought employment and prosperity to a once-poor community. She is trying to convince her father to join her fight for the climate when she is kidnapped. By who? Why? I don’t know yet, but it’s an example of the kind of fictional narrative that could mirror the problems and dilemmas of our real world.
Yawn. And then there’s the whole thing about Doing Something about ‘climate change’ being popular in theory, but most have no interest in doing something in reality, especially when they know it will hit their own pocketbook, their own freedom and choice. Oh, and just to prove how dangerous it is they used a photo of the Hollywood sign crashing down from an … dam breaking from an earthquake in the TV show 9-1-1, and, somehow the water rushed up a hill (the sign is around 700 feet higher than the closest dam, Sepulveda, which also faces away from the sign) to cause the hill to slide and take down the Hollywood sign. Perhaps there’s some fantastical explanation. Don’t care. It’s rubbish. Just like the idea that people will watch the movies and shows.
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