Our favourite films are getting worse and worse for the environment | Tech News

The film industry needs to become more green (Picture: Getty)

Streaming giants are making TV and film production worse for the environment than ever before, according to new research.

Studios across the world responsible for our favourite programmes are having a ‘profound environmental affect’ on society, it is claimed.

The study says one Hollywood movie alone creates around 3,000 tonnes of carbon – the equivalent of driving around the world almost 300 times.

Researchers say they now are ‘hugely concerned’ on the impact movie-making is having on the environment.

They claim this is due to the growth in streaming services, combined with bigger and more expensive TV production and international travel.

It has been reported previously Game of Thrones spin-off House Of The Dragon cost £16 million per episode, while Stranger Things 4 cost £25 million.

Researchers from the University of Warwick and University of Cambridge investigated the growing carbon-intensive infrastructure, high energy dependencies and waste production during filmmaking.

It concluded there is ‘still a long way to go’ before the industry is ‘truly climate conscious’.

The media industry is energy-intensive (Picture: Getty)

The report says more digital practices should be implemented to move towards environmentally and socially sustainable filmmaking – but acknowledged concerns around increasing use of artificial intelligence in the industry, prompting long-running writers’ and actors’ strikes earlier this year.

Green filmmaking

One director well aware of the environmental cost of filmmaking is Jack Cooper-Stimpson.

Jack recently wrapped filming on Spirit Of Place, a short film set in an urban wetland starring Hannah Chinn, Jordan Peters and Mark Rylance.

‘Making films and TV about the environment can often seem like a bit of a dichotomy,’ he says. ‘It’s no secret that filmmaking can be a carbon intensive process, but there are small changes that can vastly improve and mitigate this.

‘On Spirit of Place we generated a sustainability plan and avoided many of the factors that drive up your energy consumption on set, such as lighting, excessive travel and petrol generators.

‘We were also the first production to use Equity’s Green Rider, which offers actors a practical way of helping this issue. Among other things, the Green Rider avoids the excessive, and often unnecessary, treatment that actors receive, such as private travel.

‘As an environmental filmmaker, I hope we can keep improving industry standards and make this kind of approach the new norm.’

Spirit Of Place wasexecutive produced by non-profit media and conservation organisation On the Edge, and made in association with wetland conservation charity WWT.

The report was produced by Dr Pietari Kaapa, director of the University of Warwick’s Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies, and Dr Hunter Vaughan, senior research associate at the University of Cambridge.

‘Film and TV studios have introduced sustainable strategies such as digital shooting, LED lighting, and moving to electronic documents, but these solutions can only make meaningful change if a larger scale shift occurs alongside it,’ said Dr Kaapa.

‘With the rise of online streaming culture, devices and technological infrastructures also need to adjust to reduce the profound environmental affect it has on society.

‘Our suggestion is to adopt sustainable digitalisation, but this requires changes that will reduce the reliance on practices such as metal mining and e-waste disposal in lower-income nations.’

Film crews travel the world during production (Picture: Getty/Westend61)

The report recommends the industry should work on ‘designing stringent life-cycle environmental assessment’ and policy frameworks that move towards sustainable digitalisation.

But it also suggested a Charter for Sustainable Digital Work to ‘enhance social sustainability’ and labour protections against increased workplace digitalisation.

Finally, it recommends industry and policy decision makers work together to drive reduction of fossil fuel dependency in filmmaking and encourage studios to prioritise the use of renewable energy where possible.

It adds: ‘The UK stands to play a crucial leadership role in addressing these concerns due to its global prominence as a film and TV production location and the increasing levels of investment in its creative industry capacity.

‘It is imperative that industry and government work together to ensure this capacity building is premised on sustainable digitalisation.

‘In so doing, through a responsible and responsively sustainable digitalisation,
the film and television sector may play a leading role in mitigating the environmental and social damages of technological change and industry growth.’

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