The Dirty Truth Behind Environmental Film

Megan Keene and Ewan Lancaster


The film production industry is a global, multi-billion dollar endeavor that provides entertainment for people all over the world. Many of the popular environmental films are created and produced in Hollywood. Environmentalists choose to create environmental films to share their ideas and research with a wider audience. People can watch one of the most successful environmental films, Planet Earth, any time, on multiple streaming platforms, which resulted in millions of views. Unfortunately, the film industry also negatively impacts the environment. Although, the main purpose of these films is to highlight the problems humans create on our the planet, the industry itself is one of the largest contributors of air pollution around the world. One of the biggest offenders is Los Angeles, California, the world’s most well-known and popular hub for the film-industry. Although research proves that environmental films are a successful method to share ideas with people around the world, the industry that creates these films is also a primary contributor to numerous environmental issues leading to global climate change.

Film site in the Desert. Source: National Park Service


Environmental Communication


Cognized Environments 


Slow Violence

Table of Contents:

Consequences of Environmental Film

Law and Policy for Film Production

Possible Changes to the Film Industry

Benefits of Environmental Film

Works Cited: 

Agrawal, Alka. “Making Movies: Scientists as Filmmakers.Science Magazine. Aug 2001. 

Bailey, Miranda, Producer. Greenlit.  Ambush Entertainment and Earth Friendly Films, 2010.

Bozak, Nadia, “The Cinematic Footprint: Lights, Camera, Natural Resources.Modern Language Association, 2011. Print.

Brodsky, Katherine. “Filmmakers Check Into the Green Room.Variety, vol. 334, no. 6, December 2019, pp. 8-10.

Brown, Isaac, Director. Terra Blight. Cinema Guide, 2012.

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Flanigan, Peter. “The Environmental Costs of Filmmaking.UCLA Entertainment Law Review, vol. 10, no. 1, 2002, pp. 69-95.

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Harper, Charles L., “Environment and Society: Human Perspectives on Environmental Issues.Pearson Education, 2012, pp. 1-12. 

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Ozdemirici, Ekin Gunduz. “Greening the Screen: An Environmental Challenge.Humanities, vol. 5 no. 1, June 2016, pp.  1-13. 

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Tuff, S.C. “Environmental Footprint: Its Boundaries, Measurement, and Consequences…A Discussion for Broadcasters.” SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, vol. 199 no. 5, 2010, pp. 36-42. (This is from the interlibrary loan)