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Film and TV production found to worsen climate crisis

movie camera
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Streaming giants are making TV production worse for the environment than ever before according to new research into the environmental impact of film and television production from the University of Warwick and the University of Cambridge. One Hollywood film creates around 3,000 tons of carbon, the equivalent of driving around the world almost 300 times.

With the growth in streaming services, combined with more extensive and more expensive TV production and international travel, the of making our favorite programs is leaving researchers hugely concerned.

The paper investigates the growing carbon-intensive infrastructure, high energy dependencies, and waste production during filmmaking, highlighting that there is still a long way to go before the industry is genuinely climate-conscious. The report outlines what digital practices should be implemented for environmentally and socially sustainable filmmaking.

The new report, Sustainable Digitalization: Ensuring a Sustainable Digital Future for UK Film and Television, has been produced by Dr. Pietari Kaapa, Director of the University of Warwick's Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies and Hunter Vaughan, Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Pietari Kaapa, said, "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. With the rise of online streaming culture, devices, and technological infrastructures also need to adjust to reduce the profound environmental effect it has on society."

"Our suggestion is to adopt sustainable digitalization, but this requires changes that will reduce the reliance on practices such as metal mining and e-waste disposal in lower-income nations. The report sets out three recommendations that the sector and government should consider so that studios can move towards in a socially and environmentally responsible way."

The recommendations made are:

  • The film and television industry should lead on designing stringent life-cycle and policy frameworks that move towards sustainable digitalization. This could include assessing materials used, and the life expectancy of infrastructures and parts to minimize replacement and waste.
  • The film and television industry should develop a Charter for Sustainable Digital Work to enhance social sustainability and labor protections against the threats of increased workplace digitalization. This can include practices such as community assessment to guarantee that the construction, use, and pollutants of digital infrastructures in studios and on location do not disproportionately harm already marginalized communities.
  • And finally, a recommendation that industry and policy decision makers work together to drive reduction of fossil fuel dependency in filmmaking and encourage studios to prioritize the use of renewable energy where possible.

More information: Sustainable Digitalisation: Ensuring a Sustainable Digital Future for UK Film and Television. … t-WEB-compressed.pdf

Citation: Film and TV production found to worsen climate crisis (2023, November 28) retrieved 1 March 2024 from
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