Public Resource
A Glaring Absence: The Climate Crisis Is Virtually Nonexistent in Scripted Entertainment
Soraya Giaccardi, Adam Rogers, and Erica Rosenthal. USC Norman Lear Center Media Impact Project
Climate change is largely absent in scripted entertainment—but there are ways for entertainment creators to improve. Just 2.8% of all scripts included any climate-related keywords, and only 0.6% of scripted TV and films mentioned the specific term “climate change.” When extreme weather events are mentioned, they are rarely linked to climate change (10%). Similarly, when climate change is mentioned, it is rarely discussed alongside the fossil fuel industry (12%) or individual climate actions (8%). And yet, there is audience demand for climate portrayals. Survey respondents believe the average American is less concerned about the climate crisis than they are personally. Still, they retain hope. Those who are hopeful about climate solutions are 3.5 times more likely to say they want to see climate portrayals in fictional entertainment. To improve climate references in mainstream entertainment, consider climate in all genres, connect the dots between climate causes and effects, give voice to climate anxiety, show the intersections between climate and other issues, and promote various climate actions.