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Hollywood keeps the environment in the public eye

Many shows in the past have dealt with environmental issues, but it used to be that if they did, they did so completely. Movies, such as Day After Tomorrow for example, were entirely about the dangers of climate change. This was great, as it helped to bring the issues to the forefront of the American consciousness. As the popularity of the topic grew, many TV shows also aired episodes with the environment at the center of the plot; such as when the series Bones, staring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, had to solve the murder of an environmentalist and his daughter. The trend continued for a while, but then the recession hit, and the "Save the Earth" fad began to fade a bit. Somewhat understandable, as people suddenly had other things on their mind, like how to save their house. Hollywood still produces documentaries on the subject to this day, such as the upcoming "Years of Living Dangerously" docu-series mentioned in the video clip above, but from the fiction side of things there was a noticeable void.

Star Crossed is just one of many series that are keeping the environment in the public eye.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown

As time went on however, an interesting phenomenon became apparent. Though the environment wasn't necessarily the main plot point of shows anymore, it didn't entirely vanish from them either. Just as series had been updating their stars' wardrobes to match the changing styles of the public for years, they now also did this with the idea of green living. Watch any show and you’ll see characters recycling, sorting their garbage, shopping with their own bags, or carrying around reusable water bottles. It generally isn't talked about, it’s simply portrayed as a part of everyday life. In portraying everyday life in such a way, can Hollywood actually help to make it so? This idea isn't without precedent. After all, when was the last time you saw a main character smoking, unless he/she was a bad guy? Think about it.

The trend also continues with some shows actually running with plot points that are environmentally based by having them disguised as another, more alien threat. Take Star Crossed for example, staring Matt Lanter and Aimee Teegarden, which has recently done this with an episode in which the stars had to stop the spread of a deadly alien plant. The plant may have been alien in the show, but the concept of invasive plant species (or animal species for that matter) causing harm to humans isn't science fiction. Sadly, it's a harsh fact of everyday life in some parts of the world.

Hollywood's use of such topics help to keep environmental issues alive for the fans. In so doing, the shows not only entertain, but serve as a reminder to us all that the dangers are still out there. They also illustrate that the problems can be overcome if we actually work on them, just as the stars of our favorite shows do. So, thank you Roman and Emery for stopping black cyper, and in so doing, helping to remind us that we should all take steps to keep invasive species in check. Don’t believe that this is important? Just think about how much The Day After Tomorrow influenced your stance on the environment, and what you've done about it since then. So, keep on watching, you never know, you might just be helping the planet by doing so. Happy Earth Week everyone!

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