Editorial: Hollywood the environmental battlefield

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Times will feature staff editorials in the coming weeks tackling environmental issues facing the world today, and potential solutions using some unusual, if not controversial, thinking.

The proverbial environmental and global warming pot’s boiling over with controversy as a new documentary with a familiar story has arrived at theaters. Al Gore is back in Hollywood with a message about Earth’s future with the sequel documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel.”

Most climate scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming crisis is human expansion of the “greenhouse effect” due to activities, industry and wastefulness that are changing the natural greenhouse surrounding Mother Earth.

So what do we do now? How do we change things?

Will changes even make a difference after all the damage done the past 100-200 years?

There is no way to recreate the original condition of the Earth without implementing some really drastic changes that no one would willingly take part in. People can be stubborn, but celebrities have a way of influencing culture opinion.

Many Hollywood stars bang the warning gong for environmentalism, so maybe films can provide some answers.

The 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” and this new sequel “An Inconvenient Sequel,” brought the topic to the heart of popular culture. However, it’s not a first for Hollywood.

Before that was the 2004 film “The Day After Tomorrow,” but Hollywood reached even farther back to tell tales of environmental woe way before that.

Population control issues were brought to mind in the 1976 sci-fi movie “Logan’s Run,” where (for society to have an idyllic existence) life ended at the age of 30 for everyone. Or maybe the answer comes from the 1973 movie “Soylent Green,” that has that famous line at the end about the ultimate remedy of limited food resources being self-sacrifice, which sent shivers down the spines of the audience.

There are many other countless films in the 1950s and 1960s which foretold a future devastated by mankind’s neglect.

Hollywood, and many of its stars, has collectively become priggish about the issues of environmental awareness in recent years. Yet it has an extremely large carbon footprint. That metaphor covers the full gauntlet of the movie creative process — especially big budget extravaganzas with all the special effects to create bangs, booms and car chases — from the catered food/drinks provided on the lots, to the elaborate sets created, to the movie production and the distribution process and all the movie goers and the theaters are taken into consideration.

If a single human tracked their personal impact on the environment to create their own carbon footprint, they might not want to venture out of the house.

We are all guilty of overindulgence and wasting our resources in more ways than we realize.