The Future of Green-tertainment

Article by Poem Schway

The Future of Green-tertainment

The consensus is clear: due to the looming specter of climate change, the world is changing, and the entertainment industry is obliged to change for the better with it. But where do we start? The answers aren’t always clear, especially when many people are puzzled by how entertainment could positively contribute to battling the climate crisis. That’s where this article comes in. We’ll tackle three different sectors of entertainment – sports, TV/movies, and leisure – and examine what progress is happening and what must still happen to ensure a greener future for us all.


In the climate arena, it’s more important now than ever to pull off a win. Just last month, a climate change protester made headlines after zip-tying his neck to the goalpost at a Newscastle United F.C. vs. Everton F.C. game. The connection between sports and climate activism isn’t immediately obvious, but upon closer inspection, it definitely exists: in 2018, the combined emissions of four North American sports league equalled a whopping 121,841 tons of CO2 – roughly equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 24,400 people. Studies on air pollution show dramatic spikes more than 20x higher than recommended air quality during college sporting events, largely due to the concentration of cars, and 39 million pounds of waste are produced yearly in the United States with a recycling rate of only 15-20%. But what can we do about this?

Well, telling people to avoid sporting events altogether is not only impractical but ridiculous. Luckily, there are ways to reduce sports’ environmental footprint that are already being implemented. In the NFL, for example, 32% of stadiums have solar-powered assets, while the MLB and NBA boast similar statistics with 30% solar each. While this is a good start, major sporting leagues should push themselves to reach at least 50% solar – after all, a large stadium can use up to 10MW of power in just one day, which is the same amount as 8,000 American homes. There’s been a push for more green sports in the UK as well, though lesser known clubs outside the Premier League are at the helm. In 2019, the Forest Green Rovers boldly arranged the construction of a new, 100% renewable-power wooden arena – the “greenest stadium in the world.”

But even though the sports world seems to be warming up to the idea of eco-friendly initiatives, we must dig deeper and ensure their promises are not simply a scam for good publicity. Unfortunately, there have been numerous examples of “progressive” sports clubs continuing to take fossil fuel money. The Mercedes-Benz stadium, which boasts 4,000 rooftop solar panels, is a step in the right direction – but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the auto giant is currently being sued for falsely lowering their emissions figures through illegal exhaust technology.

What can we do to hold our favorite teams accountable? Petitioning them to reduce energy wastage and pollution is a great start. But change is possible on the small-scale too. If you’re part of a local sports club, encouraging your team to carpool more, avoid single-use plastics and thrift uniforms can all make a difference.


Look around, and you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy TV or movies. Especially with the advent of streaming, they’re a bigger part of our lives than ever and – some would argue – the perfect way to relax. But film, like all sectors, has room to become more sustainable. If you look behind the scenes of film production, the carbon footprint is gargantuan. According to Forbes, a single mega-hit movie with a budget over 70 million dollars/55.7 million pounds produces an average of 2,840 tons of CO2, which would take 3,700 acres of forest to absorb in a year. If you consider that in 2021, each of the top 5 grossing movies had budgets over 100 million dollars/79.5 million pounds, that very quickly adds up to an immense quantity of emissions.

Over half these emissions can be attributed to transport, so that is clearly the first subject to be tackled. Luckily, solutions already exist and are ready to be implemented: namely, using more and more digital production. The pandemic already gave such technologies a trial run, and the results are astounding. Timur Beckmambetov, famed Russian director, forged the innovative idea of directing the lead actor of his film V2: Escape from Hell remotely, 1,200km away, in order to reduce COVID exposure. How did he do it? He had the lead actor sit in a cockpit replica surrounded by screens, where he played pilot shooter games in real time against other gamers. The result was a stunningly realistic scene of aerial combat, all without the need for a single green screen.

While thankfully, the pandemic is finally winding down, it doesn’t mean we can’t use the same methods to reduce carbon footprints. As an added bonus, actors would no longer have to be restricted by being in the same physical space, which means a sharp decrease in the usage of disposable paper cups, single-use costumes, and printed copies of scripts.


Travel is the hottest thing on everyone’s mind now that quarantine restrictions have started to loosen, but there’s something else we should consider before booking plane tickets – namely, how to take time off and unwind while preserving the planet. The most evident climate-change culprit is air travel, since the altitude of emissions causes them to be more potent, but there’s plenty of other ways to travel greener even if you have to have to take a plane. One easy method is to just reduce the distance you’re flying and thus minimize your carbon footprint. It might seem obvious, but the difference truly is staggering: planes produce roughly 53 pounds of CO2 per mile, so even deciding to reduce your flight time by an hour would cut down CO2 emissions by 26.5 tons, assuming a jet speed of 500 mph.

Over the past decade, travel companies have started to take steps in the right direction. Air France, for example, established a carbon-offset program in 2019 to compensate for 100% of its emissions on domestic flights. This sudden interest in appearing more environmentally friendly can be directly attributed to the flow of profits: not only do green initiatives provide great PR, 2/3rds of consumers are actually willing to pay more for products they view as sustainable. What this means in practice, though, is that many corporations pay lip service to eco-friendly initiatives without making concrete changes – and one of the most glaring examples is the hotel industry.

In many cases, hotels boast about winning sustainability awards and improving their practices. But what does this actually mean? If there’s no report published on their website with quantifiable reductions in emissions, hotels can get away with being awarded for “a small improvement in a number of criteria” instead of “any [actual] level of sustainability,” according to Justin Francis, the CEO of To avoid being mislead, the best way to ensure credibility is to stay at hotels certified by third-party green organizations such as GreenKey. Staying at an AirBnBs is also a good option, but contrary to popular belief, they’re not inherently more eco-friendly than staying at hotels – a 2019 study shows that depending on the host, AirBnB carbon footprints can reach as high as 1300 pounds of CO2/room-night. Essentially, it’s crucial for us as consumers to do our research and ensure we’re patronizing places that actually value the environment, not just the publicity it offers them.

Last but certainly not least, this section would be remiss without talking about arguably the most prominent form of eco-tourism: safaris. Safaris are a rather controversial subject in the sustainability world, as they promote both negative and positive effects to the environment – the spiking number of tourists results in more clutter and pollution, but simultaneously, the funding allows for increased protection of endangered species and habitats because poaching is no longer the most profitable option. Ultimately, it’s not feasible to ban safaris entirely for economic and practical reasons. Safaris are one of the fastest-growing economic drivers, particularly in Africa: tourism is projected to generate 211 billion pounds/year in revenue by 2030. What we can do, however, is ensure our impact as tourists is as minimal as possible by hiring reputable tour guides, staying within designated bounds and not touching the wildlife under any circumstances. 


Though the future is particularly tumultuous and uncertain, the purpose of this article is to hopefully shed some clarity on how we as individuals can exert positive pressure on the entertainment monolith to improve itself. Thankfully, we don’t need to sacrifice fun to save the planet – we only need to make our calls for action heard through our wages and votes.


We’re devoting the next 12 months of our lives to raising the money and awareness we need to stop species going extinct, and to put them back into recovery.

Our project brings together the best projects and thinking from 7 charities and a whole slew of experts from across the planet. Let this be the moment we say “NO MORE EXTINCTION” and start rebuilding their world, for all our benefits.

Please do consider donating and sharing our message to create a global voice of positivity and action. Thank you xx