“Cake” was mentioned 10 times more often on UK television shows than “climate change” in 2020, the data has revealed. The research showed that “banana bread” was a term that was heard more frequently than “wind energy” and “solar energy” combined.
The report, of Albert, a Bafta-backed sustainability project, also found that individual action, such as recycling, came up much more frequently than issues that are much more important drivers of the climate crisis, such as energy and transportation.
While the terms that describe the problem (climate change, climate emergency, and climate crisis) had 14,540 mentions, those that refer to addressing the problem (climate justice, climate action, and climate solution) only had 296 mentions combined..
The report was based on closed caption analysis of nearly 400,000 shows from all major broadcasters, but did not include news broadcasts. He highlighted some shows that addressed climate issues, but said the huge reach of television shows meant that the industry was critical in enabling the country to meet its climate goals and needed to do more.
Mentions of climate change and global warming fell 10% and 20% respectively in 2020. Carys Taylor, albert director, said: “In any normal year, a drop in mentions of climate change would be a worrying headline, but 2020 is not a normal year. ”She said the coronavirus pandemic had dominated the media and restrictions on filming meant more reruns and shows based on archival images were shown.
“But the television industry is critical to tackling climate change,” he said. “All genres and all programs can play their part [and] The creative opportunity for broadcasters to support the transition is immense. This is so deeply important that even if it is as simple as mentioning [climate action] in a soap, it’s going to have an effect. “
Sandi Toksvig, President of the Writers Guild of Great Britain, said: “We need policies, smart technological breakthroughs and brilliant scientists to help us reach net zero, but we also need stories. They can shape us, change us, and inspire us. Writers and content creators must be at the forefront of this battle to save our planet. “
Juliet Davenport, founder of renewable energy provider Good Energy, said: “[TV shows] we have enormous power of influence and we must tell interesting stories not only about the scale of the challenge, but also about the exciting benefits of the solutions. “
TV shows should focus more on actions with the greatest impact, said Susie Wang of the public participation organization. Climate scope. “The media has sounded the bell for the climate crisis and we have very high levels of concern: the risk is to get stuck here. We need more stories that prioritize the most effective solutions, such as reducing the flights we take, trying to eat a low-carbon diet, and using less energy inside our homes.
“Lifestyle changes also need to be talked about in terms of how they relate to changes in infrastructure and policies that help people make the switch to a lower carbon life. And we should be talking about inequalities in wealth that mean that some households, on all continents, consume much more than others.
The report analyzed captions for all programs in 2020 on BBC, Sky, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, and UKTV. It found that climate change was mentioned 12,715 times, while cake was mentioned 10 times more often, with 133,437 mentions. Wind energy mentions fell 20% in 2020 to 298 times and solar energy references fell 23% to 304. In contrast, banana bread mentions increased 37% to 770, while “goldfish” it was mentioned 10,707 times.
Terms for individual behaviors such as recycling, reuse and veganism were highlighted in 2020. But while waste disposal is responsible for only 4% of UK climate emissions, related terms were mentioned 43,715 times. By comparison, energy causes 21% of emissions, but only had 7,418 mentions. “There appears to be a correlation between a higher contribution to emissions and a lower rate of mentions,” says the report.
It highlighted shows that addressed climate issues, including the BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee on reusing old clothes and Channel 4’s Meat the Family, which addressed the environmental and ethical issues of farming by pairing families with animals they could then choose to eat. . or not.
Taylor said the latest series on the motorsports show Top Gear featured an electric vehicle in every episode. “It’s important that we don’t tell anyone how to create anything and that we respect editorial independence,” he said, but added that Albert was providing free education and support to empower the industry to make those creative decisions for themselves.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism