Climate change is hot, but is it sexy enough for Hollywood?

Climate change is hot, but is it sexy enough for Hollywood?


While climate change has become a familiar topic for documentaries, it’s conspicuously absent from other genres of TV, film and new media. In fact, the Hollywood Health & Society (HH&S) program at USC’s Norman Lear Center tracked over 3,000 primetime TV storylines last year and found that less than 1 percent of those storylines contained any mention of climate change, global warming, renewable energy or sustainability.

HH&S’s Climate Change Initiative – a free resource to the industry – aims to change that statistic.


We know from our research that people learn from what they see in entertainment. A simple action by a character or an insightful, accurate bit of dialogue can have a powerful impact on a viewer’s knowledge, attitude and behavior. And behavior change at a global scale is exactly what’s needed to begin addressing climate change.

Climate change is a lot more than Weather Channel disaster porn. The topic is full of David vs. Goliath style-conflict, hopeful discoveries, tragic defeats, shining moments of human ingenuity and examples of corporate greed and malfeasance so outlandish, you’d think only Mr. Burns could pull them off.

Our Climate Change Initiative is ready to connect you to a network of NASA scientists, Caltech engineers, national security experts, religious leaders, CDC doctors and environmental activists who can bring you to the front lines of the issue and convey the compelling, unusual, dramatic — and maybe even sexy — climate change stories that exist in the world. And if we don’t yet have an expert on your particular topic of interest, we’ll use our network to find one.

(Did we mention this is free?)

In addition to providing access to stories and experts, we also host screenings, research trips and recognize exceptional depictions of climate change in popular media. This year we recognized HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher at our annual Sentinel Awards ceremony for their work to inform and educate viewers about climate change. Click here to see Executive Producer Scott Carter accept the award on behalf of Real Time with Bill Maher.

For more information or to contact the Hollywood Health & Society Climate Change Initiative click here or .

Matthew Rose MEM, LEED AP
Program Specialist | Hollywood Health and Society | Global Climate Change Initiative
Norman Lear Center | USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism