Over the past year, we’ve been tremendously excited to see a growing number and diversity of climate mentions showing up in genres from comedy to horror to science fiction. Many of these beats are in content that people wouldn’t normally recognize as being “climate-oriented,” and yet they’re doing the crucial and profound work of seeding our media ecosystem with climate-friendly content that begins to normalize climate-friendly behaviors on-screen, which can start to inspire audience to adopt those behaviors at home. These clips are also showing us that climate can fit seamlessly into all genres and formats, in big ways and small – as a supporting beat, a funny aside, a secondary story, or even as the “inciting incident” that sparks a hero’s journey.
Over the next few months, we’re excited to continue growing this archive – taking a moment to showcase the creative excellence of our community and celebrate the tireless efforts of all writers, showrunners, producers and sustainability teams that are working tirelessly to use the power of Hollywood to solve the climate crisis.
We hope these clips (and the growing tide of work from across the community) can inspire you in the way they have inspired us.
Note: This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the mentions out there. If you see a clip of climate on screen that you want included here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this short form.
What’s happening:In this clip, the wife of a Senator who is running for President wakes from a multi-year coma and is holding a press conference. Despite the ostensibly seriousness of the situation, in the context of the show, this is a notably comedic moment.
What we like: This clip is a fantastic example of scriptwriting that inverts the outdated trope of making the vegan character or the vegan dish the butt of the joke. Instead, we see a humorous moment where a favorable and sympathetic character gets to say “never accept a pulled pork taco” and does so in a way that is deeply humorous and integrated into the wider storyline. The clip also connects the eating of meat to severe illness and disease. This clip is in legendary company: according to the Cunda Kammāraputta, apparently, the Buddha died after eating poorly cooked pork as well.
Why it matters: We know that meat and dairy are massive sources of CO2 emissions, so any content that makes meat look silly, dangerous, or just uncool is a big win for our climate.
Tags: Behaviors: Plant-Based Diet; Type: Funny; Dialogue; Secondary Storyline; Character: Supporting character Genre: Comedy Drama Mood: serious but light
What’s happening:In this clip, Lahela Kamealoha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) is visiting her hot surfer boyfriend Walter (Alex Aiono) after he got back from a surf tour in Australia. She discovers that he and his team have gone vegan for training.
What we like:This clip is a great example of how climate-friendly behaviors like eating plant-based can be shown in a positive way through a likable character. In this case, the characters are eating plant-based for health reasons. Many of the behaviors that are good for the environment can be introduced outside of the context of sustainability like health, racial justice, and financial reasons.
What’s happening: Chef and restaurant owner Dana Sue (Brooke Elliot) and hunky farmer Jeremy Reynolds (Chase Anderson) are interviewing food suppliers; they flirtatiously bicker over the candidates, and Jeremy advocates for more plant-based menu items at the restaurant.
What we like: Dana Sue initially recoils at the thought of soybeans (a realistic response) and wonders how you can make true Southern food with soy. Jeremy reveals he’s had delicious fried soy curls before, demonstrating that you can make plant-based versions of food staples. Additionally, as one of the show’s love interests, Jeremy defies the “vegan” stereotype, and throughout other episodes promotes healthy eating habits – implicitly connecting plant-based diets to health.
What’s happening: In this clip from the fast-paced Israeli spy thriller Tehran, we see Marjan Montazami (Glenn Close), a British Mossad agent in Tehran, giving instructions to Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan), the Mossad agent and hacker. She is going to infiltrate the home of Sardar Qasem Mohammadi (Vassilis Koukalani), head of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
What we like:This clip is great at sneaking in a climate cameo into an exciting spy thriller. As the camera pans to General Mohammadi’s villa, we get a bird’s-eye view clearly showing a rooftop covered in solar panels. As we always say, climate mentions belong in all genres and all formats – especially spy thrillers in Tehran!
Why it matters:The more we see solar panels – in our neighborhoods, on our commute, and in our favorite shows – the more we come to believe that the behavior is common, normal and frequent. And, for highly visible behaviors like installing solar panels, this turns out to be one of the best predictors of whether someone chooses to follow suit.
Tags: Behaviors: Solar panels Type: Climate Cameo, Background placement Character: Supporting character Genre: Action Mood: Suspenseful
What’s happening: Throughout the episode, Simon (Sam Richardson) and Lucy (Chrissy Teigen) work together to bring solar power to their post-alien invasion world.
What we like: This episode does a lot of things we love. First, it reminds audiences that solar power is not just a fad; in fact, it has been around for decades and Jimmy Carter even installed them on the White House during the 1970s. It also points out the many benefits of solar. Even in a post-apocalyptic world, we can harness the power of the sun to do everything from blend smoothies to keep our life-saving technologies working. Finally, as Simon and Lucy are forced to lobby Senator LaMarr (Dana Carvey), the episode serves as a biting commentary on the lobbying efforts of the fossil fuel industry. In the end, our protagonists successfully bring solar to their community – which is received with joy and excitement from the people around them.
Tags: Behaviors: Solar panels Type: Climate Cameo Character: Core character Genre: Comedy Mood: Friendly dialogue
What’s happening: In this clip from the legal drama Partner Track, we see Ingrid Yun (Arden Cho) and Jeff Murphy (Dominic Sherwood) bickering about their legal case while plugging in their electric vehicle.
What we like: This clip normalizes using electric vehicles and shows how simple it is to charge.
Tags: Behaviors: EVs Type: Background placement Character: Core character Genre: Legal Drama Mood: Light but serious dialogue
What’s happening: In this clip, the character bought a new car and is naming it Debbie. She gets dressed up to take it on the first drive to work. It’s not known that it’s an EV until she screams, “new Tesla, bitch!” to another vehicle.
What we like: This clip normalize the integration of electric vehicle as part of day to day commute. Gaby, who is portrayed as a likable character, is clearly shown to be enjoying her new car as she is driving. By showing a likable character driving an EV to work, the scene normalize EV as a common but a cool vehicle that can be used day to day.
Tags: Behaviors: Green transport Type: Climate cameo Character: Supporting character Genre: Comedy Mood: Light and good music on the car
What’s happening:In this comedic scene, Jackson (Mitchell Slaggert), a climate refugee from Kansas, convinces Dean Miller (Rachael Harris) to let Theta have their strip show fundraiser for climate change by telling her how he’s personally been impacted by a climate disaster.
What we like: Climate is seamlessly integrated here in a place that you would not expect it to be – a strip show thrown by a college fraternity. This is a great example of how climate can be used anywhere, even in comedies.
Season 1, Episode 5 Time Code: 7:18-7:49 & 9:50-10:30 AppleTV Episode Credits
What’s Happening:Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell) – inspired by the example of her courageous teacher Sion – searches out texts on mathematics and discovers that the climate change on her home planet of Synnax means all their homes will be lost.
What we like: This is such a brilliant scene. From a behavioral lens, it does two things clearly. First, the dialogue lays bare the reality of the climate crisis. Despite being set in a very distant future on a distant alien planet, it speaks directly to our present moment. The teacher speaks clearly about how human activities have melted the ice caps on Synnax, how they caused sea levels to rise, and how that destroyed their food sources. The viewers at home know he could just as easily be talking about earth. Second, the teacher is shown as courageous, principled, and noble in his commitments to the truth. He serves as a role model – not just for Gaal, but also for us at home.
Why it matters: This clip really shows how the climate struggle can be interwoven into any story, any setting, and any genre. It can be in the present or millions of years in the future; on Earth or on a distant planet in a different galaxy. We are not alone in our climate struggle. We are participating in humanity’s timeless (and, seemingly endless) struggle to find harmony with nature, whether on Earth or on Synnax. Civilizations that meet the challenge survive; those that don’t perish.
Tags: Behaviors: Climate concern; Climate Science; Climate Denial; Positive Role Model; Showing the Struggle; Countering Climate Denial Type: Climate Cameo Character: Supporting Character Genre: Science Fiction; Drama Mood: Inciting Incident; Dialogue; Serious
Inter-Generational Climate Conversations
Foundation – Upon Awakening
Season 1, Episode 5 Time Code: 17:39-18:05 AppleTV Episode Credit
What’s happening: Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell) – inspired by the example of her courageous teacher Sion – searches out texts on mathematics and discovers that the climate change on her home planet of Synnax means all their homes will be lost.
What we like: Again, this scene does so much behavioral work. It models young people being inspired by role models to take a stand against the authority figures who deny climate reality. The dialogues allows Gaal to describe a future that is not too dissimilar to what many low-lying island nations will be facing in the coming decade, but in a manner that stays true to the context. And, finally, it captures the challenge that young people face when trying to express climate urgency to their elders – who can often be in denial or not sufficiently attuned to the anxieties of the younger generations.
Why it matters: Climate anxiety is growing among young people. Showing it on screen – even on a distant alien planet – helps people feel seen. It legitimizes their anxieties and their urgency. And, it gives comfort to those who struggle with these conversations in their daily lives. Successful and meaningful intergenerational dialogue on climate change is essential to building a broad climate coalition. This scene shows the struggle and gives voice to frustrations that we all feel.