Climate change continues to be vacant in our movies and TV shows

Sammy Roth is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times who focuses a lot on the energy beat, and recently wrote about this lack of climate change representation in media.

a forest fire with smoke covering an area near a lake, hills and mountains

Forest fire near Lee Vining in Mono County, California.

One of the main things on young people’s minds these days is climate change. They worry about the future and their place in it. Some are at the perfect age where it feels like it’s too late to do anything about climate change, even though at the same time, it’s all they can think about.  

When these younger generations reach 60 years old or so, will they have to spend their later years in life fighting in the water wars? We hope not. But they’re not alone in worrying about climate change and how it’s going to affect our lives in the future.  


Related: dream hampton’s new video short “Freshwater” explores her Detroit childhood, climate change


Usually, when something is rattling around our consciousness, it ends up in our arts, in our writing, in our paintings, in our TV shows and in our films. But a recent survey points out that this is not the case for the subject of climate change. 

You might have a high profile film or two that turns it into a plot point, but statistically, it’s not something we’re seeing on our screens. So why is that?  

Sammy Roth is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. He focuses a lot on the energy beat, and he recently wrote about this lack of climate change representation in media, writing that, “The climate crisis is the biggest story of our time. So why isn’t the entertainment industry acting like it?” Roth joined CultureShift to talk about climate change representation in our movies and TV shows — and the lack thereof. 

“If we don’t have some ability to be optimistic, if we don’t have some ability to envision a better, safer future, there’s no way we’re going to bring it about. I think that starts with our imagination.” — Sammy Roth, LA Times 

For more environmental coverage, subscribe to Roth’s newsletter, Boiling Point. 

This segment originally aired on November 15, 2022.

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Author

  • Ryan Patrick Hooper

    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.