The media is at the forefront of generating awareness over environmental issues. It is easy to name influential films like An Inconvenient Truth or note advances made by The Guardian’s environmental reporting. But what is often missing from this discussion is the environmental costs of producing media in the first place.
Whether these be the energy that powers Al Gore’s visually stunning presentations or the materials – wood pulp, ink, detergents, cleansing solvents – required for printing a newspaper, there are considerable environmental costs involved. The media industry has slowly come to realise these costs, often as a result of prodding from NGOs like Greenpeace or in the form of policy (such as the BBC requiring carbon reporting for all its productions). The print sector has elaborate mechanisms in place to use recycled paper and minimise the use of harmful toxins. Similarly, the film and television sectors have started to develop carbon calculators to allow productions to assess – and curtail – their emissions.