A climate story for every show


Inscribe the climate in your favorite series, from “Seinfeld” to “Scandal”.

What is your favorite television series? Flea bag? The golden girls? Whatever your preference, the screenwriters who created The Climate Storytelling Playbook have it in mindthere is room for climate change. The playbook, a one-of-a-kind resource, was created to help Hollywood tell more and better stories about global warming and affected communities of color who are pushing for solutions. In this excerpt from the online playbook, the creators of the project imagine how the climate crisis could manifest itself in a wide range of popular shows. Is one of them the on-screen climate story for you?

Because the climate crisis affects every aspect of our lives, it also cuts across all genders. We will die happy when we see a romantic comedy about the climate. (A climate activist falls in love with the daughter of a fossil fuel tycoon, anyone?) And detective fiction lends itself so well to this time when we need all the problem-solving skills we can pick up. . Action-adventure, comedies between friends, political thrillers, police procedures in pursuit of climate criminals, Wes Anderson reflections on the meaning of home…

Climate has its place in every story. The climate crisis can be integrated into any screenplay and genre, from a passing mention to being the driving force behind an episode. You don’t have to conscientiously produce program brochures. (Please don’t do that, there are so many brochures.) You can always write the stories that are most important to you, and the climate can be one of them.

A group of classic British soap operas coordinated climate-themed crossover episodes ahead of the UN climate conference COP26. Imagine the crossover potential in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

The dramatic potential is unending. When his mother is diagnosed with lung cancer, a teenager embarks on a one-man mission to sabotage the plastic factory next to his house. As the fires close in on Los Angeles, a woman must escape and she has nowhere to go but the hyper-religious house of her climate-denying uncle. A heat wave leaves so many homeless people in need of ER that a doctor loses his shit in the cafeteria, quits, and joins the circus – OK, that one’s a mess, but you’re the writer.

You get the idea: bad for humans; ideal for story fodder.

In “Climate Stories in Action” we illustrate this point using imaginary climate loglines from off-air shows, as well as case studies of films, TV shows and novels that are already doing the impressive job of portraying the crisis. climate in a moving and entertaining way.

FAST: Try a story about the climate crisis for the protagonist of your favorite show or the last show you worked on. How would Tony Soprano handle the emotional fallout from flash flooding in another hurricane? How would it cope with the uncertainty of climate degradation? Or what would Will Smith do if he had to cancel Uncle Phil’s surprise birthday party because of wildfire smoke? What would Jack McCoy do if a climate activist was arrested and the case landed on his desk?

Climate connections

Here are some climactic loglines for the off-air shows we love, several of which are written by writers from these venues.

BoJack Rider
Genre: Animated comedy
Logline: BoJack goes to his high school reunion, only to find that all the monarch butterflies he was with at a drama club are dead. (Written by BoJack Rider writer/producer Elijah Aron.)

Genre: Political drama
Logline: A huge pipeline protest is raging outside the White House. When a famous young Indigenous activist, Melanie, receives multiple death threats, Olivia wants to help but has a conflict of interest: Melanie discovers that President Grant’s campaign donors are the main funders of fuel pipelines. fossils.

The golden girls
Genre: Comedy
Logline: On the brink of hurricane season, Dorothy is terrified and wants to call in their repairman to do some serious waterproofing. Blanche is on board—if she can watch the handsome young repairman’s ass while he cleans the gutters and downspouts. Rose tells him to keep his libido in check, and much to Blanche’s horror, his $15,000 quote does just that.

Genre: Animated children’s comedy
Logline: Susie invites Tommy over to her house to see the “stroller panels” – creatures that live on the roof of her house and eat sunlight. Tommy is scared, and it takes him an adventure to the roof to realize that the creatures are friendly and “make Earth happier”.

Veronique March
Genre: Crime Drama
Logline: When water use is restricted in Neptune, 09er households don’t follow regulations and keep filling up their mansions‘ swimming pools without legal consequences. Angry, Veronica is determined to track down the billionaire who is bribing Sheriff Lamb and make sure the county police hold them accountable.

The purge
Genre: Action/Horror
Logline: This year on Purge Night, if the criminals don’t catch you, the Category 5 hurricane might. (Written by The purge executive producer/writer/showrunner Krystal Houghton Ziv.)

Genre: Supernatural action drama
Logline: Jesse Custer makes an uneasy alliance with Hitler, who, now that he’s taken over from Satan, is pissed that global warming allows the damned not to care so much about the fires of hell. (Written by Preacher creator/executive producer/showrunner Sam Catlin.)

Genre: Comedy
Logline: When George starts dating a climate activist, Kramer goes crazy after talking with her, trying and failing to figure out the right way to act. He stops eating meat, stop shower. What’s the best way to be?!

Flea bag
Genre: Drama
Logline: When the hot priest invites Fleabag to a climate protest, she agrees to go for one reason: to troll for doomsday sex, the best kind of sex there is.

Chewing gum
Genre: Comedy
Logline: Tracey wants to have sex with Connor, but he left without plastic and refuses to wear a condom.

Brooklyn nine-nine
Genre: Comedy
Logline: A big summer storm has caused flooding in Dumbo, and 99 is recruited to help with the rescue effort. Terry competes with Rosa on how much debris they can each clean up, while Jake and Amy find themselves stranded in a collapsed building with several hysterical residents.

Genre: Comedy
Logline: When Martin complains about homelessness, Frasier tries to shame his father by inviting a homeless man to spend the night in the recording studio during a freak snowstorm. But when the man also invites a group of his friends over to stay, Frasier is torn between looking bad and having them inhabit his studio until March — “or longer, if this crazy weather continues!”

Genre: Comedy
Logline: It was 75 degrees for a week in December, and the study group loves being able to work outside in the sun, except Britta, who invites them to help her organize a protest to get Greendale off fossil fuels. It is dismantled by the Dean, who tells them that Greendale is already carbon neutral: they cannot afford the fuel, so the electricity comes directly from a kinetic generator, powered by Chang running on a treadmill.

Genre: Drama
Logline: When Greta’s neighbor is hospitalized with asthma, she discovers that she lives in a “sacrifice zone” – a typically working-class neighborhood less than 2 miles from an oil well – and that asthma is rampant in her apartment complex. She calls on the GSA to campaign for a bigger buffer zone between her community and the oil wells. But Chester, Delilah and Ana decide to take more direct action and are detained for trespassing. (Written by Gender+ion writer Michelle Denise Jackson.)

Excerpted with permission from The Climate Storytelling Playbook, created and published by Good energy project and the Center for Cultural Power. Learn more about the collaboration here.


The Center of Cultural Power

is an artist-led organization of women of color, inspiring artists and culture makers to imagine a world where power is equally distributed and where we live in harmony with nature.

good energy

is a history consultancy in the age of climate change. Their mission is to inspire, support and accelerate scripted television and film stories that reflect the world we live in today and help us envision a better tomorrow.


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