Clean Tech in Hollywood?

The year is 2010.  An environmentally friendly president is in the White House, advocates of CO2 regulation are stronger than ever, and the world appears hungry for change.  This is the equation for a successful Clean Tech Revolution, a major battle in the war against climate change.  The problem… One of the most imperative parties has been left off the guest list.

Hollywood has proven time and time again to be one of the most influential players in the world.  The trends that have come from film and television throughout the decades have changed the lives of Americans and millions of others around the world.  The visualization effect is immeasurable.  The ability to watch characters they can relate to give viewers a high level of acceptance in day-to-day activities.  Friends and Frasier both illustrate this point perfectly.  By using a coffee shop as a meeting place amongst friends and/or family, a place to catch up on the non-sense of the day, habits in the real world have been forever influenced.  The “coffee shop” has become a part of American culture.  It’s no coincidence that the coffee shop boom took place over a time period similar to that when these two shows originally aired.::continue::

While hardly making a conscious decision, we began walking into coffee shops because our Friends on television were doing it, and it seemed nice.  Because of the images on television, it seemed natural.  Because of a show like Mary Tyler Moore, we gave more common acceptance to the ability of women in the workplace.  When Sidney Portier walked into Spencer Tracy’s home in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, our society began to further accept the idea of interracial couples.  The point is, Hollywood might just be the most powerful means of influence to our society and our world over the past century. 

That single notion begs the questions, “Why have we not invited Hollywood to join the Clean Tech Revolution?”  Imagine for a second that each house on Wisteria Lane (Desperate Housewives) had solar panels powering their homes.  (It doesn’t have to be a point drawn to…just part of the scenery.)  Let’s pretend that Will Ferrell’s next zany character worked as a wind farm operator or solar panel installer.  Do you think middle-aged women would join waitlists to order the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt Meryl Streep’s character Jane from It’s Complicated drove around in one?  I’d put odds on it.

The truth is that the Clean Tech Revolution is here to stay, but it is not in full force…not by a long shot.  The road ahead is long, but it is much longer without the help of Hollywood.  The television and film industries must become a factor; they must begin to reinvigorate the imagination of Americans to accept and move towards a green future.  If Hollywood subtly portrays imagines of solar power and wind power, biofuel, electric cars, and energy efficiency to Americans, they will have a much easier time buying into the Revolution.

Americans are stubborn.  They don’t like being told how to think or being forced into certain actions.  They feel a pride in making their decisions on their own.  But, Americans are often times influenced by what they see on the large and small screens without consciously realizing it.  Because of this, Hollywood has a chance to make a difference in a way that it has numerous times over the past century.  No other industry has the power to influence or shape the beliefs and habits of millions of people in the way that Hollywood can.

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