It's not like Hollywood doesn't have enough aggravation with the writers' strike forcing TV land into reruns and writers onto picket and unemployment lines. It also turns out that, according to a recent UCLA study, California's film industry is the state's second largest polluter. (Next to the oil industry, adding insult to injury.)
As the AP newswire grimly reports: "No amount of public service announcements or celebrities driving hybrid cars can mask the fact that movie and TV production is a gritty industrial operation, consuming enormous amounts of power to feed bright lights, run sophisticated cameras, and feed a cast of thousands."
Fortunately, this blight is no newsflash for Hollywood types. They've been working feverishly to turn things around by hiring environmental watchdogs and making green initiatives their new "it" stars.
So is it working? Researchers found that the industry is too fragmented to regulate, but to paraphrase the wisdom of one esteemed eco-leader, Ed Begley Jr., everyone needs to do whatever they can. And Hollywood's certainly putting their greenest foot forward.
Even the stars are getting into the act. Actress Cameron Diaz requested that her film "In Her Shoes" meet the standards for a "green seal" (as set by the Environmental Media Association, and she insisted on flying commercial for filming and promotion. Leonardo DiCaprio set strict eco-rules for production on his "11th Hour," as did Al Gore for "An Inconvenient Truth."
Producers Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich turned things green with their 2004 "The Day After Tomorrow," when the studio paid $200,000 to offset 10,000 of the set's evil emissions by planting trees. "The Matrix" movie sets saw a whopping 97.5% of materials recycled; its steel and lumber were reused for low-income housing in Mexico. ReUse People of America, a nonprofit that deconstructs film sets, claims it was cheaper to dismantle and reuse the material than the fee a contractor would charge for demolition.
Steve Carell as Evan Almighty (courtesy NBC)
And, of course, Tom Shadyac's "Evan Almighty" laid down some "green prints" for how to run an environmentally conscious set. Besides the usual recycling during filming, driving eco-friendly vehicles and using solar power and diesel fuel, Universal offset the production's greenhouse gasses by donating 2,000 trees to the Conservation Fund.
On the TV front, the producers of Fox's "24" announced that they would secure wind and solar energy to power up their soundstages, use biodiesel fuel for set cars and onset generators, and recycle everything possible. Fox Studios aims to be carbon neutral by 2010.
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