‘Climate Reality Check’ measures accurate representation of climate change in movies, TV shows

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A new study is demanding the entertainment industry acknowledge “climate change is our reality” with a proper “reality check.”

“It’s happening here and now, not elsewhere or in the future. It touches every aspect of life. But that reality is still largely absent from our on-screen stories,” the study read. “The Climate Reality Check is a simple tool to evaluate whether our climate reality is being represented in films, TV shows, and other narratives. It’s inspired by the Bechdel-Wallace Test, which measures gender representation.”

The Bechdel-Wallace Test refers to an idea popularized by comic artist Alison Bechdel in 1985 that claimed a film accurately portrayed women if it featured at least two female characters who have a conversation that does not involve a man.

World on fire

The “Climate Reality Check” study emphasized that “the characters in the stories we watch and love” would recognize climate change. (Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Similarly, the “Climate Reality Check” requires the film or show to acknowledge that climate change exists with at least one character knowing it. This can be accomplished by referencing “unprecedented” weather events or a character using the term “climate change” in dialogue.

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As an example, the study viewed 13 Oscar-nominated films and found that 23%, or three movies, passed the test. The films were “Barbie,” “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” and “Nyad.”

In “Barbie,” climate change is alluded to when Sasha, played by Arianna Greenblatt, tells Margot Robbie’s Barbie that “You set the feminist movement back fifty years, you destroyed girls’ innate sense of worth, and you’re killing the planet with your glorification of rampant consumerism.”

FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2015, file photo, an Oscar statue appears outside the Dolby Theatre for the 87th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards are announced on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

The study took 23 Oscar-nominated films and looked for references to climate change. (AP)

In “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” the U.S. develops an AI cyberweapon to prepare for the possibility of “a ballistic war over a rapidly shrinking ecosystem.” 

“Nyad” specifically cites “global warming” as a reason for changes in the ecosystem.

“The Climate Reality Check does not suggest or require that every story center around climate change, nor does it prescribe what kinds of stories filmmakers should tell. It simply measures whether our current climate reality is being reflected on-screen. How that is done, friends, is up to you,” the study stated.

The study reported that it came to its conclusion after its authors spoke with more than 200 writers, showrunners, executives, communications experts, and others. The authors hoped that by 2027, 50% of Oscar-nominated films would pass the “Climate Reality Check.”

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Climate change protest European Union

The “Climate Reality Check” hopes 50% of Oscar films will reference climate change in the future. (FOX News Digital )

“We are all being impacted by and emotionally responding to climate change, so the characters in the stories we watch and love would be too,” the study read.

The study was published by Good Energy, an organization dedicated to accurate media portrayals of climate change, and Colby College’s Buck Lab for Climate and Environment. Fox News Digital reached out to both groups for a comment.

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