Greening Plotlines and Characters

Energize Environmentalism with “Eco Inside”!

By blending environmental messaging into your characters’ lives, you can help raise awareness and incite action. Characters’ behaviors and actions, however subtle, can have a positive effect on audiences. From large plot points – the happy couple that opt for a ‘green’ wedding – to the simplicity of including a recycling bin in the family kitchen or a character driving a hybrid, the integration of ‘eco inside’ is subliminal messaging at its most heartfelt.

How to put ‘eco inside’ your plot: When it comes to green messaging, EMA knows what resonates. Listed below are suggestions for Character Actions at home, at the office and in school with a corresponding Prop Master Green Shopping List to help streamline the process.

Also, our Hot Button Issues page will help you get more familiar with current environmental affairs that are making headlines and generating conversations at the water cooler.

At HOME, characters can:

  • Put items into recycling bins – newspaper, cans, plastics, glass, junk mail.
  • Come back from grocery shopping carrying a canvas bag.
  • Drive hybrids or alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Turn off lights when leaving the room.
  • Walk or ride a bike for errands, to school or parties; or carpool.
  • Donate old household items to charities, shelters, schools etc.
  • Buy food in bulk; put food into reusable storage containers.
  • Buy organic food and other products from farmers markets or health food stores.
  • Have organic labeled products on the kitchen counter, on shelves, in the refrigerator.
  • Turn off the water when brushing teeth or scrubbing pots and pans.
  • Volunteer for environmental and social causes.
  • Put Kids’ lunches in reusable containers and reusable lunch bags.
  • Wear t-shirts with green slogans.
  • Hang posters with eco messages.
  • Use bamboo (a sustainable alternative to wood) bowls and cutting boards in kitchen, on the table and as decor.
  • Use permanent coffee filters, not disposable ones.
  • Own appliances with energy star labeling.
  • Show off the following eco labels when applicable: USDA organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Fair Trade Certified, Certified Human and Green Seal.
  • Use solar energy: smaller examples of solar-powered technology can include yard or patio lighting (it doesn’t have to be solar panels for the whole house or nothing).
  • Have laundry drying on a clothesline for scenes in backyard.

Prop Master Shopping List for Homes:

  • A blue or green recycling bin: to be placed in the kitchen/garage; the bin should have the recycle symbol clearly visible, with such words as cans, glass, plastic, newspaper, or junk mail.
  • Earth friendly dishwashing soap: on the sink.
  • Earth friendly laundry soap: by the laundry basket.
  • Canvas shopping bags: hanging from a hook in the kitchen or pantry.
  • Bulk reusable food containers: placed on countertops; perhaps labeled “organic”.
  • Reusable containers: low kids’ lunches stored and carried in them.
  • Drying “rack”: located on the counter for plastic baggies.
  • Alternative fuel vehicles: employ electric or hybrid cars, or at minimum, those with high mileage efficiency.
  • Bikes hanging or parked in plain view: located in garage or driveway.
  • Push mower and hand-powered tools: located in garage vs. gas powered or electric.
  • Donation bins: located in garage, living room, bedroom for old household items to charities, shelters, schools etc.
  • Signs: reminding kids (& parents) to turn off lights, TV, games, and to not waste water when brushing teeth, showering, washing dishes etc.
  • T-shirts with green messages: support eco endeavors.
  • Posters from eco messages: hang in kids’ bedroom.
  • Plants throughout the house: as décor and to reiterate air purification.
  • Energy Star labeled appliances: use when possible with Energy Star logo facing camera.
  • Permanent coffee filters: never use disposable filters if character makes coffee.
  • Bamboo bowls and cutting boards: use bamboo as an alternative to any wood item.
  • Eco Labels: place the following eco labels on product when applicable: USDA organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Fair Trade Certified, Certified Human and Green Seal.
  • Native flowers and shrubs: use those that are indigenous to the show’s fictional location.
  • Clothesline: for backyard scenes.

At the OFFICE, characters can:

  • Utilize recycling bins for white paper, mixed paper/junk mail, magazines, newspapers, bottles and cans.
  • Eat with and drink from reusable kitchenware and mugs (no disposable paper, plastic, or styrofoam).
  • Carpool to work in a vehicle that gets high gas mileage or alternative fuel vehicle, or use public transportation.
  • Work in offices surrounded by plants and natural lighting from windows.
  • Turn off lights, computers and equipment when not in use.
  • Petition the office to upgrade to energy efficient equipment with EPA’s Energy Star label.
  • Donate old computer software to schools, children’s organizations, nonprofits.
  • Bring lunch packed in reusable containers.
  • Use laptops, not desktops.

Prop Master Shopping List for Offices:

  • A blue or green recycling bin: to be placed in the kitchen/garage; the bin should have the recycle symbol clearly visible, with such words as cans, glass, plastic, newspaper, or junk mail.
  • Reusable kitchenware and mugs: do not show disposable paper, plastic, or styrofoam in the break-room.
  • Reusable containers: for lunches brought to work.
  • Alternative fuel vehicles: employ electric or hybrid cars for characters’ carpooling or have them use public transportation.
  • Plants/Natural Lighting: have sets include offices surrounded by plants and natural lighting from windows.
  • Signs: to remind office workers to turn off lights, computers and office equipment when not in use; include energy conservation notifications if possible.
  • Donation bins: for old computer software to schools, nonprofits, children’s/women’s organizations.
  • Hand crank paper shredders: have on desks, in mailroom.
  • Framed posters: include slogans that reflect the commitment of the corporation/business (e.g. giving back to the community, supporting certain causes, supporting children’s organizations, etc.).
  • Laptops: laptops use significantly less energy than desktops.

At SCHOOL, characters can:

  • Avoid using paper, plastic and styrofoam in cafeterias and use glasses, plates and silverware instead.
  • Utilize recycling bins for white paper, mixed paper/junk mail, magazines, newspapers, bottles and cans.
  • Throw litter away in garbage cans.
  • Eat healthy snacks instead of using vending machines.
  • Take public transportation.
  • Be surrounded by posters, signs and bumper stickers that promote environmental organization messaging on classroom/hallway walls, backpacks, bikes, cars.
  • At sporting events, drink from a reusable water container, not a disposable plastic bottle.

Prop Master Shopping List for Schools:

  • Glasses, plates and silverware: avoid paper, plastic, styrofoam in cafeterias.
  • A blue or green recycling bin: to be placed in the cafeteria and quads/courtyards; the bin should have the recycle symbol clearly visible, with such words as cans, glass, plastic, newspaper, or junk mail.
  • Juice bar and bakery: versus snack/candy shop/vending machines on campus.
  • Public bus stops/shuttles: on or near campus.
  • Organic, fair trade signage: in coffee shop, include obvious signage noting “organic coffee sold here” and/or “fair trade”.
  • Posters, bumper stickers: environmental organization messaging on classroom/hallway walls, backpacks, bikes, cars.
  • Garbage cans: indoor/outdoor, recyclable and regular.
  • Reusable water bottles: at sporting events, use Sigg or another brand as a fashionable substitute for plastic bottles.