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.

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.
  • Laptops: laptops use significantly less energy than desktops.

Hot Button Issues:

Fracking: Hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside. The problem with fracking is that it has the potential to contaminate ground water, as well as add tons of pollutants to the air. Also, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that earthquakes induced by human activity have been documented in the United States, Japan, and Canada.

See more: Dangers of Fracking

GMO Food and Labeling: GMO are genetically modified organisms that have been created using new techniques of recombinant DNA technology. However, the term is misleading because almost all domesticated animals and crop plants have been genetically modified over thousands of years by human selection and cross-breeding. GMO are viewed with concern because of public debate over the safety of the products and the fear that GMO foods represent a type of “biological” pollution. The battle has been particularly intense in Europe, where GMO have been banned since 1998.

See more: Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?

BPA: BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. In particular, BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles, and baby bottles and cups.

See more: Facts About BPA

Electric Cars: An electric car is an automobile that is propelled by one or more electric motors, using electrical energy stored in batteries or another energy storage device.

See more: Electric Cars: A Definitive Guide

EV Range Anxiety: Range anxiety is the fear that a vehicle has insufficient range to reach its destination and would thus strand the vehicle’s occupants. The term, which is primarily used in reference to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), is considered to be one of the major barriers to large scale adoption of all-electric cars.

See more: AAA To Address EV Range Anxiety With Mobile Charging Trucks

Solar Energy: Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar energy technologies can make considerable contributions to solving some of the most urgent problems the world now faces.

See more: Discover the True Facts About Solar Energy

Nuclear Energy: Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world’s energy and 13–14% of the world’s electricity with the U.S.France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity. In 2007, the IAEA reported there were 439 nuclear power reactors in operation in the world, operating in 31 countries. Also, more than 150 naval vessels using nuclear propulsion have been built.

There is an ongoing debate about the use of nuclear energy. Proponents, such as the World Nuclear Association and IAEA, contend that nuclear power is a sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissionsOpponents, such as Greenpeace International and NIRS, believe that nuclear power poses many threats to people and the environment.

See more: 11 Facts About Nuclear Energy

Single Use Plastic Bags: Single-use bags, both paper and plastic, represent a huge threat to the environment. This threat is not only related to the sheer volume of them ending up in landfill, but also to the resources needed to produce, transport and (occasionally) recycle them, and the emissions resulting from these processes. Single-use plastic bags are also well known for their interference in ecosystems and the part they play in flood events, where they clog pipes and drains.

See more: Should Plastic Bags Be Banned?

Geo-Thermal: Energy that is generated and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. Earth’s geothermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet (20%) and from radioactive decay of minerals (80%). Heat from the earth can be used as an energy source in many ways, from large and complex power stations to small and relatively simple pumping systems. This heat energy, known as geothermal energy, can be found almost anywhere—as far away as remote deep wells in Indonesia and as close as the dirt in our backyards.

Many regions of the world are already tapping geothermal energy as an affordable and sustainable solution to reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and the global warming and public health risks that result from their use.

See more: Ask the Experts: Why hasn’t the US tapped into its geothermal power potential more?

Permaculture: Short for permanent agriculture. The development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

A concept which involves examining and following nature’s patterns. Permaculture advocates designing human systems that are based on natural ecosystems.

Permaculture can exist in everything from a basic garden to housing designs to city systems. A permaculture garden, if designed correctly (that is, mimicking nature) should be self-sustainable.

See more: Tropicalpermaculture.com breaks down what a permaculture garden would entail in easy to understand terms: Think about it, nobody digs and sows, plants and weeds, or sprays bugs in a forest. Still, all those chores are taken care of somehow. The forest grows and feeds its inhabitants, doesn’t it?

If any task in your garden is an unpleasant chore then there is definitely a better way to do it or to eliminate it. Learn from nature. Nature has already developed a solution to every problem that you could possibly encounter in your garden.

Conservation, careful energy accounting, reducing waste, using “green” resources, recycling, but also a healthy lifestyle, pure and fresh food, clean water and a clean environment to live in… It’s all part of permaculture, either as part of the design or as a result of the design.