Gunn, A. & Jackson, F. (2005). American mass media and sustainable development. The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability, 1(4), 51-55.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2083
The American mass media overwhelmingly promote a consumer culture, while paying scant attention to the effects this culture has on the environment. American film and television, especially, is reaching more and more people worldwide, thus promoting wasteful overconsumption on a global scale by encouraging people to abandon traditional, sustainable lifestyles and to aspire to an unsustainable consumerist lifestyle. Hollywood has produced many highly successful movies addressing major social issues, including environmental issues such as chemical pollution, nuclear radiation, and global warming, yet it fails to tie these concerns to the consumerist behaviour that is at the root of these problems. Although it may be too much to expect the American mass media to actively promote sustainable development, it is surely irresponsible to promote consumerism as if it had no adverse environmental consequences. Of course, ultimate power rests with the consumer, without whom there would be no audience to make moves for: but the decision about which movies to make, and where to release them, is in the hands of production companies. They have responsibilities not only to present generations but also to future ones.
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This article has been published in the journal: the International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability. ©2005 Alastair Gunn & Fiona Jackson.