When green turns brown

May 2009.
July 1, 2007

May 2009.

That’s my prediction for when the Western world will finally stop giving a crap about being ‘green.’

That’s when all of this programming and all these channel launches and slot repositions will begin to be viewed through the same sadly sympathetic, rose-colored glasses we now reserve for things like Woodstock. It was a great party, man. Hope you stayed away from the brown acid.

Despite Al Gore’s best intentions, people are already beginning to tire of being told they have to be more environmentally friendly – or else. The doom and the gloom are a real downer, and alarmist films like Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack’s A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash (which I have to confess to hating) will only speed the process along.

What will keep the movement alive until May 2009 is the Federal election in the US. A whole bunch of old white guys – who are all equally culpable when it comes to the environment – are going to use the issue to beat the hell out of each other, and will try to convince us that they, and we, really care about the issue. They don’t. We don’t. Not really. Not enough to permanently change our ways. There will be a six-month hangover after the election, but then everyone’s switching back to Spike TV and Bravo, and fuck the planet.

This issue, we devote lots of space to ‘green’ viewers – who they are and what they want – and I don’t want to take away from that. This is a valuable and viable demo slice, and broadcasters and producers should exploit it. But, in my opinion, it’s a passing fancy, and the people whose livelihoods depend on good decisions about programming need to keep that in mind. (I suspect most broadcasters already know this, thanks to their research departments.)

The problem really is that you never win when you bet against basic human interests. People like eating, and having sex, and watching people hurt each other. You’ll never get them to care enough about an abstract (like ‘the planet’) to make money on it in the long-term. Is that sad? Or pessimistic? It doesn’t matter in the least. It is what it is.

Just keep it in mind when you start planning your 2009 sked.

Brendan Christie

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.