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The Green Screen

By: Lauren Suh

In recent years, there has been a notable shift in the film industry towards incorporating environmental issues into movie plots. From documentaries to fictional narratives, filmmakers are increasingly using their platform to shed light on pressing environmental concerns. This shift reflects a growing global consciousness about the urgent need to address environmental challenges. 


“WALL-E” is a Pixar film that was released back in 2008. In “WALL-E”, the story unfolds in a post-apocalyptic Earth where neglect for the environment has rendered the planet uninhabitable. Through the eyes of a robot, the film explores how overconsumption and poor waste management has led to environmental degradation, urging audiences to contemplate the consequences of their actions on the planet.  

The Lorax

“The Lorax” by renowned Dr. Seuss is an animated fantasy comedy film released in 2012. Set in the fictional town of Thneedville, the story revolves around the Lorax, who speaks for the trees and confronts the Once-ler (a greedy industrialist responsible for the extinction of the Truffula trees). The Once-ler’s relentless pursuit of profit leads to the destruction of a once-lush landscape, resulting in the displacement of wildlife and the loss of biodiversity. As the narrative unfolds, “The Lorax” emphasizes the importance of environmental safekeeping, urging readers to take responsibility for preserving natural resources. 

My Octopus Teacher

“My Octopus Teacher” is a documentary film distributed by Netflix in 2020. With its captivating narrative, the documentary offers a profound exploration of the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world. Through the intimate bond formed between filmmaker Craig Foster and an octopus, the documentary delves into themes of biodiversity and habitat preservation. “My Octopus Teacher” serves as a poignant reminder of the profound beauty of nature and the imperative to protect it for future generations. 


“Avatar” is a fan favorite science fiction franchise with the first film “Avatar” being released in 2009 and the second film “Avatar: The Way of Water” being released in 2022. Set on the moon Pandora, the two films depict conflict between the Na’vi–an indigenous species–and the RDA Corporation, which seeks to exploit Pandora’s valuable resources. The first film portrays the destructive consequences of human colonization on grounds of nature while the second film delves deeper into Pandora’s ecosystem and the struggle for environmental preservation. The franchise serves as a powerful allegory for real-world issues, urging audiences to reevaluate their relationship with nature and the consequences of their exploitations. 

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

“Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom” is the prequel to the famous DC action movie “Aquaman” released in 2018. “Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom” incorporates environmental issues into its plot by emphasizing the importance of protecting the ocean and marine life. Through Aquaman’s adventures and challenges, the film sheds light on themes such as ocean pollution, global warming, and the impact of human activity on marine ecosystems. By showcasing the beauty and diversity of underwater environments, the film underscores the urgent need for environmental stewardship and sustainable practices to preserve the plant for future generations. 

All in all, repetitive themes on environmental causes are becoming highly present within the film industry. Through fascinating characters, complex settings, captivating plots, and incorporation of hidden themes, the film industry is shedding light to audiences of all ages the importance of preserving our planet.

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