This UCLA study addresses the frequency and relevancy of sustainable behaviours on screen, particularly in American television shows, by addressing the following research questions: 1) What sustainable and unsustainable behaviours occur most frequently in past and present TV shows? and 2) Are the behaviours present on television the most relevant to the environmental problems we face in our society today? The researchers reviewed 50 of the most popular drama and comedy television series and analysed the demographics of characters who engaged in both sustainable and unsustainable behaviours, the context of those behaviours, and how the frequency of such behaviours changed over time. In total, they watched 425 hours of television.
A few key figures
The percentage of sustainable behaviours as compared to the total behaviours observed in the 50 American TV shows viewed by researchers.
The percentage of unsustainable behaviours as compared to the total behaviours observed in the 50 American TV shows viewed by researchers.
The number of instances coded as “not typical” out of the 2,725 sustainable behaviour instances recorded during the study of American TV shows.
The percentage of men engaging in on-screen sustainable behaviours, as compared to 50% of women.
The percentage of women engaging in on-screen sustainable behaviours, as compared to 60% of men.