Date of Award

Fall 2023

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Lauren Steimer

First Reader

Dr. Kelly Wolf

Second Reader

Dr. Kelly Wolf


This thesis focuses on demonstrating that the motion picture industry, which includes film and television production (and thus will also be called ‘the film and television industry’), has notably contributed to the global effects of climate change. Such contributions can stem from the industry’s emissions and waste, with examples including travel for cast and crew, energy use for production equipment (some of which run on diesel), and disposable physical sets and costumes. The intention here is to give an accurate picture of current production practices and share examples of progress in the industry that are combating the negative impacts of these practices, reducing (or altogether eliminating) them. While it is by no means perfect, the research for this thesis finds that there are multiple innovative and quickly spreading options for lowering and eliminating a production’s impacts within the motion picture industry, and there are a few ways they could become even more widely embraced, such as through legislation, tax credits, and changes in production cultures. This industry is a highly visible and therefore a hugely influential one when it comes to establishing and spreading more sustainable ways to work, and the goal of this thesis is to show the necessity of and options for doing so.

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© 2023, Alexis J. Simpson