Sustainable Characters Leading The Way In Film And Television

Give it up for our fave TV show/ movie eco-warriors! 

While there has been an increase in socially conscious TV and movie characters in recent years, there haven’t been nearly enough eco-friendly comedic characters on TV.

Indeed, a few cliches have arisen in regard to environmental narratives — and while they occasionally provide some amusement, writers frequently portray environmentalist characters as obsessed and judgmental, while pushing the message that living sustainably might cause more harm than good.

We’re here to change that perspective: Caring for the environment – something that will help everyone in the world—should be one of many attributes in a TV character. We hope these characters inspire you to do the same:

1/5: Phoebe Buffay, Friends

Probably the most iconic TV show there is to exist: Friends gives us an insight on 6 wild individuals living in Manhattan as they go on escapades that make their lives both difficult and exciting.

Over the many seasons, Phoebe stated unequivocally that she never eats “food with a face,” despises wearing fur jackets, and cries when flowers die. That’s how much she cares about the environment.

In Season 6, Episode 11 we get ‘The One with the Apothecary Table’, where we learn that Phoebe hates Pottery Barn: “She hates all mass produced stuff. She thinks her furniture should have a history, a story behind it.” We love Phoebe’s passion for preloved, a true advocate for sustainable living!

2/5: Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons

The Simpsons follow Homer Simpson, a working-class parent, and his dysfunctional family who deal with comedic circumstances and the ups and downs of life in Springfield.

Lisa Simpson is one of the most well-known vegetarians on television. She is frequently vocal about her dislike for her father’s meat-eating lifestyle, which she abandoned in season seven. She is a member of PETA and has even expressed interest in becoming a full-fledged vegan. Throughout the show, she has discussed living an eco-friendly, vegetarian lifestyle with a variety of (fictional and non-fictional) characters.

In Season 14, Episode 16 we see another one of Lisa’s impromptu environmental activism, only this time she creates a mass blackout.. When Lisa becomes interested in astronomy, she quickly addresses the issue of light pollution in Springfield. In desperation, she joins forces with Bart to overload the nuclear power plant, resulting in the mass blackout. The locals form an angry mob, but the beauty of a meteor shower awes and subdues them. ICON.

3/5: Marshall Eriksen, How I Met Your Mother

Ted Mosby, an architect, tells his children about the circumstances that led up to his meeting their mother. The presence of his friends Lily, Marshall, Robin, and Barney adds to the excitement of his journey.

Aside from his love of family and commitment to monogamy, the most important aspect of Marshall’s persona is that he is a lawyer who wants to save the earth. He is an outspoken environmentalist who hopes to effect change through contesting and winning major court cases. Throughout the seasons we witness Marshall’s desperation to work at an Environmental Law Firm.

In Season 7, Episode 10 Marshall gets the job of his dreams and we promptly see him picking up a case and going head to head against his friend Brad. Marshall sues Gruber Pharmaceuticals for polluting Frog Lake and we see him win the case for his firm. Marshall is inspired to apply for a judgeship after the judge makes a disappointing decision, ordering Gruber to pay only 0.001 percent of the twenty-five-million-dollar claim.

4/5: Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich is a 2000 American drama, romance film which is based on a true story. It follows a legal assistant who uncovers a huge corporation’s dark secret that threatens the citizens’ health. She goes out to pursue justice with the assistance of her boss.

Environmental activist and well-known consumer advocate, Erin Brockovich fights injustice on several fronts to this day. Julia Roberts earned an Academy Award for her role in Erin Brockovich as the titular real-life heroine. Brockovich was a famous single mother who worked at a law firm and exposed a cover-up by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which had been poisoning a community’s water source, causing many of its people to suffer from catastrophic health problems.

5/5: WALL•E

In this 2008 film, a robot in charge of cleaning up a waste-filled Earth meets another robot and falls in love with her. They embark on a journey that will change the course of human history.

WALL•E is alone on a garbage-filled Earth in this cautionary tale set in the future, attempting to literally clean up the mess we humans have made of our home. And when WALL•E inexplicably discovers a solitary seedling plant, he recognises the worth of this living thing—a symbol of hope and rebirth—without any education or special programming. The critiques made in the film are still relevant to this day and shows how the characters can upend the circumstances they’ve been placed in.

Did we miss any sustainable TV/ Movie characters? Let us know on our Instagram @wearthlondon!