Down the Green Carpet

Climate Change Takes Center Stage at the Oscars

An Inconvenient Truth’s two wins were highlighted by a commitment from the Academy to curb global warming by reducing its own ecological footprint.

“They were impressed I was able to rhyme An Inconvenient Truth—with youth,” Melissa Etheridge quipped about her award-winning song, “We Need to Wake Up,” at Sunday night’s Academy Awards.

Etheridge won in the Best Original Song category for her theme song for global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, while the film itself took home the prize for Best Documentary, underscoring the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ commitment to make this year the first green Oscars.

But it was the issue, rather than the film, that took center stage at the awards show. Rather than a usual skit or song-and-dance number, Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio were given time to applaud the Academy’s efforts to green the Oscars’ production, commenting, “This show has officially gone green…and it is not as hard as you might think.”

The Academy collaborated with the Natural Resources Defense Council to integrate ecologically intelligent practices into the planning and execution of the event, including purchasing energy credits to offset carbon emissions from the telecast and pre-show production units, incorporating environmentally sound features into the green room design, and using recycled materials in its paper products.

While the production was still far from being entirely carbon-neutral, telecast producer Laura Ziskin has said that she hopes this will “lay the groundwork for a more extensive, long-term program.”

Al Gore projected this sentiment to the global scale in his acceptance speech, saying, “We need to solve the climate crisis. It’s not a political issue. It’s a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started with the possible exception of the will to act. That’s a renewable resource. Let’s renew it.”

Etheridge echoed this call in her acceptance speech, saying, “Caring about the earth is not Republican or Democrat. It’s not red or blue. We are all green. This is our job now. We can become the greatest generation—the generation that changed, the generation that woke up and did something.”

The Oscars website is providing tips for readers who want to reduce their own ecological footprint. But it is also up to the federal government to lift their ears and follow the voice of the American people by setting standards to reduce America’s emissions and promote alternative energy solutions.

The Center for American Progress has released numerous reports that confirm what the Academy reported on Sunday night: it can be both easy and cost effective to invest in sustainable technology.

To read about the Center for American Progress’ policy solutions for reducing global warming, see:

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.