Habitat loss, the extinction of species, severe droughts, rapidly diminishing polar ice, hugely powerful and destructive storms – how have we arrived at such a precarious point in the environmental history of our planet? In Television and the Earth: Not a Love Story, Jennifer Ellen Good argues that one of the fundamental reasons for the wholesale neglect and destruction of our environment is television – or, more precisely, the stories told on television. Stories have always been vital to how we make sense of the world, but in the historical blink of an eye, mediated communication changed the source and content of our stories. And no mediated storyteller continues to have a greater impact on our lives than television.
Exploring the essential, and essentially devastating, role television's celebration of materialism plays in our world, Television and the Earth: Not a Love Story arrives at the conclusion that there is nothing more responsible for environmental degradation than the materialism of the affluent countries of the world – and nothing teaches materialism more effectively than television.
Jennifer Ellen Good is an associate professor of communication, popular culture and film at Brock University.