NBC’s Green Week 2009 featured an entertaining energy challenge for the characters of 30 Rock, when Jack tasks Kenneth and the office with reducing the show’s energy consumption by five per cent. Here are some highlights of how characters committed to help the cause.
Liz Lemon: Agrees to remove the mini fridge from her office yet in the end, she chooses to keep it.
Jack: Says that he “loves the earth”because he flies in rare Sri Lankan blossoms every day on a private jet, claiming this behavior is “the definition of green.”
Jenna: Believes she is part of the solution as she “once took a low volume shower.”
Frank: Proves to be the greenest member of the office, because he never wastes food or water and manages to successfully grow a garden outside of his window. These “green” behaviors, we come to learn, are a result of his filthy lifestyle of trash picking and lack of laundry use.
The show concludes with a cameo from Al Gore who explains to Kenneth that “if we’re going to solve the climate crisis we’ve got to change more than the lightbulbs.” Gore further recommends that Kenneth encourage his lawmakers to take action.
What can we learn from our fictional friends at 30 Rock? Jenna, Liz and Jack are guilty of the single action bias, believing that their half-hearted, singular actions were enough to help with energy reduction. The Center for Research on Environmental Decisions’s The Psychology of Climate Change Communication helps combat this challenge. Recognition is key!
Gore’s lesson to Kenneth is an important point about collective political action. More ideas in CRED’s Guide, Section 7, Encourage Group Participation. Kenneth’s attempts to reach all members of the office with his task are equally commendable, as he worked diligently to include as many people as possible in the energy reduction challenge.
NBC should be commended for Knowing Their Audience, CRED Guide, Section 1, and cleverly integrating environmentally responsible themes into their programming and web content. In the future, they could take the concept even further and incorporate environmental awareness into their shows all year long.