The new dark comedy Don’t Look Up shakes up the idea of what makes a good climate movie. Rather than focusing purely on weird science or Al Gore, it tells a great story by highlighting the criminal inaction on climate change. (Well, technically it’s about a comet headed for Earth, but it’s a clear stand-in for our real-world crisis.)
It’s also not alone in telling a story about climate change in a punchy way this year. Don’t Look Up was preceded this summer with a slightly more subtle climate movie: No Sudden Move, a mob thriller based on a little-known conspiracy by automakers in the 1950s to cover up their own research into air pollution.
It’s great that Hollywood seems to finally be finding ways to break out of the tired old model of telling environmental and climate stories using either heavy-handed storytelling like The Day After Tomorrow or bogus sci-fi setups like Geostorm. Focusing on inaction or actual crimes puts climate in more concrete terms. While Don’t Look Up is pure fiction, there’s no shortage of real-world examples of climate fuckery to highlight on the silver screen. In the spirit of giving Hollywood some story fodder to keep the momentum going, we’ve compiled a list of environmental crimes and criminals (in both the letter of the law and court of public opinion) that would be great fodder for the next blockbuster. Have at it, movie producers!