Planet Green: A New Kind of T.V.
There was a time, not so long ago (oh, the 90’s), when to the majority of Americans “going green” meant chanting the mantra “Reduce Reuse Recycle,” buying an Earth Day t-shirt and, lets be honest, actually knowing on what day to wear said Earth Day t-shirt. Today, we live in a very different world. No longer is conservation and environmental awareness a left-field cry or Dick Cheney’s “personal virtue,” being environmentally intelligent has become a sound way to save money, and as such is an important way of life for many Americans. Environmentalism is now very much part of the mainstream, it is hip, modern, and marketable. The automotive, food, and building industries have all “gone green,” and now so has your television.
Enter the Discovery Channel spin-off Planet Green, an entire network based on environmentally savvy living that was launched on June 4th. The purpose of the channel is to notify consumers of green issues as well as educate them with things they can do to help the planet in their day to day experience. In this way, Planet Green challenges and redefines the role of the television network in our lives. It is a network not content in a passive relationship with its viewers, with vegetative programming solely aimed at soullessly entertaining the masses. Planet Green is different in that it stands for something and actively seeks to change the viewer’s life through education, inspiration, and practicality. The message of the network is apparent in all its programming…“It’s not as hard as you think!” “Sustainable life is not only the future, it is also the present!” “We can do this!”
Luckily, Planet Green also succeeds in making green issues entertaining and fun (rather than preachy and pandering) not as a “novelty network,” but a serious cable player. Planet Green was ambitiously launched with a line-up of 14 brand new shows in a number of genres, from do-it-yourself shows designed to decrease the ecological footprint of the average home (‘Greenovate,’ ‘Renovation Nation’) to green cooking shows (‘Emeril Green’) to sitcom (‘Living with Ed’… think ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ with Ed Begley, Jr.). The most powerful show (and the cornerstone of the network) is the Leonardo DiCaprio produced “Greensburg,” which chronicles the decision to rebuild the city of Greensburg, Kansas (95% of which was destroyed by a tornado in 2007) into the world’s first town designed with a comprehensive plan of sustainability and green innovation. Planet Green succeeds in representing a broad range of ideas and perspectives as well as issues and challenges regarding “going green,” and as such is taking an active role in generating conversation and motivating individuals to take action when it comes to improving the environmental status of our planet.
Planet Green continues to redefine the role of television networks with its robust online presence and community; if the network is the horn, the website is its rallying banner. PlanetGreen.com is filled with solution-oriented tips and information that help make your life a little (or a lot) greener. The website provides information and support for every aspect of life, with pages titled “Fashion & Beauty,” “Tech & Transport” and “Food & Health” (to name just a few) all designed to aid viewers in the process of adopting a responsible lifestyle. You are able to connect with like-minded individuals in a community that is ready and willing to accept the change that Planet Green represents.