Earth Day has arrived and once again we can expect to see special episodes of both scripted and reality-based shows about how to save the planet. But what about the series that do it all year round? They may not realize they're doing it, but there are plenty of TV programs out there that promote green behavior on a weekly basis, whether it's in the creative, the behind-the-scenes decisions or the examples set by their characters in an average episode. So when we're not all underwater in 50 years, these are the ten of the shows we should thank.
The average hot tub holds about 475 gallons of water, and every time you fill it up, you're depleting the amount of potable water in our nation's watersheds. So before you do, make sure that as many people are in it as is physically possible. Not only will you fill it less often, you'll need less water to do the job! The cast of Jersey Shore recognizes the importance of conserving our natural resources, so whenever they find themselves with some extra room in da tub, they invite random skanks up off the street to share it with them.
Celebrity Apprentice/Dancing With the Stars
Recycling cans and bottles is one thing, but these shows recycle entire people. If not for Apprentice and DWTS, these former celebrities would be cluttering up our landfills and our autograph areas at pop culture conventions. By repurposing them for business and ballroom dancing, respectively, these shows have given them second lives as debatably useful human beings.
The United States of Tara
Apprentice and DWTS may recycle old talent for their shows, but Tara recycles the talent within their own show! With Toni Collette playing six different characters, she's a one-woman ensemble, which cuts down on the raw talent needed, as well as resources like trailers, makeup and craft services.
In the pursuit of scientific advancements, scientists must often test their findings on other living things. Unfortunately, animals often fill that role, because their lives are often seen as less valuable than those of humans, but the scientists on Fringe have done away with the barbarism of animal testing. To men like Walter Bishop and William Bell, human lives are just as worthless as animal lives, so they test their processes on human subjects almost exclusively. Whether it's teleportation or pyrokinesis, the lab techs of Fringe are constantly making sure that no animals were harmed in the development of their living weapons.
What happens to old Survivor challenges when they've been conquered? They either get thrown away in a landfill or left in the jungle to rust. But thanks to the new "Heroes and Villains" program, Survivor has begun to re-use old challenges, thereby creating less waste. Factor in the recycling of old contestants, who've done all of these challenges before, and they take less time to complete, and therefore use less film to record. If only they required less time to watch...
You'd think that the staff of Dunder Mifflin would be absent from this list -- after all, their core business is selling paper and we never hear them discuss the level of post-consumer recycled content in their product. But because the Scranton branch of DM is such a bunch of screw-ups, they don't seem to sell nearly as much paper as they should and actually lose customers all the time. Their incompetence and un-businesslike behavior are helping pave the way for a paperless society, where information is transmitted digitally, and trees are not cut down just so we can write on very thin pieces of them.
In this day and age, when food is shipped across the country, even around the world to get to your breakfast table, it's good to see that Smallville still supports local farms. At least, we assume that Clark still keeps animals and raises food at the old Kent homestead, and sells it at a local farm stand. If the farm is basically non-functioning at this point, he might as well get an apartment in Metropolis so he doesn't have such a long commute. Besides, we like to picture him harvesting corn and milking cows at high speeds. Poor cows.
The stars of this fascinating, albeit depressing, reality series have come up with a unique way to avoid contributing to our nation's overflowing landfills -- don't throw anything away! By saving everything they've ever owned (old newspapers, old food, dead cats) they've reduced their trash output to almost nothing, which helps the earth, although it doesn't do anything for their property values.
Carbon emissions are the number-one cause of global warming, and we need to reduce the amount of car exhaust released into the atmosphere if we're going to do anything about the hole in the ozone layer. Which is why it's so nice to see the contestants on The Amazing Race taking buses -- it lowers their carbon footprints, and promotes public transportation. Unfortunately, they still drive cars (or use cabs) for some legs, and although their two-per-car system qualifies them for the HOV (High-Occupancy Vehicle) lane, it would be nice to see them race four to a car to minimize carbon monoxide output.
There may not be a lot of public transportation on the Island, but there is a lot of something else: footpaths! People have been walking back and forth across this island for decades (if not centuries), and it's the preferred mode of transportation for castaways in the present day as well. In an age when a lazy person will take their VW bus down to the beach just to run over some armed gunmen, it's good to know that the quickest (and most environmentally friendly) way to get to the Temple is on your own two blistering feet.
Check out our gallery of the TV towns we'd hate to live in!
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