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The pope might make destroying the earth a sin. Will Catholics listen?

Pope Francis is not your average pope. He’s weighed in on prison reform and women’s rights, and he wrote a whole encyclical on climate change in 2015. On Friday, at the 20th World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law, Francis waded into the climate change debate again with an unusual idea: perhaps environmental destruction should be classified as an official sin.

During his speech, Francis said he was thinking about adding “ecological sin against the common home” to the catechism, the book that summarizes Catholic belief. “It is a sin against future generations and is manifested in the acts and habits of pollution and destruction of the harmony of the environment,” he said.

Some theology experts think the pope’s interest in the environment is a reflection of his social justice beliefs. “Climate change will impact the poor and marginalized first and worst across the world who have the least capacity to adapt or to recover from disasters,” Erin Lothes Biviano, associate professor of theology at the College of St. Elizabeth, told E&E News. “It’s viewed not as an environmental problem, but an environmental and social problem.”

But will Catholics accept the idea that destroying the environment is an offense against God? The pope’s past efforts to integrate environmental stewardship into the Catholic faith haven’t always convinced his flock. A survey conducted a year after he published his climate-themed encyclical found that the call to action backfired among conservative Americans. Right-leaning Americans were less worried about rising temperatures after hearing his message. Only 22.5 percent of Americans who had even heard of the encyclical expressed concern over climate change. And the Pope actually lost some credibility with conservative Catholics.

Francis might not be the climate influencer advocates hoped he’d be. But that doesn’t necessarily mean all Catholics are ignoring his message. Emma Frances Bloomfield, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Las Vegas and the author of a book called Communication Strategies for Engaging Climate Skeptics, says it all depends on whether people believe the environment is related to faith.

Folks who see environmental conservation and religion as two entirely separate spheres will likely ignore Francis’ emphasis on the subject. But for religious people who are already inclined to think the two go together, an authority figure like the pope pushing for stewardship might be highly effective. “The idea of casting environmental damage as an ecological sin really amplifies how important the pope and Catholics think environmental damage is,” she said. “If Pope Francis really solidifies it as part of the catechism it can encourage Christians who are uncertain about the environment to consider it more strongly.”

In other words, preaching to the choir may actually be useful … when the pope does it.

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The pope might make destroying the earth a sin. Will Catholics listen?

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The Weather Channel’s new climate change video is … really intense

“The Arctic — the fastest warming area on Earth,” Weather Channel meteorologist Jen Carfagno narrates in a new video as the camera speeds you under an iceberg arch, through the spray from a breaching whale, and past ice-capped peaks so realistic you can almost feel the Arctic chill. “Changes here are drastic, undeniable, and all too real.”

It’s the latest in a Weather Channel video series that uses immersive mixed reality technology to help you visualize extreme weather up close. The first video went viral last September, when meteorologist Erika Navarro was virtually transported from the studio to a flooded neighborhood street in North Carolina to demonstrate storm-surge projections for Hurricane Florence in person.

“For 30 years, weather presentation has been very consistent,” Michael Potts, the vice president of design at the Weather Channel, told New York Magazine’s Intelligencer. “Usually it’s a person in front of a map. We wanted to engage the audience more and find a way to go deeper into the science of weather.”

And, in this latest video, they do. Instead of regurgitating statistics or presenting another doomsday scenario, the video portrays global warming in a gripping yet realistic way, transporting you from a rooftop above flooded city streets to a rocky coast in front of a collapsing iceberg. Carfagno takes you from 1851 to 2100, visiting Charleston, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; and Greenland’s famous Jakobshavn Glacier — all in the span of under two minutes. How’s that for high-speed time travel?

Using an immersive graphics technique popular in video games to produce the clip, the Weather Channel hopes to turn climate change into a vivid experience for viewers.

“By engaging our senses of sight and sounds — and our tendency to focus on things that move — they earn our full attention, and are experienced more like real lived experience than like book learning,” Edward Maibach, director of George Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication, told the Verge.


The Weather Channel’s new climate change video is … really intense

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It’s time for climate change communicators to listen to social science

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This story was originally published by Undark and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

David Wallace-Wells’ recent climate change essay in the New York Times, published as part of the publicity for his new book “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming,” is, sadly, like a lot of writing on climate change these days: It’s right about the risk, but wrong about how it tries to accomplish the critical goal of raising public concern. Like other essays that have sounded the alarms on global warming — pieces by Bill McKibben, James Hansen, and George Monbiot come to mind — Wallace-Wells’ offers a simple message: I’m scared. People should be scared. Here are the facts. You should be scared too.

To be sure, Wallace-Wells and these other writers are thoughtful, intelligent, and well-informed people. And that is precisely how they try to raise concern: with thought, intelligence, and information, couched in the most dramatic terms at the grandest possible scale. Wallace-Wells invokes sweeping concepts like “planet-warming,” “human history,” and global emissions; remote places like the Arctic; broad geographical and geopolitical terms like “coral reefs,” “ice sheet,” and “climate refugees;” and distant timeframes like 2030, 2050, and 2100.

It’s a common approach to communicating risk issues, known as the deficit model. Proceeding from the assumption that your audience lacks facts —that is, that they have a deficit —all you need to do it give them the facts, in clear and eloquent and dramatic enough terms, and you can make them feel like you want them to feel, how they ought to feel, how you feel. But research on the practice of risk communication has found that this approach usually fails, and often backfires. The deficit model may work fine in physics class, but it’s an ineffective way to try to change people’s attitudes. That’s because it appeals to reason, and reason is not what drives human behavior.

For more than 50 years, the cognitive sciences have amassed a mountainous body of insight into why we think and choose and act as we do. And what they have found is that facts alone are literally meaningless. We interpret every bit of cold objective information through a thick set of affective filters that determine how those facts feel — and how they feel is what determines what those facts mean and how we behave. As 17th century French mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal observed, “We know truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.”

Yet a large segment of the climate change commentariat dismisses these social science findings. In his piece for the New York Times, Wallace-Wells mentions a few cognitive biases that fall under the rubric of behavioral economics, including optimism bias (things will go better for me than the next guy) and status quo bias (it’s easier just to keep things as they are). But he describes them in language that drips with condescension and frustration:

How can we be this deluded? One answer comes from behavioral economics. The scroll of cognitive biases identified by psychologists and fellow travelers over the past half-century can seem, like a social media feed, bottomless. And they distort and distend our perception of a changing climate. These optimistic prejudices, prophylactic biases, and emotional reflexes form an entire library of climate delusion.

Moreover, behavioral economics is only one part of what shapes how we feel about risk. Another component of our cognition that has gotten far too little attention, but plays a more important part in how we feel about climate change, is the psychology of risk perception. Pioneering research by Paul Slovic, Baruch Fischhoff, Sarah Lichtenstein, and many others has identified more than a dozen discrete psychological characteristics that cause us to worry more than we need to about some threats and less than we need to about others, like climate change.

For example, we don’t worry as much about risks that don’t feel personally threatening. Surveys suggest that even people who are alarmed about climate change aren’t particularly alarmed about the threat to themselves. The most recent poll by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that while 70 percent of Americans believe climate change is happening, only around 40 percent think “it will harm me personally.”

We also worry more about risks that threaten us soon than risks that threaten us later. Evolution has endowed us with a risk-alert system designed to get us to tomorrow first — and only then, maybe, do we worry about what comes later. So even those who think climate change is already happening believe, accurately, that the worst is yet to come. Risk communication that talks about the havoc that climate change will wreak in 2030, in 2050, or “during this century” contributes to that “we don’t really have to worry about it now” feeling.

Risk perception research also suggests that we worry less about risky behaviors if those behaviors also carry tangible benefits. So far, that’s been the case for climate change: For many people living in the developed world, the harms of climate change are more than offset by the modern comforts of a carbon-intensive lifestyle. Even those who put solar panels on their roofs or make lifestyle changes in the name of reducing their carbon footprint often continue with other bad behaviors: shopping and buying unsustainably, flying, having their regular hamburger.

Interestingly Wallace-Wells admits this is even true for him:

I know the science is true, I know the threat is all-encompassing, and I know its effects, should emissions continue unabated, will be terrifying. And yet, when I imagine my life three decades from now, or the life of my daughter five decades from now, I have to admit that I am not imagining a world on fire but one similar to the one we have now.

Yet he writes that “the age of climate panic is here,” and he expects that delivering all the facts and evidence in alarmist language will somehow move others to see things differently. This is perhaps Wallace-Wells’ biggest failure: By dramatizing the facts and suggesting that people who don’t share his level of concern are irrational and delusional, he is far more likely to offend readers than to convince them. Adopting the attitude that “my feelings are right and yours are wrong” — that “I can see the problem and something’s wrong with you if you can’t” — is a surefire way to turn a reader off, not on, to what you want them to believe.

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Contrast all this deficit-model climate punditry with the effective messaging of the rising youth revolt against climate change. Last August, 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg skipped school and held a one-person protest outside her country’s parliament to demand action on climate change. In the six months since, there have been nationwide #FridaysforFuture school walkouts in at least nine countries, and more are planned.

Thunberg has spoken to the United Nations and the World Economic Forum in Davos, with an in-your-face and from-the-heart message that’s about not just facts but her very real and personal fear:

Adults keep saying: “We owe it to the young people to give them hope.” But I don’t want your hope… I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.

By speaking to our hearts and not just our heads — and by framing the issue in terms of personal and immediate fear of a future that promises more harm than benefit — Thunberg has started an international protest movement.

The lesson is clear. Wallace-Wells’ New York Times essay will get lots of attention among the intelligentsia, but he is not likely to arouse serious new support for action against climate change. Risk communication that acknowledges and respects the emotions and psychology of the people it tries to reach is likely to have far greater impact — and that’s exactly what the effort to combat climate change needs right now.

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It’s time for climate change communicators to listen to social science

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Animal Communication Made Easy – Pea Horsely


Animal Communication Made Easy
Strengthen Your Bond and Deepen Your Connection with Animals
Pea Horsely

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Hay House

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC

A practical and inspiring introductory guide to communicating with pets and wild animals. Your step-by-step guide to forming a deeper connection with animals. Do you love animals but wish you could understand what they’re trying to tell you? Do some of their behaviours leave you baffled? In this book, world-renowned animal communicator Pea Horsley teaches you the essentials of animal communication to enable you to communicate intuitively with the animals you love. Pea leads you through grounding preparation processes to calm your body and release your mind, and then her effective five-step method to create a deep, spiritual connection with your animal. Drawing on her many years of experience teaching people to communicate with both wild and domesticated creatures, Pea’s unique blend of exercises, affirmations and meditations will empower you to connect with all living beings. Communicating with animals is fun, profound and healing. It’s the best thing you can do for both yourself and your animals, and will transform how you experience life.

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Animal Communication Made Easy – Pea Horsely

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Life Everlasting – Bernd Heinrich


Life Everlasting

The Animal Way of Death

Bernd Heinrich

Genre: Nature

Price: $10.99

Publish Date: June 19, 2012

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

An enlightening look at animal behavior and the cycle of life and death, from “one of the finest naturalists of our time” (Edward O. Wilson).   When a good friend with a severe illness wrote, asking if he might have his “green burial” at Bernd Heinrich’s hunting camp in Maine, it inspired the acclaimed biologist to investigate a subject that had long fascinated him. How exactly does the animal world deal with the flip side of the life cycle? And what are the lessons, ecological to spiritual, imparted by a close look at how the animal world renews itself?   Heinrich focuses his wholly original gaze on the fascinating doings of creatures most of us would otherwise turn away from—field mouse burials conducted by carrion beetles; the communication strategies of ravens, “the premier northern undertakers”; and the “inadvertent teamwork” among wolves and large cats, foxes and weasels, bald eagles and nuthatches in cold-weather dispersal of prey. Heinrich reveals, too, how and where humans still play our ancient and important role as scavengers, thereby turning not dust to dust, but life to life.   “If it has not been clear to readers by now, this book confirms that Bernd Heinrich is one of the finest naturalists of our time. Life Everlasting shines with the authenticity and originality that are unique to a life devoted to natural history in the field.” —Edward O. Wilson, author of The Meaning of Human Existence and The Social Conquest of Earth  

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Life Everlasting – Bernd Heinrich

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Why Alaska might seriously consider a carbon tax

Alaska isn’t exactly the first state you’d expect to embrace a price on carbon. Yet the state legislature will likely be weighing one after the November elections. When carbon taxes keep getting scrapped by blue states like Washington and Oregon, why would such a plan succeed in Alaska: a red state where oil companies are a major economic lifeline?

Necessity is one explanation. Alaskans have been at the forefront of climate change for decades now, facing melting permafrost, coastal erosion, and rising seas. And dealing with these problems — building new infrastructure and relocating communities, for instance — is expensive. By 2030, climate change could add another $3 to $6 billion in costs to public infrastructure alone. A carbon tax could help pay for the state’s ballooning climate costs.

Last year, Governor Bill Walker, an Independent, established a group to figure out how to address the state’s climate issues. The Climate Change Strategy and Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team — a group of 20 scientists, policy wonks, indigenous representatives, and oil executives — recently released a draft proposal. Lo and behold, it includes a carbon tax.

The plan is expected to reach Walker’s desk in mid-September, marking the first time the state has seriously considered a price on carbon. The details of the proposal are vague at this point, and it’ll be some time before discussion about the tax really ramps up. The governor isn’t expected to throw his support behind a controversial tax during election season.

The leadership group wants a price on pollution for practical reasons: Alaska doesn’t have a lot of revenue. With just 700,000 people, it’s one of the least populous states in America. And its residents don’t pay income or sales taxes.

If Alaska manages to implement a carbon tax — and that won’t be easy — it could tackle two huge problems at once, says Chris Rose, a member of the leadership team and the founder of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project.

“Maybe a carbon tax can be the tax that we employ to deal with our revenue shortfall and climate change at the same time,” he says.

A solid majority of Alaskans, 63 percent, said they support taxing fossil fuel companies while equally reducing other taxes, according to data released this week from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. That’s not precisely the kind of proposal Rose’s team is cooking up, but it indicates that Alaskans have something of an appetite for a carbon tax.

Rose is also buoyed by the fact that the state’s residents are used to the idea of paying for pollution. Alaskans have to take either their own garbage to the landfill or pay out of pocket for a company pick it up.

“Likewise,” he says, “I don’t think people would have as much objection to paying a fee for emitting carbon dioxide if they really understood that CO2 is the primary cause of climate change.”

Next up for the Climate Change Strategy and Climate Action for Alaska Leadership team? Educating the public about the benefits of a carbon tax. That way, when the Alaska legislature starts considering one, its constituents know what’s at stake.

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Why Alaska might seriously consider a carbon tax

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Republican mayors push climate action without saying ‘climate change’

Leadership in addressing climate change in the United States has shifted away from Washington, D.C. Cities across the country are organizing, networking, and sharing resources to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and tackle related challenges ranging from air pollution to heat island effects.

But group photos at climate change summits typically feature big-city Democratic mayors rubbing shoulders. Republicans are rarer, with a few notable exceptions, such as Kevin Faulconer of San Diego and James Brainard of Carmel, Indiana.

Faulconer co-chairs the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100 Percent Clean Energy Initiative, which rallies mayors around a shared commitment to power their cities entirely with clean and renewable energy. Brainard is a longtime champion of the issue within the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Climate Mayors network.

In our research at the Boston University Initiative on Cities, we found that large-city Republican mayors shy away from climate network memberships and their associated framing of the problem. But in many cases they advocate locally for policies that help advance climate goals for other reasons, such as fiscal responsibility and public health. In short, the United States is making progress on this issue in some surprising places.

Climate network members are mainly Democrats

In our initiative’s recent report, “Cities Joining Ranks,” we systematically reviewed which U.S. cities belong to 10 prominent city climate networks. These networks, often founded by mayors themselves, provide platforms to exchange information, advocate for urban priorities and strengthen city goverments’ technical capacities.

The networks we assessed included Climate Mayors; We Are Still In, which represents organizations that continue to support action to meet the targets in the Paris climate agreement; and ICLEI USA.

We found a clear partisan divide between Republican and Democrat mayors. On average, Republican-led cities with more than 75,000 residents belong to less than one climate network. In contrast, cities with Democratic mayors belonged to an average of four networks. Among the 100 largest U.S. cities, of which 29 have Republican mayors and 63 have Democrats, Democrat-led cities are more than four times more likely to belong to at least one climate network.

This split has implications for city-level climate action. Joining these networks sends a very public signal to constituents about the importance of safeguarding the environment, transitioning to cleaner forms of energy, and addressing climate change. Some networks require cities to plan for or implement specific greenhouse gas reduction targets and report on their progress, which means that mayors can be held accountable.

Constituents in Republican-led cities support climate policies

Cities can also reduce their carbon footprints and stay under the radar — a strategy that is popular with Republican mayors. Taking the findings of the “Cities Joining Ranks” report as a starting point, I explored support for climate policies in Republican-led cities and the level of ambition and transparency in their climate plans.

To tackle these questions, I cross-referenced Republican-led cities with data from the Yale Climate Opinion maps, which provide insight into county-level support for four climate policies:

Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant
Imposing strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants
Funding research into renewable energy sources
Requiring utilities to produce 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources

In all of the 10 largest U.S. cities that have Republican mayors and also voted Republican in the 2008 presidential election, county-level polling data showed majority support for all four climate policies. Examples included Jacksonville, Florida, and Fort Worth, Texas. None of these cities participated in any of the 10 climate networks that we reviewed in our report.

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, CC BY-ND

This finding suggests that popular support exists for action on climate change, and that residents of these cities who advocate acting could lobby their elected officials to join climate networks. Indeed, we have found that one of the top three reasons mayors join city policy networks is because it signals their priorities. A mayor of a medium-sized West Coast city told us: “Your constituents are expecting you to represent them, so we are trying politically to be their voice.”

Mayors join networks to amplify their message, signal priorities to constituents, and share information. BU Initiative on Cities, CC BY-ND.

Climate-friendly strategies, but few emissions targets

Next, I reviewed planning documents from the 29 largest U.S. cities that are led by Republican mayors. Among this group, 15 have developed or are developing concrete goals that guide their efforts to improve local environmental quality. Many of these actions reduce cities’ carbon footprints, although they are not primarily framed that way.

Rather, these cities most frequently cast targets for achieving energy savings and curbing local air pollution as part of their master plans. Some package them as part of dedicated sustainability strategies.

These agendas often evoke images of disrupted ecosystems that need to be conserved, or that endanger human health and quality of life. Some also spotlight cost savings from designing infrastructure to cope with more extreme weather events.

In contrast, only seven cities in this group had developed quantitative greenhouse gas reduction targets. Except for Miami, all of them are in California, which requires its cities to align their greenhouse gas reduction targets with state plans. From planning documents, it appears that none of the six Californian cities goes far beyond minimum mandated emission reductions set by the state for 2020.

Greenhouse gas reductions goals, with baselines, for the seven largest Republican-led cities. Nicolas Gunkel, CC BY-ND.

Watch what they do, not what they say

The real measure of Republican mayors taking action on climate change is not the number of networks they join but the policy steps they take, often quietly, at home. While few Republican mayors may attend the next round of subnational climate summits, many have set out policy agendas that mitigate climate change, without calling a lot of attention to it — much like a number of rural U.S. communities. Focusing narrowly on policy labels and public commitments by mayors fails to capture the various forms of local climate action, especially in GOP-led cities.

Carmel, Indiana Mayor James Brainard has suggested that some of his less-outspoken counterparts may fear a backlash from conservative opinion-makers. “There is a lot of Republicans out there that think like I do. They have been intimidated, to some extent, by the Tea Party and the conservative talk show hosts,” Brainard has said.

Indeed, studies show that the news environment has become increasingly polarized around accepting or denying climate science. Avoiding explicit mention of climate change is enabling a sizable number of big-city GOP mayors to pursue policies that advance climate goals.

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Obama’s Expansion of a Vast Pacific Reserve, Built on a Bush Foundation

President Obama’s expansion of a vast marine monument near Hawaii builds on Bush-era moves spurred by passionate ocean communicators. This article is from: Obama’s Expansion of a Vast Pacific Reserve, Built on a Bush Foundation ; ; ;

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Obama’s Expansion of a Vast Pacific Reserve, Built on a Bush Foundation

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To Cut Ocean Trash, Adrian Grenier and Dell Enlist Filmmakers and Virtual Reality

A push by Dell and Adrian Grenier to raise awareness of ocean problems while trying to find a use for floating plastic trash. Visit link:  To Cut Ocean Trash, Adrian Grenier and Dell Enlist Filmmakers and Virtual Reality ; ; ;


To Cut Ocean Trash, Adrian Grenier and Dell Enlist Filmmakers and Virtual Reality

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Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity Is Costing It Millions. Here’s Why.

Mother Jones

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The movie industry’s glaring whiteness may be costing Hollywood millions of dollars. A new report from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at the University of California-Los Angeles, found that films with more diverse casts have higher global box-office sales and a better return on investment than their less-diverse counterparts.

The researchers examined 163 films released in 2014, and found that the films with truly diverse casts (there were only eight) also had the highest median global revenues and returns on investment. The median film among the 55 with mostly lily-white casts grossed less than half as much—and barely broke even:

This isn’t happenstance. The diverse films did better because they attracted diverse audiences. Using data from RenTrak—a company that surveys moviegoers—the Bunche Center estimated that nonwhite audiences accounted for 58 percent of ticket sales for the eight most diverse films, and nearly half of all movie tickets sold in the United States. More than a quarter of the total tickets were bought by people of Hispanic origin.

Diversity is good for domestic TV ratings, too, the study found. The most-watched broadcast TV shows—not just in minority households, but also within one of the most coveted age demographics—had majority nonwhite casts. Even the most-watched shows in white households had casts that were 41 to 50 percent nonwhite. And since people of color make up 38 percent of the population, the study points out, it stands to reason that shows reflective of that fact would perform better.

Hollywood, alas, have yet to embrace this reality. For another recent study, researchers at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism analyzed 109 films from 2014 along with 305 broadcast, cable, and digital (Amazon, Netflix, etc.) TV series across 31 networks from the 2014-15 season. Only 28 percent of all the speaking roles, they found, went to people of color. And then there’s this:

The studios, in short, are leaving a ton of money on the table. “The conventional wisdom has been, you can’t have a film with a minority lead because it’s not going to travel well overseas—and films make most of their money overseas,” says Darnell Hunt, director of the Bunche Center. “What our study is suggesting is that that logic is false.” The same goes for TV, he says: “People want to see themselves reflected in media. You relate better to characters who kind of look like you, who have experiences that resonate with your own.”

The Bunche Center calculated that just 17 percent of broadcast TV shows in the 2013-14 season roughly mirrored America’s population (31 to 40 percent nonwhite). Hunt points to shows like Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder—both created by Shonda Rhimes, who is black—as examples of shows that perform well in part because their casts are diverse. “You have a little bit of something for everybody,” Hunt explains. “And over the long haul, you’re going to make a lot more money if you do that, as opposed to where there may be one token person of color and you’re hoping that’s going to be enough to get the rest of the audience interested.”

So why does Hollywood keep using the same old formula? The biggest reason, Hunt says, is that the creative pipeline is dominated by white guys: “They’re making projects they know how to make, projects that they think are good, with people whom they’re familiar with and whom they think will sell, and so we tend to get more of the same year in, year out—the same types of leads, the same types of stories.”

There’s another behind-the scenes-culprit, too, Hunt notes:

The talent agencies (the “gatekeepers,” Hunt calls them) pitch most of the projects to the networks and film studios—complete with writers, directors, and leads. The top three—Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor, and United Talent Agency—represented a majority of the credited writers, directors, and actors on 2014 film projects. They also repped the majority of broadcast TV show creators and lead actors for the 2013-2014 season. But minorities make up only around 2 percent of the credited show creators on their rosters, and 6 percent of the credited lead actors. Which means the deal makers have few minority clients to pitch.

Why are the talent rosters so white? Maybe because the agents are. According to the Bunche Center, the agents of the Big Three were 90 percent Caucasian and 68 percent male—hello Ari Gold! The agency partners—who develop business strategy and share in the profits—are amost entirely white and 71 percent male. This lack of diversity, unwittingly or not, dictates the kinds of stories that end up in production, and who we see on the screen. “The question is, how many people of color are involved in the earliest stages?” Hunt says.

The makers of at least one would-be blockbuster hope to break the old mold. We recently talked with the scriptwriter of Marvel’s Black Panther, the forthcoming film about an African superhero, about that studio’s efforts to get more diversity in the pipeline.

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Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity Is Costing It Millions. Here’s Why.

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