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Discovering Green Britain

Emily Malkin, co-founder of Green Britain TV, on the new platform showcasing solutions to the climate crisis
Emily Malkin with her dad

This article first appeared in our International Women’s Day issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published 08 March 2024. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

I was floundering at bit.

I was in Valencia teaching English after completing my masters in Global Development in Copenhagen and working for an international charity.

I knew that the teaching would only last three months; then I would be back in the UK and would have to make my next move – but I had no idea what that was.

All I knew was that impulse – that a lot of people feel these days, I think – to dedicate my time over the next 10 years to the fight against the climate crisis.

I just needed to figure out how I could be most useful, and how to do it in a way that I love.

It was a visit from Dad that seeded the idea. He is a documentary-maker and has lovingly encouraged my presenting and interviewing over the years.

Over a glass of sangria he proposed we bring our skills together and put them into action.

The idea was to make documentaries that celebrate people who are creating solutions to the climate crisis and spend our time making content that would inspire meaningful change.

We batted around various concepts, but the idea of telling green stories that are rising from the ground up – through British businesses, communities and individuals – just got under our skin. The idea of Green Britain TV was born.

Doing it right

There followed a lot of research, discussion, late nights, arguments (so many of those) – but also a sense of optimism and excitement that this could work.

We decided that the way forward was to jump in with both feet and start filming – we’d figure out the finances later.

So on a shoestring, with a secondhand camera and some brightly coloured blazers from our local charity shop, we filmed our first piece at a sustainable hairdressers. 

While our ethos was just to get going, it was also really important to me that we did this right. My concern was that if we took the traditional model of production and charged our clients for our work, we would become just that: a traditional production.

The companies we film would have editorial input and our content would be seen as advertising rather than editorial, authentic and transparent short documentaries.

Champions of sustainability

We want to celebrate the champions of sustainability, to demonstrate that people are making a committed effort to change their business models, to organise community engagement or to build businesses that do it better from the ground up.

We want to uncover the people behind the ideas and innovations, to explain their lightbulb moments. We tell a short-form story about why they think this green transition is so important that they have staked their livelihoods on it.

Finding hope

Two criticisms seem to be common of journalism today: too little coverage of the climate crisis, or coverage so dark that it is causing eco-anxiety or apathy.

We decided that we wanted to tell positive and uplifting stories about the solutions. There are plenty of people fighting back and offering the tools for us all to do the same.

We want to take a positive stance without making light of the issue, and hope to strike a balance of contextualising the problem without lingering or being too doomsday-y about it.

Ultimately people want to watch programmes that are entertaining and engaging and that give a sense of hope.

Online content

We launched Green Britain TV in November 2023 as an online platform. You will find short documentaries on solutions to the climate crisis that are made or conceptualised here in the UK.

Whether you’re interested in our food or transport systems, climate tech, eco-friendly projects, staycations or community projects, you can find it in our Eat, Move, Live and Innovate sections.

Making connections

In the short term, we want to tell as many stories as we can and get them out there. We need funding to do that so we’re in that stage at the moment.

In the longer term we are hoping to contribute to behavioural change. We want people to watch our documentaries and think, ‘Wow I didn’t know that was out there. I am going to switch to an alternative product, get involved with that community project, start my own business, switch my energy provider, buy less or buy better or shop more locally.’ 

Inspirational visual storytelling can be a powerful tool to nudge someone to make a change they have been considering.

We are trying to provide a way for our viewers to meet the people behind the solutions and to make that connection with that company or organisation by providing direct links to their websites.

There is so much to celebrate in Britain – and we want to be the channel to showcase it.

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