A BBC Natural History Unit production team flew to Ellesmere Island in Canada’s high arctic in the summer of 2014 to film wolves. Producer Patrick Evans was very aware that the carbon emissions from their travel would contribute to climate change and he was keen to do what he could to minimise their impact. Using solar panels in a place where the sun never sets seemed the obvious way to cut their carbon emissions. And the crew made a short film about their experiences, fronted by presenter Gordon Buchanan and researcher Michael Becker. They explain the other advantages of using solar PV for wildlife filming – it’s silent energy, unlike a generator, so doesn’t disturb the animals you’re trying to film. Click here above to view it.
This production also saved carbon by employing some camera crew: Michael, their camera assistant was based in Montreal, Jason their camp manager and Joey and Candice their camp staff all came from Iqaluit in the Canadian Arctic. Living closer to the shoot location meant fewer flights and lower emissions.
The crew also planned their travel and transport carefully to cut their carbon. Much of the filming kit was left in storage on location in Canada between two of the three shoots, rather than flying it back to the UK. Their food for the camp was shipped in advance by post to the Arctic base at Resolute on local scheduled flights from Yellowknife. In total, this saved around 20 tonnes of carbon emissions.
The 500 litres of fuel for their quad bikes and generators was re-used from old barrels shipped to the research base at Eureka, Ellesmere Island, in a previous season. This saved them 5 tonnes of carbon.
They also did some ‘shoot sharing’, using their crew to film for other productions and production companies, who all needed wildlife and aerial filming done in Arctic Canada. This saved at least 15 tonnes of carbon altogether.