In Chapter 4 of The Media Ecosystem Lopez discusses the evolution of media systems from reading the landscapes themselves to now reading technological reproductions of those landscapes. While technological reproductions do lose what German philosopher Walter Benjamin calls the “aura” of the original piece, he is also cognizant of the ability to increase access to, or “democratize” (104), the concept and experience. The danger comes of these reproductions comes from the misuse of these art forms such that they are twisted to fulfill a contrary agenda. Particularly regarding reproductions of nature, the tendency of “spectacularizing nature…devoid of politics” (105) eliminates pertinent discussions and critiques of ecological policies which directly, and often negatively, impact these natural systems, even as they are supposedly celebrated.
Lopez asks, “Is it ethical for nature film productions to accept sponsorship from companies that use such material to greenwash their toxic operations?” (105). The dilemma here is similar to that which is raised by the tradeoffs between making reproductions of art; while the beauty and experience of nature are able to be shared with the world as a result of this funding, it is also important to consider the consequences of potentially legitimizing toxic practices via public partnerships with those corporations. Perhaps those groups which would otherwise contribute to a nature production can free up those funds to instead expose bad practices of those corporations which contribute to the nature productions instead? Perhaps reliance on financial support of companies which are toxic to ecological security will limit a group’s ability to pursue necessary structural changes to ecological policies? What do you make of Lopez’s question on the ethics of accepting corporate sponsorships of this type?