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Cheat Neutral

Satirical look at the inadequacies of the concept of carbon offsetting.

A printer-friendly version of this page 13 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Beth Stratford

"An essential contribution to debates over climate change and how to address it." Melissa Checker, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, Queens College
Since the1960s, concentrations of heartbreak, cheating and jealousy in the atmosphere have risen dramatically. offers a unique market-based solution to this essential problem of modern life. For the cost of a condom, those who have cheated on their partners - whether a drunken hook-up at the office party or a sustained period of bigamy - can have their cheating 'offset' by a global network of fidelity.

This hilarious film follows satirical website creators Alex Randall and Christian Hunt as they try to sell the idea of cheat offsetting to a bemused public. From the high street to the Houses of Parliament, they spark an important and timely debate about the inadequacies of carbon offsetting.

Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2008     Copyright Date: 2007
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-840-6     VHS ISBN: 1-59458-839-2

"Ah, the joys of absolution! Cheat Neutral takes a light-hearted look at a serious issue: Is carbon offsetting a viable solution to reduce our global carbon footprint? The video will be useful in numerous educational settings to spur debate on this important question--and it helps that it features two clever young protagonists (with that wonderfully British sense of humor) to whom kids can easily relate. The offsetting movement is well-intentioned but it has the potential to do more harm than good. Consumers can conveniently check off conservation on their 'to do lists' and then go about their business as they merrily pollute. And, in the absence of meaningful regulation, unfortunately there is ample room for unethical scammers to poison the well for the legitimate organizations that really do use the donations to good ends...After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Speaking of which, who can I pay to absorb the calories in that Big Mac I just ate?"
Dr. Michael Solomon, Professor of Marketing, Director of the Center for Consumer Research, Saint Joseph's University

"A hilarious send-up of a serious issue. Without moralizing or overly complicating the issue, Cheat Neutral's filmmakers use satiric humor to make an effective and lucid statement about the futility of carbon offsets. The negative aspects of offsets rarely receive media or public attention. Thus, the film makes an essential contribution to debates over climate change and how to address it. Cheat Neutral simultaneously entertains and informs audiences of all kinds, including high school, college and graduate students, about an important subject with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences."
Melissa Checker, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, Queens College, Author, Polluted Promises: Environmental Racism and the Search for Justice in a Southern Town

"Carbon off-setting is a complex, wonky topic. Cheat Neutral presents the perfect entrée to this issue for use in college classrooms. In this engaging, humorous satire of the idea of carbon credits, viewers are treated to a clever portrayal of classic, tongue-in-cheek, often bawdy, British humor. Its presentation is sure to loosen up the audience and then its brevity provides excellent opportunity for more technical discussion and consideration of the idea of carbon credits. Naturally, it allows conversation to also consider alternative ideas as well. This leaves student-viewers poised to think and, possibly, reach a more viable solution to our climate conundrum. Cheat Neutral is a superb resource for courses in Environmental Studies, Policy, Energy, and Climate Science."
Dr. Brian C. Black, Associate Professor, Departments of History and Environmental Studies, Altoona College, Penn State University

"A raucously filmed and edifying look into a story of a hoax, but also the thought and important global point behind it...For high school to adult audiences interested in environmental and media studies, Cheat Neutral is highly recommended."
Dan DiLandro, State University of New York at Buffalo, Educational Media Reviews Online

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DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
Includes both original 13-minute version plus 5-minute version, classroom (bleeped) version of 13-minute film, scene selection and SDH captions.


Awards and Festivals
Grand Jury Prize, Best Short, Environmental Film Festival at Yale
Short Film Award, Aotearoa Environmental Film Fextival (New Zealand)
Audience Award, Colchester International Film Festival
Audience Award, Cambridge International Film Festival
Best Documentary, Heart Of Gold International Film Festival (Australia)
Best Documentary, Canary Wharf Film Festival
Best Documentary, Rushes Soho Shorts
Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film and Video Festival
Western Psychological Association Film Festival
United Nations Association Film Festival
Taos Mountain Film Festival

Business Practices
Carbon Offsetting
Climate Change/Global Warming
Critical Thinking
Environmental Ethics
International Trade
Local Economies
Marketing and Advertising
Political Science

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