Many question the environmental credentials of celebrities. It is indeed fair to ask whether or not they actually help or hinder environmental causes as all the glitter and glam of Hollywood results in a massive environmental footprint. Celebrities’ eco-unfriendly lifestyles are often reflected through their opulent/extravagant consumption: from numerous homes and cars to large private jets and globetrotting.
On the other hand, we have seen an increasing number of celebrities getting involved and joining the so-called “green movement” in reducing pollution, conserving resources, protecting biodiversity, and encouraging the use and development of renewable sources of energy. Some of the most respected celebrities; most notably Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton have been involved in everything from lobbying government legislatures, to fund-raising events, to forming partnerships with other organisations, to adopting greener lifestyles. A wide array of stars have made it an avocation to champion the environmental causes they feel most strongly about, including Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman, and Livia Firth – just to name a few. The contemporary celebrities can receive such great public deference as a result of the admiration or morbid curiosity vested in them. They possess an influence of a kind that politicians spend so long and so much money attempting to gain. The fact that celebrities have the eye and ear of the masses, they are able to use their fame and star power to raise awareness, mobilise support and influence outcomes not only for environmental but also humanitarian causes.
As a result of all the noise made on environmental issues, the trend in the world of celebrities has been to become green. That is, they are increasingly designing greener homes and adopting more eco-friendly lifestyles. So what kind of eco-conscious drift have celebrities been undergoing? Well… The use of the hybrid car, in particular the luxury SUVs Toyota Pruis have caused a furore across the streets of Hollywood. Stylish in its own right, the Prius’ most notable feature is its exceptional gas mileage of over 45mpg. In addition, in their luxurious homes, many have installed solar panels which generate renewable energy as well as water recycling systems.
Going beyond eco-friendly homes and cars, celebrities are making a green impact in more influential ways. For example, Leonardo DiCaprio, often considered a leader in the celebrity green movement, has been a vocal environmental activist for quite some time. He wrote and directed a feature length documentary film titled “The 11th Hour,” which raised awareness on global warming. He also set up the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 to promote environmental issues and is involved in “Save Tigers Now” – a global campaign between Leonardo DiCaprio and the WWF.
Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen has also been recognised for her active commitment to the environment. With a truly global reach, Gisele uses her fame to raise awareness about protecting the planet to people across the world. She began her own flip-flop line, Ipanema Gisele Bündchen, to call attention to environmental causes and raise funds for forest and water-related projects in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest and the Amazon Rainforest. Going beyond this, Gisele has embarked into the digital realm to educate and inspire people to take action. She launched her own Blog da Gisele which aims to inform the public about environmental matters and share pictures and videos. Acknowledging her efforts towards the environment, she was designated Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme on 20 September 2009.
Hollywood, as an industry, has also been stepping up efforts to improve its environmental record. A place of extravagance with bright lights, special effects, and splendour, also becomes a place with a large environmental impact. Studios are increasingly improving their green credentials by using energy from renewable sources such as solar panels, recycling wastes and using eco-friendly construction materials. The 2005 movie “Syriana,” starring George Clooney became one of the first “carbon neutral” Hollywood productions. In addition, the Producers Guild of America Foundation and PGAGreen.org, with support and seed funding from Disney, Fox, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros., developed the Green Production Guide for film and television professionals looking to turn their productions green.
This year, in response to this growing trend and the efforts made by celebrities, as well as the important role and influence they exercise, we decided to launch a new category in the Green Awards 2011, recognising the Best Green Celebrity. This Award will honour a celebrity, in any field, who has championed the cause of the environment. The Award will be open to public voting, and the winner will be honoured at the Green Awards ceremony on 24th November 2011. If you would like to nominate a global celebrity, send us a tweet @GreenAwards with the celebrity’s name and #GreenAwardsCelebrity11 or alternatively, become a fan of our Green Awards 2011 Facebook page.