Sir Paul McCartney, Leonardo Dicaprio, Cameron Diaz, Helena Christensen, Sting, Gael Garcia Bernal, Angelique Kidjo, Rahul Bose, Don Cheadle to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen – which one of these is the “greenest” celebrity?
Voting is now open for the INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDS™ inaugural Best Green International Celebrity Award, which seeks to recognise an international media figure who has consistently promoted the sustainability agenda globally and thus, influenced mass audiences to make their own efforts to halt climate change.
The competition is now open to a public vote at www.greenawards.com. This year’s nominees comprise of 15 well respected celebrities who are deemed to have used their prominence to promote environmental and sustainable development issues and thus have become ‘responsible celebrities’.
The candidate with the most votes will be announced as the winner at a showcase sustainable gala dinner on Thursday 25th November at the Natural History Museum, London. The winner will then be heralded as the ‘greenest’ media exemplar internationally.
Celebrities, undoubtedly, are one of the most powerful influencers in the world – they set trends for others to follow and thus are opinion leaders in their own right. In recent times as we adjust to the age of business transparency, an increasing number of celebrities have jumped onto this environmental bandwagon by embracing issues from animal rights through to deforestation and famine. Aside from their affluence, celebrities can set a very clear example for others as role models by endorsing sustainable lifestyles from recycling and purchasing low carbon vehicles through to switching to renewable energy.
As famine reigns in parts of Africa and the world economy faces a difficult transition, it’s often news which features celebrities which attracts the most media interest. The International Green Awards aims to raise the bar around the ‘cult of celebrity’ and the ‘green’ agenda as the world counts down to the COP 17 Conference in Durban and the crucial Rio Earth Summit in 2012. This new award will put the spotlight on those progressive individuals who are keen to harness the power of the media and challenge conventional thinking on the climate agenda.
All of the media figures selected have already used their media prominence in some way in the past few years to engage with mass audiences on environmental, CSR or sustainable development issues. In fact, many of the nominated celebrities are already recognised as ‘Goodwill Ambassadors’ for organisations such as Oxfam International, the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Don’t forget to make your vote count vote for the celebrity you respect the most by visiting www.greenawards.com before October. There’s still time to enter one of the other award categories too.
Here are the 2011 Best Green international Celebrity Nominees, with some information about their efforts:
Angélique Kidjo – Musician; BENIN
Described by Time Magazine as “Africa’s premier diva”, Angélique Kidjo uses her powerful voice to advocate on environmental and humanitarian causes, particularly the need for sustainable development.
Cameron Diaz – Actress; USA
Crowned ‘Queen of Green’ by Vogue magazine, Cameron Diaz is not just a pretty face to the green movement. Not looking to be just a poster girl for the environment, she actively tries to live sustainably, based on the simple premise of it being a ‘choice’ that anyone can make.
Don Cheadle – Actor; USA
Don Cheadle, is best recognised for his performances in movies such as Out of Sight, Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven and Hotel Rwanda and was a co-producer for Oscar winning movie ‘Crash’. He actively campaigns for the end of genocide in Darfur and was also part of ‘Seal the Deal’ – the UN’s global campaign to raise awareness on climate change.
Gael Garcia Bernal – Actor; MEXICO
Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal is well known for his starring roles in ‘Babel’ and ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’. He is also a social and political activist, particularly well known for his support of Oxfam’s 2005 Make Trade Fair campaign.
Gisele Bündchen – Supermodel; BRAZIL
One of the world’s best known models, Gisele, walks more than just runways. Growing up in Brazil, she witnessed the beauty and destruction of the rainforests and the domino effect on surrounding communities.
Helena Christensen – Supermodel, DENMARK
Danish supermodel Helena Christensen is dedicated to the cause of climate change and helping vulnerable communities adapt to changes. Passionate about photography, Helena held a photo-exhibition titled ‘Meltdown’, which premiered at the UN when the General Assembly met in 2009.
Iruka – Singer; JAPAN
Iruka is one of Japans most loved and famous female singer songwriters. A multi talented woman, she participates in various charity activities and strongly believes in sustainability and conservation of nature for future generations.
Leonardo Dicaprio – Actor; USA
The highest paid actor in Hollywood is not one who to spend his money on luxury, but is in fact a strong advocate for the environment. Aside from his personal passion towards the environment, his commitment towards the planet is best encompassed within his foundation, which supports efforts towards sustainability.
Li Bing Bing – Actress; CHINA
One of China’s most popular actresses, she promotes the need to lead a responsible life and lives by the motto of “practice what you preaches”. Her commitment to the environment is focused on carbon emissions reduction and environmental protection.
Miguel Bosé – Singer; SPAIN
One of the biggest Spanish musicians and actors, Miguel Bosé, is a vocal activist in support of fair trade and also protecting our oceans’ marine diversity. He has been part of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign, campaigning in Hong Kong at a WTO summit, against the rigidity in global cotton trade.
Rahul Bose – Actor; INDIA
Bollywood star and former Indian rugby player, Rahul Bose is well known for his social conscience. After campaigning for social issues including education, health and women’s rights, he has made climate change the focus of his activism. In 2011, as India played host nation for the World Environment Day, Rahul was actively involved with UNEP activities such as the WED celebrity challenge to engage the masses.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al-Nuaimi – Member of the Royal Family of Ajman; UAE
Better known globally as the “Green Sheikh”, Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi is a member of the ruling family of the Emirate of Ajman in the United Arab Emirates. Nephew of Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid al-Nuaimi (the Ruler of Ajmān), his interest in environmental issues started as a child, which he attributes to his life mission as guided by his faith
Sir Paul McCartney – Musician, UK
Sir Paul McCartney, has long been on the radar as a celebrity who takes his responsibility towards planet earth very seriously. He has used his status as one of the world’s greatest musicians of all times to promote green issues especially animal rights through his campaign of ‘Meat Free Monday’.
Sting – Musician, UK
Sting is a composer, singer, actor and activist. In 1989 Sting, with his wife Trudie Styler, set up the Rainforest Foundation International, after they saw first-hand the destruction of the Amazon rainforests, and the devastating impact it had on the lives of the indigenous peoples who lived there. Over the last 20 years the Foundation has expanded and diversified, and today there is the New York-based Rainforest Foundation Fund, which provides funding for three autonomous organisations – Rainforest Foundation US, Rainforest Foundation Norway, and the Rainforest Foundation UK. These organisations directly support projects in more than 20 countries that protect tropical rainforests and the people that live in them. Since its inception the Fund has helped protect over 100,000 square kilometres of rainforest.
Yann Arthus-Bertrand – Photographer, FRANCE
Passionate about nature from an early age, Yann Arthus-Bertrand is perhaps best known for his breathtaking aerial photos and videos of our planet, flying in a hot air balloon. His endeavours have captured the imaginations of many, not in the least because of his ‘Earth from Above’ exhibition which showcased the fragility of the Earth and the need to sustain it.
The Huffington Post UK is the media partner of International Green Awards 2011