It’s Raining Green in Hollywood
They’re not just pretty faces: A bevy of Tinseltown’s most-loved celebrities are taking action against global warming. Whether it’s driving a hybrid or going organic, these stars are doing their part to save the planet.
When it comes to Hollywood celebrities, it seems that each of them has a cause that they have lent their names to, but some may wonder if they have done so for nothing more than career advancement. But when it comes to eco living and going green, there are a crop of celebrities out there that are seriously committed to it and are putting their money, their faces, and their reputations where their mouths are.
The most passionate, eco-friendly celebrity out there has got to be Leonardo DiCaprio. When I sat down to interview him in Maui, he wasn’t so much interested in talking about the plot of his latest movie, but instead on how he made every effort to protect the natural environment of the locations where the movie was shot. He wanted to talk about his concerns about global warming and how if everyone decided to leave the car at home and walk or bike, just one or two days per week, it would have an enormous, almost immediate impact on the amount of pollution in our atmosphere. And DiCaprio is actually allowing his actions to speak as loud as his words. He drives a hybrid vehicle and prefers to ride a mountain bike or walk whenever possible. He also lives in what is called a Smart Home – a new trend in eco-friendly houses that was designed as a concept by a California company called Hybrid Technologies, but the homes are built by a Calgary based company called Enviro Custom Homes Inc. These high-tech Smart Homes are around 6,000 square feet, and come with a $2 million price tag (Cameron Diaz is also a customer).
And speaking of eco-friendly homes, Brad Pitt not only lives in one, but is also a major force behind a project that is building them for the hurricane ravaged city of New Orleans. Pitt has always had a keen interest in and talent for building and architecture (He once told me that if he were ever granted an internship with a giant in the architectural field like Frank Gehry, he would drop his acting career in a second to pursue it), and together with an organization called Global Green USA, he has not only donated millions of his own money, but has helped design and build the homes and apartment complexes for families that lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina.
Many celebrities have switched their luxury cars in for the more energy efficient and eco-friendly hybrid cars such as the Prius. George Clooney took a step further by being the first person to accept delivery of the experimental all-electric vehicle the Tango T600. The Tango T600 is not cheap – over $85,000 – but it is fully electric with rechargeable motors, making it the most energy efficient vehicle on the road.
Houses and cars are one thing, but there are celebrities out there that are setting an example by doing the little things that if done collectively, would have a great impact on the world. Some celebrity moms are committed to starting their children off with green living from birth. Julia Roberts spoke out on her use of a brand of diapers for her children called Seventh Generation Diapers, which are chlorine-free, free of plastics, inks and dyes, and are flushable and biodegradable. Halle Berry and her partner, Montreal-born Calvin Klein model Gabriel Aubry, have designed a 100 per cent organic and eco friendly nursery for their baby.
Uma Thurman, Heidi Klum, and Gwyneth Paltrow have all said that they have switched to inexpensive eco friendly makeup. Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen has designed and marketed her own brand of eco-friendly sandals called Ipanema Sandals, with a portion of the sales going towards a cause that helps preserve the waters and foliage in the Amazon basin.
And let’s not forget one of the pioneers of eco-friendly living in Hollywood Woody Harrelson. Harrelson has been championing everything from solar power to products made from hemp, and hybrid vehicles long before it became the cause célèbre. When I last had the opportunity to speak to Harrelson in Toronto, he said, “We are at a critical juncture now I think, now living an environmentally attuned life is not just good, it is a responsibility we all have. And it is not so hard or bad, once you start doing it – you get used to it, and then you find that you really enjoy the benefits of living healthy.”
And while some celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta are criticized for the anti-environmental lifestyles (both own a fleet of private jets), they lead, others such as DiCaprio, Pitt, Diaz and Clooney are leading by example. The list of celebrities that can be found zipping around L.A. in hybrid cars is growing by the week: Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, Reese Witherspoon, Alicia Silverstone, Tobey McGuire. Depp and Nicolas Cage both own small islands in the Bahamas that feature completely green housing.
For once, it seems that Hollywood has become a trend-setter in a way that is completely positive and beneficial to the planet – let’s just hope this is a trend that becomes a permanent way of living our daily lives.