14 of our favourite eco-friendly celebs
By James Fritz Wednesday 18 February 2015
They’re the people who have everything. Wealth. Fame. Infinity pools. But while many famous people are more concerned with red carpets than green issues, there are some who are committed to using their profile for the good of the planet, working hard to set an example by leading sustainable lifestyles and championing environmental causes. We thought we’d take time to salute some of our favourite eco-celebs. The nominees are....
Photo: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images
Leo is one of the most prolific of green celebrities, most notably writing, co-producing and narrating climate change documentary ‘The 11th Hour’, as well as serving as executive producer of ‘Greensburg’, a series chronicling the green rebuilding of a Kansas town destroyed by a hurricane. He established Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to raise awareness of environmental issues, drives a hybrid car and owns several properties that are kitted out to be as green as possible. His environmentalism scaled new heights in 2014 when he lectured the UN on climate change, telling them ‘you can make history...or be vilified by it’.
Only a former James Bond would see his green activism translate to an unofficial award of ‘Best-Dressed Environmentalist’ by the Sustainable Style Foundation, but Brosnan is more than just a suit. He led a campaign to save the Californian coastline from offshore drilling. He works closely with organisations like Global Green, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Ocean Futures Society. Oh, and at home he composts his rubbish, which might not be very Bond but we think is worth applauding.
Photo: Kristina Loggia
While a lot of green celebrities are all mouth and no trousers, the Sundance Kid has been a staunch environmental activist for decades. He spent 30 years on the board of Natural Resources Defense Council, has lobbied Congress in support of environmental legislation, and has spearheaded a campaign to stop a tar sands pipe pipeline being built through Nebraska. He’s also been promoting solar power since basically the end of Flower Power.
Photo: Austin Hargrave/Columbia Pictures
It should come as no surprise that the nicest guy in Hollywood is also pretty decent to the planet. As well as the solar-powered office building that his production company works out of, Hanks is well known for exclusively driving electric cars. He has even made a video explaining how his car works while driving around L.A. Have a watch: it’s adorable.
Photo: Paul Morigi / Getty Images
No list of green celebs would be complete without Woody, who once scaled the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in order to unfurl a banner defending ancient redwood trees. Harrelson is an ethical vegan and raw foodist, and was given the rather odd honour of being PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian in 2012. For the 2003 documentary ‘Go Further’ he travelled the U.S. in a bus fueled by hemp oil, visiting eco farms along the way and talking at universities about the environment. Oh and on top of all that, he co-founded the green living website Voice Yourself.
After taking over as Artistic Director of the Sydney Theatre Company in 2008 alongside her husband Andrew Upton, Blanchett put into motion a plan to make the building as green as possible, leading to the historic theatre being outfitted with solar panels and a rainwater harvesting tank. Her many other examples of environmental activism include appearing in a 2011 advert encouraging Australian voters to back a tax on carbon.
It’s not only when playing wood-elf Legolas that Orlando is in touch with nature. The actor designed his London home specifically to have an emphasis on sustainability, travelled to Antarctica to see the effects of global warming up close, and is a founding member of globalgreen.org, an organisation dedicated to solving the problem of climate change.
Photo: Twitter/Jon Williams
Not content with being one of the Earth’s most beautiful people, Gisele also spends a large amount of her time trying to save it. Through her eco-friendly line of flip-flops she has raised vast amounts towards the conservation of the Amazon and Atlantic Rainforests, while she also works with the Brazilian clean-water initiative A Drop Of Water and has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program since 2009. Not for nothing was she was voted the 2011 Greenest International Celebrity.
Photo: Victoria Will/Invision/AP
It’s not just when playing The Incredible Hulk that the Oscar-nominated actor flexes his green muscles. Ruffalo has spoken out passionately about fracking and the effect it has on public water supplies, and has also denounced those who deny climate change. When asked whether he is ready to alienate some of his followers for his causes Ruffalo stated: “Criticism is the price that you pay for being a human citizen. It would certainly beat lying on my death bed saying, 'You know what? I should have had a little bit more courage.'" Word of warning, climate change deniers - you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
Ed Begley Jr.
Little known in the UK (you might recognise him from stints in St. Elsewhere, Six Feet Under and Arrested Development) for years Ed has been King, President and Pope of green celebrities rolled into one. Long before it was in vogue for celebs to greenwash themselves, he was extolling the virtues of living sustainably, becoming famous for always turning up to red-carpet events on his bicycle. He’s been driving electric cars for so long they might as well be called ‘Begleymobiles’, has starred in a documentary ‘Living With Ed’ that detailed his eco-friendly living methods and has built a succession of green homes. To top all that he’s also served on countless boards for environmental organisations, winning several awards along the way. Basically, good old Ed is as green as they come. Our hat goes off to him.
Photo: Allison Michael Orenstein
One of our favourite designers, Stella recently showcased perhaps the greenest line of clothing during London Fashion Week - the dresses were made out of leftover fabric and sustainably recycled materials. Her company is fully committed to sustainability, with all her UK stores being powered entirely by Wind Energy. She even has an ‘Environmental Tips’ section in amongst the high fashion of her website.
Photo: Victoria Will / AP Photos
The man best known for playing grouchy Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon films has long been a champion of humanitarian and environmental causes. Glover, aged 68, recently travelled to Ecuador to highlight Chevron’s contamination of the rainforest. Unlike his on-screen counterpart, he’s clearly not getting too old for this...er, stuff.
Photo: Jonathan Mannion
Rap star and actor, Mos Def gets points for thinking outside the box, in 2011 he agreed to narrate a children’s hip-hop album about the environment. ‘Pachas Pyjamas’ concerns a young girl’s efforts to unite the world by staging a music festival starring singing plants and break-dancing animals. Al Gore’s got nothing on that.
Photo: Paolo Kudacki
While many of the people on this list have done incredible things for the environment, Pharrell Williams might just be our favourite. Yep everyone’s favourite big-hatted popstar has impressed us recently by teaming up with Mr. Environment himself, Al Gore, to stage another set of Live Earth concerts across all seven continents (yes, that includes Antarctica). The unlikely duo collaborated before on the 2007 version, which Pharrell played alongside Metallica, Genesis and Bon Jovi, among others.
Pharrell is also looking to clean up the oceans. He has launched Parley For The Oceans and owns Bionic, a yarn company making partially recycled yarn from recovered ocean plastic. Not one to stay in theory alone, Pharrell collaborated with G-Star on a line of clothing featuring Bionic’s yarn. There are certainly no blurred lines when it comes to Pharrell's stance on climate change.