Often celebrities make headlines not for a new movie or album, but because they have been arrested for drunk driving, have had raunchy home movies find their way to the web or they’ve made stupid statements. The media seems to focus on their foibles and for reasons I will never quite understand, the public seem to love this type of slander and sensation. It has been refreshing to see a number of well known people be featured in the gossip pages for the right reasons with Academy Award winners, sport icons and singers being highlighted for the causes they support.
One of the most instantly recognisable green campaigners is Leonardo Di Caprio. In 1998 he set up a foundation to promote various environmental causes. The Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation is currently campaigning to end the ivory trade and save endangered tigers and species of shark. Apart from the foundation he also seems to live a fairly normal life – he flies commercially and drives a hybrid car.
Sachin Tendulkar is undisputedly a living legend in the cricket fraternity. “The Little Master” holds a number of records, including being the first player to score 10 000 career runs in One Day Internationals, but another accolade he hopes to add is Most Responsible International Celebrity at the International Green Awards. For a number of years Tendulkar his used his hero status in India to promote worthy causes. He was named a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations Environment Programme and was the face of India’s 2012 Earth Hour campaign.
Julia-Louise Dreyfus, star of the immensely popular sitcom Seinfeld, is also a leading green campaigner. She is an active member or organisations such as the Natural Resources Defence Council and has received much publicity for her green home. She commissioned a green architect to remodel their home and achieved outstanding results. The techniques and materials used include solar panels, sustainably harvested tropical woods, a natural ventilation system and insulation made of recycled newspaper. The retractable roof serves as a thermal chimney – hot air rises upwards and draws in cool air from the ocean breeze. Rooms are connected by transom windows which ensure that air constantly circulates, negating the need for any air conditioners.
South African-born Charlize Theron is also worth mentioning among the eco-wise celebs. She has been known to arrive at red carpet events using eco-friendly methods of transport and has a foundation that focuses on health and sustainability issues in impoverished communities.
Until recently, one of the most wasteful and vacuous industries was fashion, particularly at the high end. From globe trotting models to unnecessary extravagance, the industry has long been further away from sustainability than any other. One key figure who is attempting to change that is Vivienne Westwood. She pledged £1 million towards climate change and recently unveiled a new design manifesto which aims to focus on quality clothing that lasts longer.