In 1970, “Earth Day” was born when Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed a nationwide “environmental teach-in” after observing the devastation caused by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill (now the third-worst U.S. spill behind 1989′s Exxon Valdez and last year’s Deepwater catastrophe). Over the past forty-one years, Earth Day has grown into a worldwide event in which over 200 million people across 175 countries participate. And since Hollywood celebrities are increasingly using their star power to raise awareness for environmental causes, what better time is there to highlight some of the “greenest” actors and actresses at redbox?
Walking the Talk: Leonardo DiCaprio and Ed Norton
Global Green USA is the American arm of the Green Cross International, and its two celebrity board members — Leonard DiCaprio and Ed Norton — have emerged as their generation’s leading environmental activists. From establishing the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, to producing, co-writing and narrating 2007′s documentary The 11th Hour, to recently donating $1 million to the World Wildlife Federation, Leo always seems to be at the forefront of pressing environmental causes. And Ed Norton literally has activism flowing through his veins — his dad is an environmental lawyer and conservation advocate based out of Asia. In addition to Ed’s work with Global Green, he’s president of the American branch of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Fund (for which he ran the 2009 New York City marathon to raise funds and awareness), as well as a board member and lifetime trustee of Enterprise Community Partners, which supports green housing initiatives (and was founded by Ed’s grandfather!).
Water Warrior: Matt Damon
Though laughs were had at his expense when he appeared on HBO’s Entourage as a significantly more aggressive version of the charity-loving celeb he actually is, don’t be fooled: Matt Damon is serious about his cause. He’s the co-founder of Water.org, and never misses an opportunity to educate people on the severe lack of drinkable water around the world. You might remember that Damon received the Joel Siegel Award for Service to the Community at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony, and was able to share eye-opening statistics about the need for clean water with the audience while simultaneously being harassed offstage by Jimmy Kimmel.
Named a Hero of the Environment by Time magazine in 2009, Diaz likes to get people involved in the world around them, be it by traveling cross-country in her hybrid and filming environmentally focused YouTube spots, taking an extreme-sports angle to get younger people excited about the cause in the MTV series Trippin, or admitting to David Letterman that she doesn’t feel the need to flush the toilet if, you know, it’s just #1 in there.
- See Cameron in 2001′s mind-bender Vanilla Sky
- Watch her bring Princess Fiona to life in Shrek Forever After, on DVD or Blu-ray
- Stay tuned for her turn in The Green Hornet (coming May 3 on DVD and Blu-ray)
Super Steward: Rosario Dawson
Rosario is such a committed environmental crusader that it’s hard to keep track of everything she’s involved with! Two of the organizations she’s most active in are Global Cool (for which she’s filmed quick but educational videos) and the Environmental Media Association (where she’s a member of its Young Hollywood board).
- Don’t miss Rosario in Unstoppable
Other Prominent Members of the Green Army
Gwyneth Paltrow -Like mother, like daughter! Gwyneth’s mum, Blythe Danner, is on the board of the Environmental Media Association, and Gwyneth has partnered with Cameron Diaz to film educational videos for the organization over the years. What’s more, she regularly recommends earth-friendly products on her personal web site, GOOP.
- Show your love for Ms. Bell by renting You Again, Get Him to the Greek (DVD or Blu-ray), or Burlesque
Nicole Kidman –The Aussie actress was named a “Citizen of the World” by the UN in 2004 and has been involved in Oz’s Global Green Plan.
- Watch Nicole’s Academy Award-nominated performance in Rabbit Hole
- Don’t forget to catch Natalie’s Oscar-winning turn in Black Swan, coming April 26 on DVD and Blu-ray
Earth Day is Friday, April 22.
What celebrity inspires you to Go Green?