The Greenest Celebrities

by Lauren Verini

Celebrities get a lot of attention from the media and most of the times it’s focuses on the negative, such as the latest scandal or slip up—or things that just have no relevance to anything. Whether they like it or not, celebrities are put under a microscope and their lives are put on display for us all to watch. However the star-power that comes with being an A-lister can be used for good by drawing light on important issues such as sustainability. More stars are starting to go green and much like the rest of the population they vary in age, gender and personality, proving that all types can incorporate eco-friendly practices into their lifestyle. We wanted to take a moment to point out the celebrities we feel have helped most to shine light on eco-friendly issues in 2011.

In November Gisele Bundchen, the international super model known for strutting her stuff down the runway for Victoria Secret, was crowned the Best Green International Celebrity of 2011 at the 6th International Green Awards for Creativity in Sustainability. Bundchen has been a long time advocate for spreading awareness and funds for sustainable living organizations. Growing up in Brazil, she witnessed first hand the deforestation and water pollution of the Xingu River. She is a Good Will Ambassador for United Nations Environmental Programs (UNEP), and is planning to plant a Legacy Forest in Brazil this spring. Bundchen and husband Tom Brady will soon be moving into a brand new 22,000 square foot sustainable home near Los Angeles. Their home will incorporate solar energy, energy efficient appliances and sustainable building materials, among many other things.

Long time vegan Natalie Portman loves to sport eco-friendly clothing and accessories whenever possible, right down to her engagement ring. Benjamin Millepied proposed to the starlet early in 2011 with an eco-conscious ring that features a recycled platinum band, antique center stone and pave diamond accents taken from conflict-free mines. The actress also wore an eco-friendly dress from H&M made of 100 percent recycled polyester to a pre-Oscars party before winning “Best Actress” for her role in Black Swan.

Actress Jessica Alba is incorporating green into her every day life as a new mom. From organic sheets and home decor, recycled clothing, and even waterless grass made out of recycled tires, Alba fits eco-friendly products into her life wherever she can. In December, Alba announced she will launch The Honest Company in early 2012, an online space that will sell sustainable diapers and household cleaning products.

Newlyweds Amy Smart and Carter Osterhouse married in September and with both having deep-rooted interests in living eco-friendly, celebrated with a green wedding. The actress and HGTV host accommodated 220 guests but accumulated only one bag of trash, having recycled and composted almost everything. Up next, the couple plans to add a solar panel roof to their new home.

Country music star Willie Nelson was honored in August for his work as founder and president of Farm Aid, and was inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame. Nelson started Farm Aid 26 years ago to spread awareness about the loss of family farms and to help keep these farms in business. He has helped to raise more than $39 million to support programs that help local farmers, which in turn helps to encourage people to continue to buy food locally and cut down on their carbon footprint.

James Cameron is one celebrity who likes to stay out of the spotlight, but this year the award-winning director famous for movies like Titanic and Avatar opened up his doors for this first time to show off his sustainable 100 acre compound to ABC’s Nightline. The compound is powered by solar energy and a windmill Cameron himself designed. He is planning to incorporate solar power into his production studio to produce the next two Avatar movies. Cameron is also a big supporter of hybrid cars. He bought ten of the actors from Avatar an Avacar, “Avatar” blue hybrid Prius’, and Cameron himself drives a Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric car.

It was no surprise when the eco-friendly fashion designer Stella McCartney announced in October that she will be coming out with a line of eco-friendly sunglasses in 2012.  McCartney has been a long time vegetarian, and has incorporated her passion for the environment into her profession, she never uses leather or fur in her clothing designs and is a supporter of the Meatless Monday campaign. Her green sunglasses will boast more than 50 percent all natural and renewable materials, so her fellow celebrities and fashion lovers can now sport shades by their favorite designer and feel good about it!

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are two stars who are just as well known for their acting as their devotion to promoting and living sustainably. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation helps to raise funds and awareness for various sustainable organizations and issues such as forest preservation, healthy oceans, climate change, wildlife protection, among others. In October, DiCaprio furthered his involvement by helping to ban Shark Finning in the state of California. The ban prohibits the sale of shark fins, which have been killing as many as 40 million sharks a year according to Planet Green.

Pitt is the founder of the Make It Right Foundation, which has built 150 sustainable homes in New Orleans for those whose homes were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. In the start of 2011, he and Angelina Jolie also donated $2 million to the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia where their daughter Shiloh was born. The organization is committed to the conservation of the country’s land, people and wildlife.

We hope that next year there will be even more celebrities to add to this list. Did we miss any green celebrities? Let us know your favorite sustainable living star below.

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