10 CELEBRITIES WHO STRIVE TO SAVE OUR PLANET
Most known for his role in the award-winning movie Titanic, DiCaprio has continuously proven his commitment to environmental preservation. Notably, DiCaprio co-wrote, produced and narrated ‘The 11th Hour’, a documentary featuring over 50 scientists, scholars and leaders discussing the critical ecological issues we are facing in today’s society. In 2016, Leonardo was featured in the ‘Before the Flood’ documentary, discussing the destructive impacts of climate change on the world. DiCaprio is also a Board member of several environmental organisations, including the National Resources Defense Council, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Global Green USA.
Three-times Academy Award winner Meryl Streep began her environmental work in the ‘80s, raising awareness for the National Resources Defense Council. The American actress notably participated in the Mothers & Others campaign as a spokesperson, advocating against the use of toxic chemical pesticides. Speaking about her interest in environmental health activism, Streep noted: “I became interested in all these things when I was consciously feeding a baby and had a sense that everything you do is going to have an outcome further down the road. So I was very conscious to try to do the right thing and do well by our kids.”
Aside from his acting career, Ben Affleck is also known for his philanthropic commitment. In 2010, Affleck co-founded the Eastern Congo Initiative aiming to support community-based organisations in acquiring grants for agricultural production. The organisation has contributed to improving the quality-of-life standards of small farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo by providing them with relevant resources and training.
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen became interested in environmental conservation following a trip to India in 2014, where she observed the challenges that local communities faced due to the impacts of deforestation and water pollution. Gisele soon became an advocate for environmental preservation, using her platform to raise awareness on ecological issues. She has been named Greenest International Celebrity of the Year 2011 and, in 2019, Gisele was named Environmental Program Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, participating in several environmental campaigns and initiatives.
Actor Mark Ruffalo is a strong advocate against the Keystone XL Pipeline project, raising awareness for the negative environmental impact of the oil and gas industry. Ruffalo is also the co-founder of The Solutions Project, an environmental activism organisation that has distributed over $5 million in grants towards over 100 community projects. The organization supports frontline leaders working on policy reform and community development, regarding issues of climate change and clean energy solutions.
In 2008, Cate Blanchett directed the ‘Greening the Wharf Project’ for the Sydney Theatre Company, implementing sustainability measures for the theatre. Blanchett led the installation of almost 2,000 solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system in the Theatre, along with the reuse and recycling of costumes and props. Blanchett has also worked for years as an ambassador of the Australian Conservation Foundation, promoting the carbon tax agenda to help limit greenhouse gas emissions.
The 2007 Hurricane Katrina was a turning point for Brad Pitt’s commitment to sustainability. Pitt observed the devastating impact of the hurricane in New Orleans and was taken aback by the “lack of rebuilding progress in this historic, working-class community”, so took the initiative to donate $5 million for rebuilding 150 greenhouses for families that had lost everything. Brad Pitt was recognised by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2009 for his environmentally sustainable work. Pitt has also worked with the Chester Zoo in Namibia, which co-founds the Carnivore Research Project for the protection of cheetahs in the wild.
A strong environmental voice for her generation, Shailene Woodley is passionate about raising climate change awareness. Shailene is the co-founder of the NGO ‘All it Takes’, a youth leadership initiative urging younger generations to practice empathy, compassion and responsibility towards each other and the environment. In 2016, Woodley also protested against the underground petroleum pipeline ‘Dakota Access Pipeline,’ and was arrested for trespassing.
American singer and songwriter Jack Johnson is also the founder of ‘All at Once Campaign”, a social action network to give individuals the opportunity to make a positive impact in their local communities. The programme is centred around environmental sustainability, aiming to achieve a sustainable food system and plastic-free environment. Johnson is also a supporter of the Australian Marine Conservation Society and has performed in classrooms to raise awareness for environmental education through the Kokua Hawaii Foundation.
Dr. Jane Goodall
One of the world’s most famous environmentalists, Dr. Jane Goodall, began her environmental career in the 1960s, following her travel from England to Tanzania. For over 60 years, Dr. Goodall has worked as a primatologist and anthropologist, focusing on studying the world of chimpanzees and advocating for animal welfare and ecological conservation. In 2002, Dr. Goodall became the UN Messenger of Peace and is also an active member of the World Future Council.