It’s the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, and we can finally dare to celebrate. Yes, we have a climate change crisis on our hands. Yet the White House just announced the U.S. will cut greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030. Solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources will power us forward.
These 51 Hollywood celebrities who get it done for Mother Earth will power us forward, too. Through their creativity, ingenuity, and straight-up dedication, they’ve figured out how we can do this together. They show us the way.
This list is Hollywood.com’s inaugural list of Holly-Do-Gooders, which shines the (solar-powered) spotlight on celebrities doing good for our people and planet.
Earth to Hollywood and other stars: Thank you! Now let’s raise a glass of Cameron Diaz’s clean wine and dig in.
#1: Leonardo DiCaprio
The Wolf of Green Street is fierce. Leonardo DiCaprio is the UN Messenger of Peace on Climate Change. While we love him in The Titanic cast, his documentaries Before the Flood and The 11th Hour are riveting looks at climate change. He’s active in the World Wildlife Fund, Global Green USA, and the People’s Climate March.
For 20 years now and with great urgency, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) has been addressing threats of climate change and loss of biodiversity. LDF has formed collaborative partnerships to spur innovative, sweeping change. One such example: female-led initiatives (employing single mothers, sex workers, and abandoned mothers) that prevent trophy hunting in Africa. Leonardo DiCaprio saves Santa Monica cougars, Mexican desert tortoises, South Pacific coral reefs, and California Sequoia trees, to name just a few preservation projects. Sequoia trees, at 3,000 years old, are nearly the oldest living things on Earth.
#2: Greta Thunberg
“Our house is on fire,” Greta Thunberg said at the World Economic Forum. She told world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit “you are failing us” and was named TIME Person of the Year—all in 2019. But in 2018 when she started, she sat alone outside of Swedish Parliament. Waving her “School Strike for Climate” sign, she pressured the government to meet the carbon emissions target agreed by world leaders in Paris in 2015.
Her protests went viral on social media; other strikes started around the world; now she inspires young and old alike, and across the political spectrum. It’s known as the “Greta Thunberg effect”: people familiar with the young climate activist may be more likely to act.
#3 Robert Redford
The Sundance Kid has been the bright light of environmental activism since the early 70s. Back then, Robert Redford helped with legislation including The Clean Air Act and The Energy Conservation and Production Act. He held global warming summits in Sundance, became a Natural Resources Defense Council Trustee, and established 5,000 acres of protected wilderness known as the Sundance Preserve where his policy and creative work continues.
Storytelling is key to the modern environmental movement, he notes. The Redford Center at the Preserve produces documentary features and shorts, including Last Wild Bison; Appalachian Spring; Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution; Women’s Work: The Untold Story of America’s Female Farmers; I am Greta; and Where the Butterflies Go. Sure, fans flock to Sundance TV for the indie filmmaking we associate with Robert Redford. But to know his impact on the environment is to love this great man. “Climate change is a moral issue that should transcend politics,” he once said at a UN Meeting. Robert Redford has lived his life that way.
#4 Shailene Woodley
Divergent thinker Shailene Woodley is a doer. She’s a fierce environmentalist who works with GreenPeace on ocean initiatives to protect 30% of the world’s seas from micro-pollution by 2030. She teamed up with American Express, who promised to redesign its Green Card to be made from plastic found on beaches and to provide planet-friendly options for recycling the cards when they expire or are canceled.
#5 Mark Ruffalo
Dark Waters warrior Mark Ruffalo joined with NYS citizens to press governor Andrew M. Cuomo to ban the practice known as “fracking,” where energy companies drill into rock to extract natural gas. Fracking is linked to air and water pollution. Andrew Cuomo did ban fracking in 2015, in response to activists like Mark Ruffalo, and earlier this year Andrew Cuomo made the ban permanent.
In recent years, he has done a lot of activism work to fight climate change and advocate for the Green New Deal.
#6: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Since 2019, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — aka AOC — of New York’s 14th Congressional district has effectively utilized her political star power to turn up the heat on addressing the climate crisis. Along with Ed Markey, Senator from MA, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has introduced House Resolution 109, called the Green New Deal, which “outlines the framework for a comprehensive and ambitious plan to combat climate change by creating millions of high-wage jobs in new green industries, transitioning our energy system, and building new infrastructure.”
Ever wonder what a Representative does in a week, anyway?
Here’s what I‘ve been up to since Monday ⬇️ https://t.co/jBV73soH7w
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 17, 2021
AOC’s co-sponsored plan to combat climate change offers a road map for a healthier future, both environmentally and economically. Her Twitter game is strong, too.
Every little thing he does is magic. Sting and his wife Trudie Styler founded the Rainforest Fund in 1988, long before many of us worried about the rainforests being destroyed—and before the Amazon could be confused with a certain retailer. Sting and Trudie Styler, along with their indigenous partners, have protected huge swaths of land in Brazil, Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Like a trailblazing scientist, Sting has a Colombian tree frog named after him––Dendropsophus stingi–– in gratitude for his “commitment and efforts.” When he’s performed at Earth Day concerts in the past, Sting often sings “Message in a Bottle” or “Time is up, the planet’s sick” (from “One Fine Day” on the album 57th & 9th).
Lately, Sting helps steer green and socially conscious investing through JANA Impact Capital and supports a beekeeping charity Bees for Development that alleviates poverty through a beekeeping livelihood.
#8: Edward Norton
Fight Club’s Edward Norton sure fights the good fight. He started the B.P. Solar Neighbors Program in Southern California. For every celebrity who installs a B.P. solar system in their home, B.P. donates one to a poor family in L.A.
Edward Norton’s conservation hero is his father who started the Conservation Lands Foundation. He continues his father’s work protecting public lands and also works with the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, an organization that protects ecosystems of East Africa through prevention of deforestation, wildlife monitoring, and citizen-led ecotourism and creation of alternative livelihoods.
#9: Natalie Portman
Black Swan Natalie Portman is a force of nature. As a child, she was a vegetarian and sang “I’m dreaming of a perfect world” for the super-earnest environmental children’s band World Patrol Kids. Today, Natalie Portman is vegan and still puts her whole heart into saving the world.
She produced and narrated Eating Animals (2017), a documentary (based on a book by Jonathan Safran Foer) that calls for a return to traditional family farming instead of today’s factory farming which pollutes the land, air, and water and harms animals, human health, and local farmers. Natalie Portman also supports affordable green housing initiatives through Global Green USA. The Environmental Media Association gave her the Ongoing Commitment Award.
#10: James Cromwell
James Cromwell (The Green Mile, Operation Buffalo, Succession) in real life speaks truth to power; he has spent time in jail for his protests against fracking, power plants, and animal testing—his role as Farmer Hoggett in the talking pig movie Babe (1995) sparked his animal rights activism.
It took 3.3 million years for life to evolve the human, and only the last 75 for humans to threaten its extinction. The clock is ticking. It’s time #ForNature. This #WorldEnvironmentDay tell the world why YOU think it’s time #ForNature @NYGovCuomo @GeorgeTakei @billmckibben pic.twitter.com/uoPm6QU7Cc
— James Cromwell 🐷 (@jamesocromwell) May 28, 2020
More recently, James Cromwell narrated the 12-minute film Farm to Fridge about slaughterhouse horror. James Cromwell is most inspired, he says, by grass-roots movements, such as Greta Thunberg’s and indigenous people’s fights for climate justice.
#11: Cate Blanchett
She played Kate the Great (Katharine Hepburn) in The Aviator and Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth. This Cate is so very great. A longtime Ambassador for the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Aussie star helped to pay for and install the 5.2 million solar roof on Australia’s Sydney Theater company.
Cate Blanchett has pushed for and appeared in a TV ad for a carbon tax that would limit greenhouse gas emissions. She’s launched her own rainwater harvesting system, which is considered one of the largest in the world by saving around 3 million gallons annually. “I can’t look my children in the face if I’m not trying to do something in my small way and to urge other people,” she says.
#12: Adrian Grenier
If Vinny energized his friends in Entourage, Adrian Grenier is a force for contagious do-gooding with his Lonely Whale Foundation (LWF). For instance, LWF’s #StopSucking campaign motivates people to challenge one another through social media to stop using straws. Avoiding straws in your cocktails (and declining them from waiters) is one of the small lifestyle habits each of us can adopt and “normalize,” he has said.
#13: Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda’s new book What Can I Do? My Path from Climate Despair to Action, published Sept. 2020, charts a course for everyone. Jane Fonda herself participates in nonviolent civil disobedience, demonstrations on Capitol Hill that lead to getting arrested.
“Fire Drill Fridays” are inspired by Greta Thunberg’s words and coordinated through Greenpeace, to pressure the administration to pass “The Green New Deal,” co-sponsored by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey. This executive order would upgrade public buildings, transportation, and energy to transition to a clean energy economy; secure informed tribal consent from Indigenous nations; declare a national climate emergency; and ban new fossil fuel projects on federal and tribal lands and waters, as well as in environmental justice communities.
#14: Ted Danson
Cheers to Ted Danson’s longtime ocean activism that puts him in the HollyGOOD place. As the author of the book Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them and a board member of the group Oceana, Ted Danson is a passionate advocate for ocean conservation and sounds the alarm on overfishing. In Apple’s The Climate Pod, he talks about his Oceana work.
#15: Joaquin Phoenix
Protecting the environment is no joke to Joaquin Phoenix. He used his podium moment winning Best Actor for The Joker (2019) to discuss the importance of veganism and the injustices of animal agriculture, which exploits migrant workers and blunts compassion. Joaquin Phoenix has been a vegan since childhood when he had a profound moment looking into the eyes of a fish, just as people look into the eyes of their dog.
Joaquin Phoenix also spurs folks to reckon with global warming by posting influential social media stories. In partnership with the environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion, Joaquin Phoenix produced and starred in a short film called Guardians of Life that shines a spotlight on climate change through a story about a medic battling to save a dying planet Earth.
#16: MacKenzie Scott
In December 2020, novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced that she’d given almost $4.2 billion to hundreds of nonprofits (many social justice and education-focused); 125 million went to climate change and ocean conservation initiatives while $25 million went to The Nature Conservancy.
#17: Jack Johnson
“We gotta learn to reduce, reuse, recycle,” Jack Johnson sang in “The 3 R’s song” featured in his epic album for Curious George (2006). Jack Johnson is a genius at pairing music with a message. He usually hosts his Kokua Festival concert every Earth Day, but the pandemic has delayed his concerts until summer.
Through Amazon Music Unlimited, you can still catch the mighty wave of last year’s Kokua Festival (Ben Harper! Ziggy Marley!) that Jack Johnson live streamed from home and then turned its proceeds into environmental education in Hawaii’s schools and communities. Jack Johnson also tries to inspire everyone through his AllAtOnce social action network that supports local food systems and plastic-free initiatives; through this network Jack Johnson connects you to non-profit groups and teaches environmental tips.
#18: James Cameron
James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) is the highest grossing film in history and it’s also one of the most powerful eco-message movies. The indigenous Na’vi living on Pandora are the ideal: they live in harmony with nature and biodiversity. Avatar sequels will bring further activism. James Cameron is an executive producer on Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary series highlighting global warming.
James Cameron and wife Suzy Amis Cameron are investors in the plant-based company Verdient Foods which makes meat substitutes that reduce the carbon footprint of the beef industry. They’re also involved in Global Green and Oceana.
#19: Michelle Obama
In 2009, Michelle Obama planted the White House Kitchen Garden. It was the first major vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden in 1943. As she invited students across the country to do the same, this garden became a national symbol for a kid-led healthy eating movement.
Michelle Obama also created Let’s Move! Outside, which included Every Kid in a Park initiative allowing fourth-graders and their families a pass for free entry into the nation’s parks. “Did you know that you own millions of acres of national parks, historic structures, cultural artifacts, ancient forests, snow-capped mountains, and clear blue lakes?” is the enticing eco message to these kids on the National Park Foundation’s website. Michelle Obama currently works on the Girls Opportunity Alliance within the Obama Foundation, empowering adolescent girls around the world through education.
#20: Matt Damon
The talented Mr. Damon is co-founder of water.org, which develops solutions to the global water crisis. The project is partly the legacy of his time spent in the Sahara, when Matt Damon saw the crisis as he narrated the documentary Running the Sahara (2007) about the first three humans to run coast to coast across Africa’s Sahara desert.
Matt Damon also now hosts and narrates the award-winning Journey to Planet Earth, where his intelligence and political intensity are a perfect fit for this PBS show that demonstrates the links between the environment, politics, economics, history, and sociology.
Even on the big screen, Matt Damon appeared in one of the few films that dramatizes the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions: Downsizing (2017), directed by Alexander Payne. Although humorous (he and wife Kristin Wiig become miniaturized), the film is a straight-up climate change movie.
#21: Jeff Bezos
With his $10 billion Earth Fund, Jeff Bezos has earmarked $100 million for each of these organizations to combat climate change: The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund.
#22: Gisele Bündchen
Green’s in vogue for supermodel Gisele Bündchen. She’s been passionate about the environment since her early childhood vacations at her grandmother’s farm in southern Brazil. Gisele Bündchen has been a global Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program since 2009.
She’s donated millions of dollars to environmental sustainability causes, planted loads of trees, campaigned to preserve the South American rainforest, produced an educational environmental cartoon Gisele & the Green Team. She appeared in the eco documentary Years of Living Dangerously and was an executive producer on Netflix’s documentaryi Kiss the Ground.
#23: Woody Harrelson
The Hunger Games, Star Wars, True Detective: Woody Harrelson on screen snaps us to attention, and this authoritative aura drives his narration of the new climate change sensation, the documentary Kiss the Ground (2020). “This is the story of a simple solution, a way to heal our planet. This solution is right under our feet and it’s as old as dirt,” he says in the film’s opening. Indeed, the exciting overlooked solution—regenerating soil–can rapidly stabilize our climate across the globe. Woody Harrelson has also revolutionized the pulp and paper industry with Step Forward Paper, a paper company that uses wheat straw waste instead of trees.
#24: Robin Wright
House of Cards’ mover and shaker Claire Underwood moves heaven and earth so that beautiful pajama sets sewn by women in the Congo can get into the hands of any woman who wants to be thoughtful about her clothing choices.
The beautiful vintage-inspired sleepwear, as well as dresses and jumpsuits, are crafted from sustainable materials like cotton. Check out Robin Wright’s company Pour Les Femmes that she co-founded with designer Karen Fowler.
#25: Jason Mraz
“I’m Yours” singer-songwriter Jason Mraz sings “I Won’t Give Up” in Kiss the Ground. His heartfelt devotion to us and the earth is so inspiring. In the film, Jason Mraz talks about building “food forests” in a backyard of any size. He has his own organic avocado farm that sells to restaurants; the farm runs on solar energy.
Mraz tours “green” by using tree planting to offset emissions and encourages fans to use reusable bottles.
#26: Pharell Williams
“Happy” could be our middle name, too, when encountering the beautiful products Pharell Williams creates from the discarded plastic that soils our beaches. Pharell Williams’ company Bionic Yarn is “mission-driven science.” He creates office furniture, sofas, colorful window treatments, as well as clothing, boots and bags—all with recycled materials from marine plastics.
His other company, Humanrace Skincare, offers “a collection of all-gender skincare products created with the belief that, now more than ever, nothing is more important to humanity than our unified health and wellbeing.” The company uses sustainable packaging and has a refill system to reduce waste.
#27: Nikki Reed
Shape-shifting magic is on display in the artistry that Nikki Reed (Rosalie in Twilight) brings to bear on the environment. Her company BaYou with Love creates beautiful jewelry, loungewear, and home accessories from sustainable materials. Consider the gold in her jewelry–it’s recovered from discarded technology through her partnership with Dell.
She also collaborated with sustainable-fabric clothing company UpWest to create an Earth Day t-shirt for men and women. Conscious sourcing brings feel-good stories to products. Nikki Reed believes that one day soon consumers will be as careful about what they put on their bodies as they now monitor what goes into their bodies. Nikki Reed is also vice president of husband Ian Somerhalder’s Foundation, which focuses largely on environmental programs.
#28: Ian Somerhalder
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries, Lost) is unstoppable. His foundation promotes green energy development, the conservation of forests, lands, and wildlife, and the empowerment of young people to become involved in conservation. In the climate change documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, Ian Somerhalder discusses how coal mining harms the land, water, and air. He’s also a United Nations Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador.
#29: Salma Hayek
Frida star Salma Hayek paints the globe green as a board member of Global Green. She works to provide clean drinking water to crisis communities, affordable green housing projects, and green jobs.
Her home has solar panels and she drives a hybrid and urges celebs to do the same through the Green Cars, Red Carpet movement started at the Academy Awards.
#30: Orlando Bloom
Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean—Orlando Bloom is a “voice for children,” as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and a provocateur who invites kids into the world of eco-heroism through social media awareness campaigns.
Melting glaciers in Antarctica are “the dinosaurs of our time,” he points out. Orlando Bloom works with climate refugees escaping communities destroyed by global warming and focuses on clean water initiatives. “A simple tap, which costs about $20, can provide water to the whole community [in Nepal]—for life!” he says.
#31: Shalom Harlow
The runway turns green with supermodel Shalom Harlow, who helps organize the Earth Pledge Future Fashion Show during Fashion Week. The goal is to send the message that being green is fashionable and to promote sustainable materials like organic cotton, organic wool, corn fibers, recycled fabrics, and natural dyes.
Shalom Harlow also helps with ForestEthics/Stand.earth’s Do Not Mail campaign, which aims to shut down junk mail that threatens our forests. In her fashion spreads, Shalom Harlow can sometimes be seen with backdrops like solar panels.
#32: Ed Begley, Jr.
We can get inside green energy by watching the eco-based reality show Living With Ed. Ed Begley, Jr.’s activism is relentless and began in the 70s, like Robert Redford’s. This show helps us keep up with him as he rides a hybrid electric bicycle, eats vegan, promotes composting toilets and green cleaning products, lives in a 1,585 sq. ft house that uses solar and wind power, and converts his lawn to a drought-tolerant garden.
Ed Begley and friend Bill Nye are in a competition to see who can have the lowest carbon footprint. Ed Begley has also authored books on sustainable living.
#33: Penélope Cruz
No plain Vanilla Sky—Penélope Cruz is more of a pirate. In partnership with Atelier Swarovski, Penélope Cruz has designed a collection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings that use lab-grown gems to avoid the environmental impact of mining. In the past, Penélope Cruz has worked with PETA in ad campaigns denouncing fur (“Make us Purr, Don’t Wear Fur”), and she and her sister designed a fur-free clothing collection for Mango, a Spanish clothing company. Currently, Penélope Cruz and husband Javier Bardem have teamed up with Greenpeace to create a global sanctuary in the Antarctic and to protect at least 30% of the world’s seas by 2030.
#34: Neil Young
Hey, Hey, My, My. Canadian Neil Young became a US citizen in January 2020 at the age of 74, in order to vote and address the “climate change emergency” in this country, he says. He works with activist wife Daryl Hannah on projects protesting big oil and fracking. Neil Young’s album Earth that he made with band Promise of the Real features environmentally conscious songs; his latest album Colorado made with Crazy Horse contains themes of climate change. In “She Showed Me Love,” he sings “You might say I’m an old white guy…I’ve seen old white guys trying to kill Mother Nature.” He and Daryl Hannah collaborated on a film Paradox, with him singing in it. It’s a love letter to the old west and farming.
#35: Selena Gomez
As a UNICEF Ambassador since 2009, Selena Gomez advocates for vulnerable children around the world affected by environmental and other crises. Her target audience for support and donations? Other kids. In the UNICEF Tap Project, for instance, she used Twitter and Facebook to challenge young people to put down their phones for as long as they can handle it. Then think about another tap—the faucet we take for granted. Finding solutions to clean, safe drinking water for kids in Vietnam, Togo, Mauritania, and Cameroon is doable with a dollar donation. “That’s less than the price of a cup of coffee,” she said.
While the health link to safe drinking water is better publicized, Selena Gomez let people know that kids in crisis communities don’t go to school because they spend their days walking to find water. Her PSAs got through. The Tap Project raised roughly $900,000. That’s a lot of dollars.
#36: George Clooney
Fantastic Mr. Fox George Clooney is a longtime global activist. After he produced and starred in Syriana, a political thriller exposing the corruption in the global oil industry, George Clooney launched the campaign “Oil Change” to eliminate America’s dependence on foreign oil. “If you’re doing a movie about oil consumption and corruption, you can’t just talk the talk,” George Clooney said. “You gotta walk the walk.”
He was the first person in America to buy his two-seat Tango electric car. Appearing in Nespresso ads, George Clooney also serves on Nespresso’s Sustainability Advisory Board that has helped to protect the environment and improve the lives of coffee farmers in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, Brazil, and India.
#37: Stella McCartney
Sustainability is the thread. Stella McCartney’s beautiful clothing company uses no leather or fur and opts for regenerated cashmere. She uses the Environmental Profit and Loss system to calibrate the environmental impact of all decisions, including product design, sourcing, manufacturing, and research and development.
#38: Jamie Oliver
Cracking! For a couple of decades, Jamie Oliver has been revolutionizing the way we eat by focusing on locally grown food and encouraging viewers who watch Jamie at Home to grow their own produce in their gardens.
He’s revamped the lunch program at British schools to bring locally-grown foods to kids. His Cornwall restaurant Fifteen is powered by rooftop wind turbines. He says “social responsibility is fully baked into everything we do.”
#39: Cameron Diaz
There’s something about Cameron, indeed. Cameron Diaz’s eco-crusading goes back a couple of decades. She teamed up with Al Gore on a project 60 Seconds to Save the Earth that let contestants compete to create creative public service announcements; she hosted MTV’s Trippin’ which featured her traveling to Yellowstone, among other places, to educate people on endangered species, energy consumption, and the environment.
She appeared in the SOS environmental campaign to inform people about basic planet-saving tips like recycling, saving water, turning down the thermostat. She contributed to The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time, a wonderful guide to the green lifestyle. Cameron Diaz has also been driving a used Prius for decades and recently created an organic wine label Avaline.
#40: Jake Gyllenhaal
Donnie Darko is green. As an advocate for Global Green, Jake Gyllenhaal documented the global warming crisis affecting the Inuits at the North Pole; he plants trees in Mozambique to offset his carbon output; and he’s drawn to environmental films like The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and Okja (2017) about a genetically modified “super pig.”
#41: Bette Midler
Some say love…becomes the rose of Bette Midler. She founded the New York Restoration Project in 1995. Bette Midler’s project has restored thousands of acres of neglected city parkland, especially in poor neighborhoods. Trash is hauled out and trees and gardens are planted across the five boroughs.
#42: Dave Matthews Band
Crush on the environment. Dave Matthews is a UN Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador. The Dave Matthews Band plays environmental benefit concerts, including the NRDC’s Music Saves Mountains. On their website, they invite concertgoers to donate $2 per ticket to plant a tree with Nature Conservancy’s “Plant a Billion” campaign.
The band also aims to change the model of how musicians tour. Since 2005, the Dave Matthews Band has partnered with Reverb on the BamaGreen Project to lessen the group’s carbon footprint. The plan includes using biodiesel for buses, sourcing local farms for catering, recycling and composting backstage waste, and funding solar and wind energy projects. Catch Dave Matthews Band on tour this year (yes, concerts are coming back!) by purchasing tickets here.
#43: Tom Hanks
It’s a beautiful day in his neighborhood thanks to Tom Hanks’ eco efforts. As an advocate for The Nature Conservancy, Tom Hanks promotes alternative fuels. He drives around in his hybrid Scion XB, which was converted to run on electricity by adding an eBox.
#44: Ben Affleck
Project Greenlight Ben Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative to increase agricultural productivity and improve the lives of small farmers, including coffee and cocoa growers looking to build an ethical supply chain leading to international buyers like Lush Cosmetics.
#45: Meryl Streep
You might say that Meryl Streep is a natural, screen and green-wise. Meryl Streep’s first foray into environmental activism occurred in 1989 when she co-founded the group Mothers and Others for a Liveable Planet. She’d just read an NRDC report about pesticide use on fruits and vegetables—pesticides being particularly dangerous to children’s developing brains. She was worried about her own kids, everyone’s kids, and the farm workers being exposed. The chemical Alar––sprayed on apples––was a suspected carcinogen. Meryl Streep’s “Alar Apple” campaign started with her talking to grocery store owners and handing out informational leaflets in the neighborhood with a few neighbors she’d recruited.
“She connected the dots for people, brought it home, and made it personal,” says Wendy Gordon, who was Meryl Streep’s Mothers and Others partner at the time. Their push accelerated into a national movement that led to a 60 Minutes story and legislation to limit pesticide use that continues today. Meryl Streep hasn’t let up either—motherhood is still a driving force in her activism and she’s now involved in Children’s Environmental Health Network. The group’s mission is to protect the developing child from environmental health hazards and promote a healthier environment.
#46: Channing Tatum
Mr. Jump Street is racing to save medicinal plants. As a board member of PlantMed, Channing Tatum is working to research and preserve the medicinal plant traditions of the Ecuadorian Amazon. He’s protecting the forests, the people, and their knowledge.
Rapper, record producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Akon brings solar power to millions of Africans living without electricity. Akon Lighting Africa operates in 14 African countries. His Solektra Solar Academy teaches locals to engineer, install, and manage their own solar markets and systems using smart grids and solar panels.
#48: Bill Gates
He’s invested $2 billion of his own money into new climate technologies. He started Breakthrough Energy, a multibillion dollar venture capital fund that recruits Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Jack Ma, and others to advance technologies and innovation that aim for zero emissions.
In his new book How to Avoid A Climate Disaster, Bill Gates says “I expect to spend much of my time in 2021 talking with leaders around the world about both climate change and Covid-19.” Given his welcome leadership during the pandemic, we’re eager to see where Bill Gates takes us and how we might extend his efforts.
#49: Daryl Hananh
Daryl Hannah still knows a thing or two about making a splash. She’s the founder of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and is an Instagram activist @dhlovelife. Her house runs on solar power, her car runs on biodiesel, she runs on plants (vegan), and she runs protests with gusto.
She chained herself to a walnut tree to protest the eviction of a large urban farm in South Central Los Angeles. She was arrested in front of the White House in 2011 during a sit-in to protest the proposed Keystone Pipeline running from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast. She produced a documentary on climate change denial called Greedy Lying Bastards. Daryl Hannah knows how to get things done.
#50: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Turns out the Terminator was brought to save humans. Former Governor of CA Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the first program in the country to take a long-term approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He continued in his second term with executive orders and bills to reduce CA’s emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050. Governor Gavin Newsom is keeping things on track, signing an executive order to conserve land and coastal water and has banned new gas vehicles in CA within 15 years to force car companies to focus on electric cars.
#51: David Attenborough
Called “The Great Communicator,” David Attenborough is known for his writing and broadcasting for the BBC Natural History Unit. His nine natural history documentary series form The Life Collection that serve as a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth.
His influence on wildlife filmmaking and its link to activism is immeasurable. Throughout his career, David Attenborough has captured nature’s splendor and defining moments of wonder in his life. Later in his career, he portrays global warming, the urgency of restoring biodiversity, shifting to renewable energy, and reducing meat consumption. He considers David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet his personal witness statement of his life and the future.
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