Here’s the dilemma . . .
International celebrities have huge media profiles, armies of fans, important connections and incredible potential to do high-profile good in the world. Their pet-causes, charities and foundations receive great attention, and raise awareness for millions across the globe.
On the other hand they tend to have carbon-heavy lifestyles, own great private wealth – the jets, the cars, the mansions, all too often end-up promoting products with dubious environmental credentials, and aren’t everyone’s idea of what an environmental or social justice advocate should look like.
There seem to be plenty of voices criticising celebrities who adopt good causes, but personally I’m inclined to give them a break. In many respects they’re just the same as everyone else – trying to do the right thing, but struggling to live their daily life. Does the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio flies a zillion miles a year make him any more of a hypocrite than you or me driving to work ?
I think those of us trying to make a positive difference in the world should take all the help we can get . . .
1 – Leonardo DiCaprio
Leo is often described as a committed environmentalist – creating and producing the documentary 11th Hour in 2007, and more recently has been involved with the Greensburg Eco-Town project, to rebuild a Kansas town destroyed by a tornado, as a ecologically and economically sustainable town.
2 – Cameron Diaz
Cameron was a member of the Pangea Day advisory board, an organisation that aims to use film as a way of helping to bring people together to create a positive global future. She’s also worked with the food education organisation Nourish, and made the film Cameron Diaz Saves the World about our use of natural resources.
3 – Matt Damon
Matt has been involved in a huge range of humanitarian and environmental concerns, including founding H2O Africa and the Not On Our Watch organisation, which aims to focus media attention on global atrocities and genocides. He is a spokesperson for the foodbank organisation Feeding America and also produced the films The People Speak for historian Howard Zinn, and Running the Sahara.
4 – Robert Redford
Robert has a long history of humanitarian and environmental campaigning, including Native American rights, ecology and was vocal against global warming as long ago as 1989. He is a trustee of the National Resources Defence Council and runs The Green series of programmes.
5 – Brad Pitt
Brad has a longstanding interest in architecture, and after hurricane Katrina devastated much of New Orleans, helped set-up the organisation Make It Right 9, to rebuild part of the city with green homes, for which he won an award from the US Green Building Council. He also works with the ONE Foundation, and narrated the excellent E-Squared green design series.
Photo by JumpyJodes, via Flickr