Going green: if celebs can do it, so can we

It is that time of year again at Westminster, and along with Lovett, Pace, Woodward, Holy Innocents, Holy Spirit, Marist, and many other schools nationwide, we are fresh out of the gate of the Green Cup Challenge. The “green” movement has been spreading across America for a while now, and every year we make new developments in eco-friendly technologies. Of course, often times, these new tools are extremely expensive, and average Americans cannot afford to implement them in their daily lives. But, do you know who can? Celebrities.
Like the hybrid car endorsements from Paris Hilton and Cameron Diaz, many celebrities are taking action by using as much green technology as they can. Diaz herself had a TV show in 2005 that sprung from her position with the Environmental Media Association, or EMA, an organization that uses the social power of celebrities to further public knowledge of eco-tech and to inspire common people to do what they can for the environment. The show, which aired on MTV, was called Trippin’ and took viewers around the world to endangered ecosystems and underprivileged areas. Diaz usually took fellow celebrities with her on these trips, with co-travellers including Drew Barrymore, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Alba.
But 2005 was a long time ago. It’s 2012, people! A lot has happened since Trippin’ aired, such as the oil spill in the Gulf and the nuclear reactor disaster in Fukushima last year. An increasing number of celebrities each year are hopping on the green wagon, moving the public eye toward the environmental issues that we face as a nation and as a planet, while showing the changes we can make to help out. Orlando Bloom constructed a house that was “as green as [he could] make it” in 2007. It employed solar panels, eco-friendly light bulbs, and other green technologies. Word quickly spread about this eco-mansion, causing celebrities and commoners alike to start thinking green.
Other heartthrob, Brad Pitt, has also taken environmental action. Not only did he start the Make It Right program in 2007 to help rebuild homes that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but he, along with the CEO of Make It Right, Tom Darden, and the president of the U.S. Green Building Council, S. Richard Fedrizzi, also made many of these new homes LEED-certified and still affordable. Through this project, families who had been displaced by Katrina, along with the environment, received some much-needed attention.
More recently, actress and mother Jessica Alba has launched a website called The Honest Company, which will deliver environmentally friendly diapers and other products to households that order them. Alba has been an advocate of using safe chemicals in household products for years, publicly supporting the Safe Chemicals Act. Her green streak began to show after the birth of her daughter, Honor Marie Warren, in 2008. After having son Haven Garner last August, Alba revamped her efforts to change the world of domestic products. The Honest Company began when the star realized that not everyone could spend the amount of time that she had taken researching healthy and eco-friendly chemicals and products. She thought to streamline the process for everyone else, providing a service that cut out the hours of research and presented families with healthy products such as mineral sunscreen, plant-based diapers and laundry detergent that comes in biodegradable packaging, all at cheaper prices than most eco-friendly brands. The products, which can be bought in bundles, such as the “Family Essentials Bundle,” are delivered monthly so that parents don’t have to reorder when they run out. Go to www.honest.com to check out the products.

Other actors have come out with eco-friendly products, including Matt Damon, star of the infamous Bourne Trilogy and co-founder of Water.org, a non-profit organization that fights for water sanitation in third-world countries. Damon has partnered with CamelBak to launch a limited-edition eco-friendly water bottle. With each purchase of one of these BPA-free water bottles, $10 will go Water.org. These bottles “keep great-tasting filtered water always within your reach,” and come in either stainless steel or plastic. To purchase, visit www.water.org.

Star power has been used for a lot of things, promoting everything from fashions to certain…shall we say, beverages. But celebrities are finally realizing a new way to use their social sway by choosing actions that benefit the environment. However, you don’t have to be a celebrity to inspire others. Every time you make the choice to carpool, recycle, or turn off a light, you are showing your peers that they can make a difference, too. We are responsible for our planet, and it is time that we start acting like it. The Green Cup Challenge ends Feb. 17, so let’s get on it! Go Cats!