We know. There’s nothing green about owning a 20,000-square foot house, or flying in a private jet, or stocking a wardrobe the size of a studio apartment. Famous actors indisputably leave a much larger carbon footprint than the average citizen. But their celebrity gives them a far greater ability to influence others, so their efforts toward eco-consciousness can make a difference. Two years ago Grist published a list of green actors. Now we give you an updated version: some younger, fresher faces whose greenness may not be as dark or deep as that of Robert Redford and Ed Begley Jr., but who could be on their way to becoming Hollywood’s next green dream team.
Photo: Hengist Decius
He drives a hybrid, has a solar-powered house in London, works with Global Green U.S.A., and helped launch Global Cool, a campaign to fight climate change and encourage people to take small eco-friendly steps. “I’m very passionate about the environment, he told Elle magazine, going on to say he thinks it’s “terrifying” that the icebergs he witnessed on a Pirates shoot near Antarctica could be gone within a few years.
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A mean girl on the screen, a green girl in real life, McAdams embodies the title of her eco-blog, Green Is Sexy. She declares that “her bike is still her vehicle of choice,” and that she’s “switching her house to green power and developing an OCD for unplugging anything with a plug.” McAdams lives a relatively low-profile life in her native Canada and dreams of one day raising a family on a farm and growing her own food.
The Entourage star has a green-themed renovation TV series, Alter Eco, that follows the eco-makeover of his own home and offers tips for others aiming to green their lifestyles. He drives a Prius, of course, and has been known to tote a sign declaring “green is gold.” In 2008 he was awarded the Blue Sky Award for Environmental Activism at the Vail Film Festival.
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“I cannot not be green,” Watson told a French magazine. “I did my end-of-school project on global warming and Hurricane Katrina. … My car is electric, I recycle, I take public transportation, I try not to buy and drink bottled water. I’m not perfect, but it’s something I feel strongly about.” The interview inspired Greenpeace to ask her to serve as a global ambassador (no word yet on her response). She even donated to the Wild Trout Trust. Witch enviro cause will be next?
Emily and Zooey Deschanel
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These sisters’ greenness only increases their dreaminess. Emily’s been vegan for at least 15 years and is involved with the farm-animal protection group Farm Sanctuary. Zooey appeared in the environmental-disaster-themed but critically panned flick The Happening and helped kick off a national T-shirt recycling program last year. Both sisters regularly participate in the Humane Society’s Genesis Awards. And apparently Emily convinced former Fox Chairman Peter Ligouri to try going vegan. Badass!
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A truly manic organic, Gyllenhaal wears organic Loomstate jeans, buys organic puppy chow, and even hatched plans to open an organic restaurant, though the project appears not to have come to fruition yet. He’s worked with Global Green USA to raise awareness about climate change and launch a Green Schools initiative that promotes energy efficiency and organic gardening in schools. Wonder what he thinks about his sister’s fur flop.
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The vegetarian Heroes star figures as something of an eco-action hero in the new documentary The Cove, about the secret slaughter of 20,000 dolphins a year in a small cove in Japan. She received a “Compassion in Action” award from PETA in 2007 for her work saving the dolphins. A lot of celebrities donate money to worthy causes, but not many don a wetsuit and paddle into dolphin-hunter-infested waters to defend their beliefs.
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It’s hard not to be into Johansson, who helped design T-shirts to benefit the Rainforest Foundation, starred in a PSA encouraging cell phone recycling, and auctioned herself to raise money for Oxfam. Does it count as recycling that a used tissue of hers sold for $5,300 on eBay, with proceeds going to USA Harvest?
Photo: John Mira
A vegan (and vegetarian since childhood), Portman had her own vegan shoe line until the end of last year. She teamed up with Jack Hanna for an Animal Planet documentary about endangered gorillas. Even as a tween she was green, singing backup in a recycling video for World Patrol Kids.
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Besides auctioning herself as a lunch date to benefit farm-animal protection group Farm Sanctuary, and being named a Sexiest Vegetarian by PETA, Bell starred in this almost-too-cute-to-be-true GAP ad encouraging people to vote on behalf of “those who can’t talk and those who can’t write” (birds, bees, flowers, trees, icebergs, seas, etc.). We won’t be forgetting her anytime soon.
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She did a spot for The CW’s “Free 2 Be Green” campaign with Gossip Girl co-stars Leighton Meester and Penn Badgley on simple energy conservation (like snuggling up to your hot co-stars instead of turning up the thermostat). Tries to buy “green everything” at the grocery store and apparently helped convince the Gossip Girl crew to favor reusable mugs and cut down on bottled water.
Photo: Volker Neumann
Though he’s earned critical acclaim for his acting in recent years, Mos Def is more famous for his musical career, and that’s also where his green sympathies shine through. Last fall he headlined the Living Word Festival in Oakland, an event with an “eco-equity” theme that included bamboo-building activities and a green-themed graffiti battle in addition to musical performances, and he tackled water issues in his 1999 tune “New World Water.”
Photo: Mark O’Donald
Okay, don’t judge. Even though she loves country fried steak too much to be a vegetarian, Cyrus gets serious props for trading in her Porsche SUV for a hybrid, finding good homes for the chickens featured in Hannah Montana: The Movie (for which PETA gave her a Compassionate Citizen Award), recording a global warming song for her latest album, and being one of the faces of Disney’s new Friends for Change environmental campaign. She may be jailbait, but she’s probably the most influential person on this list.
Photo: Mark Sebastian
Although she’s had some transgressions over the years — like allegedly taking a private jet to Obama’s inauguration — Alba deserves cred for the green nursery she built for daughter Honor Marie. In fact, her whole home is pretty green, outfitted with used furniture and accessories, non-toxic paint, and a saltwater pool. She shops at the farmers market, drives a Prius, bikes around Paris, bakes vegan cupcakes for her kid, and lends her support to a ton of worthy causes, like Johnson’s Clean Water Initiative. And did we mention she chose an all-natural hypnobirth?
He’s been lost on a jungle island, and in Middle Earth, for years, so it’s no surprise that he has some respect for the planet. Monaghan filmed a spot for PETA and even bought a forest in India to save it from destruction.
Thank God for Disney Channel child stars. Without Gomez and Kermit the Frog’s PSA, how would today’s tweens have known that half the world’s frogs are endangered? Gomez sets an example for her impressionable fans by rocking T-shirts with enviro messages, taking out her family’s recycling bin, and shopping at the farmers market. For paparazzi eagerly awaiting a who’s-greener cat fight between Gomez and Cyrus, the opposite seems to be coming true: the starlets have teamed up with Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers in Send it On, a cheesy (but hopefully inspirational?) protect-the-planet pop song for Disney’s Friends for Change campaign.
Another vegan, Phoenix doesn’t walk the line when it comes to environmentalism. He got attention for narrating the brutal 2005 documentary Earthlings, which Ellen DeGeneres says inspired her to go vegan. In addition to being a PETA member, he supports the environmental education organization HEART (and his sister has an eco-friendly building supply store in Florida).