“I kind of thought that eco-friendly clothes meant misshapen hemp sweaters — you know, from like 1992 or something.” – actress Maggie Gyllenhaal
I stopped by the “Bank of America Goes Green” reception on Monday, where they ended up not talking too much about green issues after all, what with the hurricane as the more pressing issue of the moment. But actress Rachael Leigh Cook (of She’s All That fame) was in attendance on behalf of the Creative Coalition, a nonprofit through which famous people encourage social responsibility. I asked her what individuals and the next president should do about environmental concerns. She does some shilling for Bank of America, but also disses the pro-drilling crowd:
Actress and eco-activist Daryl Hannah is in Denver this week, where she’s promoting environmental awareness among delegates and other attendees. I ran into her accidentally while parking my bike, and was able to grab a few minutes to talk about why she’s in town and what she wants from our political leaders:
Fresh from an overwhelming primary victory in Nebraska's U.S. Senate race, 32-year-old rancher, Yale Ph.D., and college history teacher Scott Kleeb spoke with me on the phone about his "brand of change" for a clean energy economy and the environment. Kleeb shocked the political establishment in 2006 by getting 45 percent of the vote in Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District, one of the most Republican districts in the country. Then, as now, he ran as a clear progressive on most economic and environmental issues (while staying coy on some contentious social issues). One of Kleeb's core concerns has been meeting the challenge of the climate crisis through a clean energy revolution on the prairie and through aggressive use of domestic and international forest and farm carbon credits. Through it all, Kleeb has been aided by a huge renewable resource of his own: megawatt good looks that won him "The Hot Rancher" award from Young Voter PAC. Now Kleeb is hoping his unique combination of deep Nebraska roots, Ivy League cred, and movie star charm will help him overcome his opponent: President Bush's former agriculture secretary (and former Nebraska governor) Mike Johanns, who's based his career on support for Big Ag, free trade, and fossil fuels. Q. Where do you see Nebraska's economic future, and what role do you think clean energy will play in it? A. We've got to transform the way we produce and consume energy. There's a failure of leadership we've seen at all levels of government. We've got to figure out how to do more with less. That's true of our elected officials and true of ourselves as individuals. This is a generations-long process. We are on the cusp of it right now. Biofuels and wind energy and solar energy and algae-based energy is just the tip of the iceberg. Nebraska's economy is going to be transformed by that revolution. Farmers will find new ways of feeding or, once we get to cellulosic ethanol, fueling the world. Q. Recent studies have suggested that devoting American land to growing biofuels instead of food is causing massive deforestation in carbon-rich tropical forests. How can switchgrass and cellulosic ethanol be viable if it's just causing food to be grown in these highly sensitive ecosystems thousands of miles away?
Photo: PBS Not that I’m f*cking (in love with) Matt Damon and would use even vaguely green news as an excuse to write about him — what would give you that idea? — but the Bourne star was spotted earlier this week taking a Tesla prototype for a spin. Autofiends.com chatted him up about how fast it accelerates; it took the writer minutes to notice that the guy he was talking to was Damon (!). Ecorazzi reported in August that Damon added his name to a waiting list for the electric sports car. Further proof Matty loves the earth? He …
Van Jones. What does the green jobs and justice community think about the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act? To get one perspective, Grist caught up with Van Jones, the founder of Green For All, a group that promotes green-jobs policies and environmental justice. Jones, a civil-rights lawyer and the founder and former executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, has become a leading voice for building a green economy. Green for All pushes for federal action to build an inclusive green economy. Would Lieberman-Warner do that? Lieberman-Warner is a good step in the right direction. I think most …
A new online film series called This Brave Nation premiered its first episode Sunday night: a conversation between Carl Pope and Van Jones. Both are natives of Frisco and both are equally adamant about environmental stewardship, but they have vastly different approaches. Here they chat about melding those tactics towards a common goal. Later this month, on June 15, Pete Seeger and Majora Carter discuss environmentalism, protest music, civil rights, and urban renewal. Should be interesting.