Celebrities are often chastised for the drama and lavish lifestyles we watch unfold from the grocery store tabloids. However, many celebrities feel responsible for spreading good to those they influence.
As recovery and rebuilding efforts still continue in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, Brad Pitt donated $5 million of his own money to a green building charity called Make It Right. The charity is committed to financing and constructing 150 new houses in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, with a focus on rebuilding communities to be more sustainable and affordable. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have done considerably more such as establishing the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation in 2006 to help assist humanitarian crises around the world.
Much of the world today is wondering, “What is solar energy and how does it work?” But, Woody Harrelson is well-known for his environmentalism, vegan diet, and support in alternative energy sources. He didn’t just wonder about green possibilities, he lives them every day on his working farm in Maui. He helped raise money for the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and supports VoiceYourself, which inspires individuals worldwide to live organically and help restore balance to our planet. Harrelson even travels in a sustainable bus powered by solar panels. “I think really it’s just about individuals making positive choices, buying green cleansers, bringing your cloth bag, buying recycled toilet paper,” he said.
Image via Flickr by gohsucket
Instead of grabbing headlines about trashy affairs and troubled attitudes, Hillary Duff chooses to spend her time in a more sustainable and responsible way. Not only did she donate $200,000 to the Red Cross and $50,000 to USA Harvest to help Katrina victims in New Orleans, but she encouraged her fans to also send money and help out. “I want to do everything I can to help those who have survived to help rebuild their lives,” she said in an interview. She is also an ambassador for Return to Freedom, a sanctuary protecting wild mustangs.
Matt Damon wants to use his influence to help with the water problem in developing countries. “If cameras were going to follow us around, why not make something good out of that?” he said candidly. He chose to combine his co-founded H2O Africa Foundation with Gary White of PaterPartners in 2009 to create Water.org. The organization provides microfinance loans to fund safe water projects which helps reduce unfair water pricing in the area, the 200 million hours spent daily by women collecting water, and the 443 million school days sacrificed by children walking to get water, said White.
In addition, Damon also supports the One Campaign to help fight AIDS and extreme poverty around the world.
If getting the message out is important for the cause, then Leonardo DiCaprio is rocking the boat with his knowledge of how to work a camera. He co-produced, wrote, and narrated the environmental documentary 11th Hour, and helped produce the reality series Eco-Town. His charity website for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) is dedicated to saving wildlife, protecting habitats, and ending poaching. He was designated a UN Messenger of Peace on Climate Change in 2014 and led a massive march for the public in NYC to call for action against climate change.
Not only was Mark Ruffalo there with DiCaprio at the NYC climate change march, but he has been exemplary in ways of his own. He raised $180,000 for Water Defense in 2014 to help fight the controversial hydraulic fracturing method (also known as fracking). He wants to use his influence as The Hulk in a positive way, hoping to send a big green message to his audience if a standalone film is created. He notes, “As artists we have an ability to reach a lot of people in a deep way, and we have a responsibility.”
Most of the public would admit they are happy to see celebrities using their influence and wealth to better the planet, so why not make those actions more viral and more important to help raise awareness and make the world a “greener” place? We promote green actions like those from the stars above and have to applaud them in hopes for more of these efforts around the world.