As the adage says: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Being a public figure puts a spotlight on the lifestyle one leads, therefore it is inspiring that several notable members of the entertainment community use their stature to advocate for the well-being of our planet. However do all Hollywood celebrities who support environmental causes, truly walk their talk?
The most prominent eco-warrior in Tinsel Town is undoubtably Leonardo DiCaprio. One loses count of the innumerable initiatives he has promoted for the cause. From his production company Appian Way Productions, that supports films focusing on progressive environmental change, to his choice of electric cars and Green Delos sustainable property in New York, along with the project of developing an eco-resort in Belize. DiCaprio has further teamed up with the likes of Jane Goodall and Greta Thunberg and during his acceptance speech of the Academy Award, in 2016, the actor expressed his concern for a more sustainable planet by saying: “Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.” And yet, he has been seen flying on private jets, helicopters and renting mega yachts, that definitely do not help the cause. Furthermore, Leo has never made an adamant statement on his diet, that to be in line what he preaches, should be vegan.
But he is not the only one. Sir David Attenborough who — over sixty years of broadcasts on natural history — is the quintessence of celebrating the beauties of Mother Earth, admitted to “middle-class hypocrisy” for occasionally eating free-range chicken while urging others to give up meat.
Unfortunately amongst those who trumpet about the stewardship of the land, but do not abide by common practices to respect it, there seems to be non other than Robert Redford. He has been a pioneering environmental activist in Hollywood, since the Seventies. The Oscar winner has been a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council since 1972. He even pledged more than 5,000 acres of his land holdings in Sundance, Utah, (where he founded the famous film festival), to be protected from development. However, on one side Redford would encourage people to limit their flying and oil use, and on the other side he would accept to narrate commercials for United Airlines claiming that “it’s time to fly.”
Along these lines, James Cameron and Suzy Amis Cameron have always advocated for carbon reductions. But this hasn’t stopped them from owning a helicopter, a Chevrolet Corvette, a Ford GT, a collection of dirt bikes, a yacht, a Humvee fire truck, and even a fleet of submarines. Another celebrity fond of the planet as much as of his collection of polluting luxury vehicles is Pharrell Williams. He became co-owner of the Dutch denim brand G-Star Raw in 2016 and shared his vision to promote the company’s sustainability-focused line, Raw For The Oceans. But his attention on diminishing the use of plastics seems to have distracted him from reducing his use of carbon emissions with his Rolls-Royce and Ferrari.
Also the ladies in the entertainment industry present some eco-inconsistencies, despite their good intentions. For instance, Dame Emma Thompson, who has been heiling and marching for ecological justice, was put under scrutiny by tabloids like The Sun, that accused her of hypocrisy after jetting 5,400-miles to take part in London’s eco-protest.
There would be more to criticise, amongst the Hollywood climate change activists who don’t practice what they preach.
On the other hand, there are actors who seem to stick to the specificity of the eco-cause they embrace, like Emma Watson who is the testimonial of sustainable fashion. The British Harry Potter actress, has been dedicated to this issue for quite a while. In 2011 she collaborated with Alberta Ferretti to create an environmentally friendly capsule collection called Pure Threads. She later partnered with environmentally friendly brand People Tree on a series of more casual sustainable clothing. Watson is one of Eco Age’s strongest testimonials, as attested when she created an Instagram account specifically for her Beauty and The Beast press tour where she promoted looks from her ethical wardrobe.
As regards dietary restrictions, some of the most exemplary vegan celebrities include Natalie Portman, Sir Paul McCartney (who started as a vegetarian over 45 years ago) and the cruelty-free Hollywood power couple composed by Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara.
The truth is that to be 100% sustainable is an incommensurable challenge to fulfill. Personally, I’ve always advocated for a more sustainable world, but have been quite hypocritical in my eating and traveling habits. But the redundancy with which certain members of showbiz fabricate an image of eco-champions, that does not correspond to their true lifestyles, comes across as a mere attempt to greenwash Hollywood.