Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Heart of Green Awards: celebrities who actually made a difference are recognized

The environmental website, The Daily Green, is preparing for a reader's vote to select the "Greenest Celebrities of the Year." The nominated candidates for the website's Heart of Green Award are Kevin Costner, Michelle Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jay Leno (there's room for your favorite write-in candidate, too).

Now to some diehard conservationists, this might seem like pretty inconsequential fluff; just a hey-atta-boy for some celebrity who wants to look like a moral, upstanding treehugger. But there's a lot more to it than that. Sure, there are some tag-along celebrities who just want to be perceived as environmentally noble, but not the folks listed here. These are people who put in the time and effort, know what they are talking about, and are prepared to either leverage their celebrity status or financial resources to get things accomplished.

Here are the green bios listed in The Daily Green for Kevin Costner, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Sigourney Weaver. All three have been involved in ocean and other conservation issues. I'd be hard pressed to make a choice between these three, let alone all six of the nominees.

Kevin Costner
While many celebs spoke out against the Gulf oil spill, Kevin Costner took direct action through an innovative, science-based startup he co-founded, Ocean Therapy Solutions. Costner had spent the last 15 years supporting research on centrifuge systems to more safely and effectively remove oil from water. Tests have been promising, and BP ordered 32 of the devices for the Gulf. Costner also testified before Congress, not just as a concerned actor, but as an expert in marine cleanups.

Leonardo DiCaprio
Long one of the most committed environmentalists in Hollywood, superstar actor Leonardo DiCaprio made waves in 2010, the Year of the Tiger, by teaming up with the World Wildlife Fund on the Save Tigers Now campaign. Working on financial, political and educational fronts, the project hopes to double the number of tigers in the wild, to 6,400, by 2022, the next time the iconic animal comes around the Chinese zodiac.

Sigourney Weaver
A lifetime lover of the sea, actress Sigourney Weaver has become a spokesperson for marine conservation and for NRDC, particularly on the little-known yet critically important issue of ocean acidification. Weaver has also followed up her role in the smash hit Avatar by joining James Cameron in the fight for justice for the Earth's indigenous peoples, and to protect the last remaining untouched forests. The Planet Earth series Weaver narrates brings critical environmental issues into an unprecedented number of homes.

Anyone who is committed to preserving this planet has a role to play, whether a scientist, a politician, a celebrity, or just an everyday Joe. We preserve our natural resources by doing the best we can with our own personal resources - and in so doing, we all make a difference. We all become stars in our own right.

Read about all of the nominees and vote for your favorite at The Daily Green.

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