Early Pictures of Today’s Celebrity Environmentalists

Leonardo DiCaprio

The ultimate dog-lover…

Now focuses on engaging the public on environmental protection campaigns and raising awareness regarding climate change.

He used his acceptance speech at the Oscars to highlight the importance of acting now.

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has granted over $80 million dollars to conservation and indigenous rights organisations.

In his role as United Nations climate change campaigner, DiCaprio speaks regularly about the importance of changing short-term thinking in day-to-day unsustainable lifestyles and adopting renewable energy rather than depending on fossil fuels.

Speaking with President Barack Obama on the topic of climate change…

As a young man, DiCaprio tells us that he used to have a print of the late 15th century oil painting ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ hanging above his bed, which instilled him with the respect for Nature he now encourages among the public.

He did look so at home in that scene from Romeo and Juliet

But that was…

DiCaprio’s powerful documentary on climate change Before The Flood is out now.

Judi Dench

Yup, ↑ that is Dame Judi, frolicking in all her glory among the leaves on the set of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as woodland Titania.

These are the behind-the-scenes shots of her filming Sir Paul Hall’s 1968 version of Shakespeare’s famous play alongside co-stars Helen Mirren and Diana Rigg.

As Titania, the Queen of the Fairies, Dame Judi wore an undergarment of ivy leaves as lingerie.

It was shot in a bohemian almost pagan flair in the fairy tale grounds of the 18th-century country mansion Compton Verney in Warwickshire.

The setting seems perfect for Dame Judi.

Her recent documentary Judi Dench: My Passion For Trees with the BBC has revealed her 30-year commitment and love of trees and Britain’s woodlands.

She describes how she has let her garden return to woodland in Surrey and plants saplings to commemorate loved ones who have died.

One of the documentary’s most interesting discoveries is the ‘wood-wide web’ – that trees have a ‘language’ to communicate with each other and that they share a sort of tree ‘community’ by helping and nurturing each other.

I would also recommend the book A Secret Life of Trees by Colin Tudge if you would like to read more about this.

Hoorah!

Mark Ruffalo

So.. you may think that this is just a tenuous connection to give us all an opportunity to see this gentleman in a wet shirt, which, to be honest – it kind of is –

But Mark Ruffalo is also a clean water quality advocate for his non-profit foundation Water Defense, which fights the use of fracking on the grounds of environmental destruction, water contamination and the knock-on effects this has on human health.

He remembers…

You can read more about some of Lake Michigan’s findings following the PCB explosion here.

As founder of clean water non-profit Water Defense, Mark often speaks alongside Leonardo DiCaprio to raise public awareness about climate change.

And has campaigned for many years in public marches against fracking.

Spotted getting hands-on at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and in the creeks near his home,

Mark is also a committed gardener and naturalist, having moved his family to a 50-acre country hideaway in the Catskill Mountains, Sullivan County, upstate New York.

In a Nowness interview, he says the move:

“It’s the best thing I could have done for the family… for the kids in particular… We’re letting them grow a little wild and we step in when it’s essential… There’s a lot of quiet in the country and there’s a lot of quietness in my children.”

A self-styled ‘accidental environmentalist’, I’ve always really enjoyed watching him in interviews and I like him even more now!

I’ll just leave you with a couple of early headshots –

That’s enough now.

 

Jane Fonda

So I don’t know if it’s because she seems to have filmed in every beautiful location possible-

Along the Côte d’Azur –

With all of her most-loved animals in tow…

…but Mother Nature has blessed Jane Fonda with the elixir of good looks and a lifelong commitment to activism.

She is one individual who has done a lot to raise awareness throughout her lifetime on social and environmental issues.

These include; racism, climate change, the pollution of indigenous people’s land in the States due to oil pipelines, and violence, particularly combatting violence against women.

The actress first caused controversy on the political scene in 1970 when she started a nationwide speaking tour about the Vietnam War and, in particular, about the Winter Soldier Investigation (WSI) that she was organizing together with Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

On her way back from another anti-war rally in Canada that year, Fonda was arrested at the airport in Cleveland and taken to prison on charges of drug-smuggling.

Although Fonda told the police the pills in her luggage were vitamins, she remembers, “they said they were getting orders from the White House…I think they hoped this “scandal” would cause the college speeches to be cancelled and ruin my respectability.”

Her time in Cleveland on these jumped-up charges which seemed to piggyback suspiciously off her involvement in the anti-war rallies earned her a smart new headshot to match which has since become pretty iconic:

You can hear Fona speaking out against the Vietnam War at an anti-war rally at the Universty of California in May 1972 here.

Today, Fonda is active in a number of different causes and has been honoured by the Environmental Media Association recently with the EMA Lifetime Achievement award.

The Environmental Media Association (EMA) is a nonprofit organisation of ‘entertainment industry tastemakers, entrepreneurs in finance and technology, and green icons dedicated to the mission of promoting environmental progress’. They give a platform to those using their public persona and influence in the spotlight for campaign work, social media messaging, and events regarding climate change and protecting the environment.

The HBO documentary ‘Jane Fonda in Five Acts’ (2018) is “a look at the life, work, activism and controversies of actress and fitness tycoon, Jane Fonda” and her book is here.

The ultimate question… will I achieve this much by the time I’m 80?

Here’s hoping!

Yoko Ono

Perhaps best known for her highly publicised relationships with John Lennon, Yoko Ono has long been an empowering and outspoken artist and activist in her own right.

Since her home- which she shares with her son Sean Lennon –  came under attack from hydraulic fracking companies in upstate New York looking to extract gas, Yoko Ono has joined forces with a number of leading celebrities and artists, founding her response to this move – her anti-fracking organisation ‘Artists Against Fracking’.

Look who popped up again! Mark Ruffalo is just one of a number of celebrities who are active in the organisation and speak regularly at public events against its dangers.

They even clubbed together and created an advert against fracking, which you can watch here.

Yoko Ono and her son Sean appear on news channels and at international events outside of New York state where their home is located.

Staying true to those activist-artist roots that she has become so admired for.

It’s refreshing to see celebrities who have stayed true to their art and speak out about their beliefs…

In spite of the sadness that befell them.

Pierce Brosnan

Dubbed ‘the environmental James Bond’ by the Fim Industry Network, Pierce Brosnan, along with his wife Keely Brosnan, has been active in the world of environmentalism for many years.

Their most memorable campaigns to date include conservation efforts to protect the whale, which is even more under threat today than it was in the 1970s when their population decline provoked public outcry in America, with a giant whale called Flo being flown above the White House:

Pierce Brosnan and wife Keely also lead protests against the development of a natural gas facility off the coast of Malibu in California where he and his wife have their home.

If you visit his website, check out the film he is promoting called ‘Poisoning Paradise’, which highlights the unethical and dangerous practice of governments testing pesticides on the island of Hawaii.

David Attenborough

Few people in history can be said to have done more than David Attenborough for engaging people in learning about wildlife, oceans, and the natural world,

…as well as inspiring others to care for it through the sheer scale and beauty of his work.

In 1954, David Attenborough was granted the opportunity to travel the world and collect animals for London Zoo, an expedition that would begin his career –

He filmed his journeys and returned home with material from Guyana, Indonesia and Paraguay.

This was the basis for his famous Zoo Quest series –

You can watch a clip of this here: 

The written account of this journey, ‘Adventures of a Young Naturalist’ can be found here. It is next on my reading list!

Will & Jaden Smith

Two of my favourite smiles – Will Smith and his son Jaden – have launched their own ethically-sourced water company.

JUST WATER was born out of a 10-year-old Jaden Smith’s surfing trip when he became discomfited by all the plastic bottles he saw floating in the ocean.

“It’s important for everyone to know that you can make a difference… After seeing the amount of ocean pollution and the effect it was having on marine wildlife, I couldn’t stand there and do nothing about it – I knew I had to take action.” Jaden Smith 

The company makes its bottles from plant-based plastics and paper – the cap is made from sugarcane – and the entire bottle is 100% recyclable. The result is 74% less harmful emissions than standard plastic bottles.

Recently, JUST WATER has lived up to Jaden Smith’s mission for the company to be one of positive social and environmental change – by donating over 9,200 bottles so far to the town of Flint in Michigan, where the water crisis has been raging since 2014.

Flint is a town where their water has been poisoned by poor governance and corporations putting lead into the water sources, which makes it undrinkable.

Jaden’s mother, Jada Smith, has become particularly involved in the cause, visiting Flint and meeting with the mayor. “Flint is very dear to her heart,” JUST WATER said in a press statement. “After reading more about Flint’s challenges and the mayor objecting to pulling bottled water from the schools, we thought, let’s help these kids.”

JUST WATER has aims to make classroom furniture from recycled water bottles and, on a wider scale, to play a part in reducing plastic and carbon dioxide emissions globally.

And it’s not only Flint the Smith’s are helping. In the town of Glen Falls where JUST WATER has its headquarters, they were determined that the company would use its investment and public awareness to aid community growth and regeneration.

They bought a disused church from the Salvation Army and refurbished it as their laboratory so that they could put it back on the city’s tax rolls. You can watch their story here:

“For a company like JUST to come to town and partner with us means a lot to the community. It drives much needed investment and ongoing revenue while remaining responsible with our local, natural resources.” Jack Diamond, Glen Falls Mayor 

With this holistic approach to their eco-friendly company, the Smiths have got this whole idea of social enterprise down to a tee.

I’m just excited to see what they will do next.

And that’s what we need.

In Love&Light FS XOX

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