Celebrities leading the way for the planet

Not just a pretty face, the following celebrities live a double life as activists for environmental causes

As wealthy individuals with influence in the media and the clout to woo potential investment partners, planet-loving celebrities are perfectly positioned to put their fame at the service of the greener good.

While some are content with eating veggie-burgers, getting solar panels or painting their private jets green, certain celebrities have made a considerable contribution to sustainable projects, including putting their weight behind positive impact foundations, making important donations and supporting awareness movements.

The following stars – which we usually recognize in leading roles – are in fact convinced supporters of the importance of finding solutions to preserving our planet. Hubxygen takes a look at green-minded stars, ranging from celebrities having earned globally recognition as activists in their own right, to others that faced challenges in their sustainable quests, to up-and-coming start-up investors.

Leonardo Dicaprio

No surprises, the unchallenged leader of the green list is mega-A list movie star, Leonardo Dicaprio.

The Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation, established in 1998, aims to protect the Earth’s last wild places by working on pressing environmental issues through fund-raising, campaigning, and media projects. Dicaprio produced the documentary film, “The 11th Hour”, about the environmental emergency currently faced by our planet, featuring input from scientists, politicians, and environmental activists.

Dicaprio currently serves on several boards, including WWF, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Natural Resources Defense Council and Green Global USA.

On the third edition of the Global Tiger Summit, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has awarded a $3 million grant to WWF for an inspiring initiative aiming to support Nepal’s doubling of wild tiger population by 2022.

Daryl Hannah

Better known as a psychopathic nurse in Tarantino’s Kill Bill, Daryl Hannah is a nature-lover and founder of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, to support and encourage sustainable production and use of the renewable fuel biodiesel.

She sits on several boards including the Environmental Media Association (EMA), Mission Blue (campaigning for global support of protected marine areas).

I wish you would use all means at your disposal to create a campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas; Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the blue heart of the planet.

Dr Silvia Earle, Mission Blue

As an activist, Hannah has even protested against the Keystone XL pipeline.

Mark Ruffalo

Everyone's favorite super-hero, the Hulk actor is in fact a real-life hero as an environmental anti-fracking activist, pipelines protestor, campaigner for the Green New Deal for systemic change.

"We need finance reform so that our politicians aren’t so beholden to people who finance their candidacies, which makes them beholden to whomever is giving them money. Corporations cannot be allowed to pollute the scientific debate with their bogus science and doubt."

In the context of his work with the Environmental Working Group, he was invited to testify before the House Science Committee to speak against the contamination of drinking water in the US.

Mark Ruffalo with lawyer and dedicated environmental crusader Rob Bilott

Ruffalo continues to support corporate lawyer Rob Bilott (who Ruffalo interprets in the 2020 movie Dark Waters), who spent 20 years battling DuPont, the manufacturer of Teflon. In a decades-long legal siege of one of America’s most powerful corporations, Bilott pursued a class action suit representing around 70,000 people living near a chemical plant that allegedly contaminated drinking water with toxic chemical PFOA.

Brad Pitt

Pitt founded and gave $5 million to Make It Right, a charity committed to financing and constructing new houses (between 100 and 150 constructions) in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward with an emphasis on both affordability and sustainability.

Using his influence as an international star, Pitt has raised awareness for green housing and met with politicians to discuss green housing reforms. Unfortunately, contracting issues with suppliers led to the housing failing to live up to the promise of good-quality housing; with Pitt’s lawyers arguing in 2018 that he can’t be held personally responsible for the buildings’ construction, the legal battle continues.

Cate Blanchett

As artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company, Aussie actress Cate Blanchett oversaw the installation of solar panels on The Warf theatre in 2010. She also led the theater’s installation of one of the world’s largest rainwater collection systems.

Recently, Prince William invited Blanchett to sit on the judging panel of Earthshot Prize, a 50 million pound start-up support scheme by the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge Foundation.

Ashton Kutcher

Actor Ashton Kutcher founded in 2010 a venture capital firm A-Grade Investments, alongside entertainment manager Guy Oseary.

Actor / Investor Ashton Kutcher with wife Mila Kunis

Since 2014, Ashton Kutcher’s co-run A-Grade investments include SmartThings, belonging to “connected devices”, including automation software and an associated array of client applications and cloud platforms for smart homes.

While on the scale of all things green, smart homes do not score highly due to their unnecessary consumption of energy, SmartThings is an exception. SmartThings was initially founded by CEO Alex Hawkinson following suffered serious water damage suffered at his family home and his realization that connected homes could be an essential energy-saving, accident-preventing tool.

Although Ashton Kutcher’s fund has tended to invest in consumer-focused products, his tech focus is a promising preliminary to sustainable tech start-ups on A-Grade's future investment horizon.

Prince William

Under a modest exterior, a £50 million promise. England’s heir Prince William’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge foundation presented in 2020 the Earthshot Prize, centred around five ‘Earthshots’ – goals for our planet including protecting nature, cleaning our air, protecting oceans, making us waste-free and fixing our climate.

"Each Earthshot is underpinned by scientifically agreed targets including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally recognised measures to help repair our planet."

With a jury representing a variety of professional backgrounds including Queen Rania Al Abdullah, basketball giant Yao Ming, AliBaba founder Jack Ma, Latino pop queen Shakira, ex-UN representative Christiana Figueres and actress Cate Blanchett, the Earthshots promise to award each year 5 prizes of £1 million to support the most promising start-ups in each of the proposed Earthshot goals.

Source: Earthshot, Sierra Club