Environmentalism is cool, and celebrities know it. It’s easy enough to claim to be vegetarian and talk about wind power, but who are some of the key figures who actually walk the walk and make a difference?
1) Elon Musk
After making his fortune with Paypal in the late 90s, South African-born billionaire Elon Musk turned his attentions to bigger things – namely space exploration and clean energy. He founded private space transport company SpaceX in 2002, developing launch vehicles and spacecrafts designed to transport cargo to the International Space Station. In 2003 Musk co-founded Tesla Motors, specialising in electric cars such as the Tesla Roadster, the first highway-capable all-electric vehicle in production in the US. Musk’s charity, the Musk Foundation, focuses on science education and clean energy and Musk himself is actively involved in promoting renewable energy technologies.
2) Leonardo DiCaprio
Oscar-nominated superstar Leonardo DiCaprio has a few tricks up his sleeve other than acting – he is also a committed environmentalist. He owns a Tesla Roadster, flies commercial instead of private, and installed solar panels on his house. DiCaprio combined his two passions in 2007 with the documentary film 11th Hour, which he created, produced and narrated. The film stresses the need for everyone to get involved and the dramatic impact industrialisation is having on biodiversity.
3) Al Gore
One of the giants of environmental activism, former Vice-President of the US Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. He is the founder of environmental organisations such as the Alliance for Climate Protection committed to providing solutions to the climate crisis. His award-winning book ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ features a wide range of experts on global warming and was the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary of the same name. He also helped found Live Earth, a series of concerts dedicated to increasing environmental awareness.
4) Captain Planet
The mid-90s were the environmental domain of the animated Captain Planet. When the Planeteers, assembled by Gaia to defend the world from pollution and criminals combined their powers, they summoned the elemental superhero Captain Planet. Dedicated to injustice and saving the world, the TV show was created by environmentalist Barbara Pyle to teach kids about the importance of going green.
5) James Cameron
Movie director James Cameron isn’t all about science fiction – he is also a committed environmentalist and took a ten-year break after filming Titanic to work on deep sea exploration. He spent the time making underwater documentaries and developing underwater filming technology. His 2009 film Avatar became the highest-grossing film of all time and portrayed Cameron’s environmentalism through the story of man’s effect on nature. The eco-themed movie cemented his reputation as an avid environmentalist and the director has campaigned to help indigenous Amazonian tribes. He has joined the fight to stop the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, which is threatening the life of the rainforest.
6) James Lovelock
Famous for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, James Lovelock is an environmentalist who states the biosphere can self-regulate, keeping the chemical and physical environment in balance and the planet healthy. Lovelock has written books and articles on this as well as as his concern about global warming and his advocation of nuclear power. His sometimes controversial, always passionate opinions make him one of the forefront environmentalists of our time.
Terry is big on green. Somewhat ironic perhaps that he works within the air conditioning maintenance industry, Terry is a strong advocate of improving air conditioning technology to help reduce energy wastage. He recycles as frequently as he can and champions paperless communication. He has a dog named Beefy.