These celebrities aren't just great actors - they walk the walk as true environmentalists.
By Julie Gerstein
Brad PittOh Brad Pitt, where do we even start? One of the biggest actors in Hollywood, Pitt’s starred in more than 40 films, and as one half of Brangelina, is a constant tabloid fixture. Plus, he’s one of the sexiest men alive, or so we hear.
His Eco Achievements: Pitt committed himself to helping rebuild New Orleans in the wake of devastating Hurricane Katrina. His Make It Right Foundationis building 150 houses in the decimated 9th Ward using green technology and materials. In March 2009, Pitt met with President Obama to discuss federally funding green housing projects.
Did You Know: Pitt is the voice of PBS’s e2 series on environmentally sound design.
Pictured: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., actor Brad Pitt and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., during a news conference before their meeting on 'Make it Right,' a project begun in 2007 to construct affordable and environmentally sustainable housing for low-income residents whose homes were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans.
Photo Credit: Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images
Cameron DiazQuintessential California girl Cameron Diaz rose to fame as Mary in Something About Mary, and made countless blockbuster films, including Gangs of New York, Being John Malkovich and most recently, the Shrekanimated series.
Her Eco Achievements: Diaz was one of the first celebs to get green – she purchased a Prius early on – and her MTV seriesTrippin’ encourages green travel (all travel related to the show was offset by purchasing carbon credits, of course!). She also helped kick off 2007’s Live Earth concert series with friend Al Gore.
Did You Know: In 2009, Diaz starred in Cameron Diaz Saves the World, a short film in which she urged Americans to find out more about the environment. She also co-authored the bookThe Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time.
Photo Credit: James Devaney / WireImage
Leonardo DiCaprioThe Shutter Island star’s career launched from humble beginnings – he played lovable scamp Luke Brower on Growing Pains – into an international mega-celebrity. His film Titanic is one of the highest grossing films of all time, and in 2006 he competed against himself in the best actor category for his work in Blood Diamond and The Departed.
His Eco Achievements:DiCaprio drives a hybrid car and had solar panels installed on his house. In 2007, DiCaprio wrote, produced and narrated the eco-documentary The 11th Hour. And he also started the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, in support of environmentally friendly initiatives.
Did You Know: In order to be more environmentally conscious, DiCaprio eschews private planes and flies commercial.
Photo Credit: Munawar Hosain / Fotos International / Getty Images
Rachel McAdamsThe Canadian actress broke out in 2004’s epic romance, The Notebook. She then went on to star in blockbuster hits Mean Girls, The Wedding Crashersand Sherlock Holmes.
Her Eco Achievements:McAdams, along with two friends, launched Green Is Sexy, an eco-friendly Website that encourages fans to go green.
Did You Know: McAdams isn’t a material girl. "I don't really desire things. I prefer to spend my money on experiences, on meals or travel," she told Vogue in a 2009 interview.
Photo Credit: Avik Gilboa / Wireimage
Ted DansonDanson is best known for playing playboy bartender Sam Malone on Cheers. Most recently he's starring in HBO's comedy seriesBored to Death and FX's critically acclaimed Damages.
His Eco Achievements:Danson was green before most celebs — for the past two decades he's supported Oceana, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting ocean pollution.
Did You Know: Danson actually started his own organization to fight ocean pollution — the American Oceans Campaign. It merged with Oceana in 2002.
Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Alicia SilverstoneSilverstone’s best known as totally clueless Cher Horowitz inClueless. Expect to see her in 2010’s new vampire flick,Vamps.
Her Eco Achievements:
Silverstone is any green guy’s dream girl: She lives in an eco-friendly house (with organic veggie garden) in Los Angeles with a pack of rescued dogs. She created her own line of natural cosmetics. She’s vegan, and the author of The Kind Diet – and oh, did we mention she's a big fan of the nudist lifestyle?
Did You Know: In 2007 Silverstone made a splash when she posed naked for a PETA ad and video.
Photo Credit: Toby Canham / Getty Images
Orlando BloomBloom’s starred in some of the biggest films of the last 10 years, including the Lord of the Ringsseries and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
His Eco Achievements: Bloom has been a part of environmental company Global Green for several years, and renovated his home with solar panels. He also drives a hybrid car.
Did You Know: In 2009, Bloom participated in the “Australia Unites” fundraiser to benefit victims of Australian bushfires. Bloom also wrote an essay that appeared in the book Antarctica — A Call to Action.
Pictured: Bloom attends the Global Green USA 3rd Annual Pre-Oscar Celebration to Benefit Global Warming.
Photo Credit: Steve Granitz / WireImage
Natalie PortmanThis petite actress started her acting career at the wee age of 13 in The Professional. She later went on to make a name for herself as Queen Amidala in theStar Wars prequel trilogy and Closer.
Her Eco Achievements:Portman is a longtime vegetarian and animal-rights activist. And she’s been a longtime supporter of the Foundation for International Community Assistance, a microfinance organization that helps poor women around the world. In 2007, she traveled to Rwanda with zoologist Jack Hanna to film a documentary about endangered gorillas.
Did You Know: In 2007, she designed a line of vegan shoes for Te Casan (profits were donated to environmental organizations).
Photo Credit: George Pimentel / WireImage
Woody HarrelsonHarrelson got his start on '80s sitcom Cheers playing hapless bartender Woody Boyd. He won raves for his role as a murderous sociopath in 1994’s Natural Born Killers, but also impressed in comedies like White Men Can’t Jump, and more recently,Zombieland.
His Eco Achievements: He's a dedicated environmentalist and a staunch vegan, who refused to eat real Twinkies during the filming of his movie Zombieland(instead, he ate homemade vegan cornmeal Twinkies). In 2009 he received an honorary degree from York University for his contributions to environmentalism and sustainability. And for almost 10 years, he ran the eco-friendly Website Voice Yourself.
Did You Know: In 1996 Harrelson protested a lumber company’s logging of ancient redwood trees by climbing the Golden Gate Bridge. Traffic was shut down for more than six hours.
Photo Credit: Billy Ingram / WireImage
Hayden PanettiereSave the cheerleader, save the world? It appears that this cheerleader is saving the world. The Heroes star and Neutrogena spokesmodel got her start at the ripe old age of 4 months, and has been on screen ever since, acting in soaps, movies and a variety of Disney projects.
Her Eco Achievements:Panettiere is an ardent animal-rights activist, and has participated in anti-whaling and dolphin-hunting protests. In 2008 she approached the Norwegian ambassador to the United States and handed him a letter of protest calling for Norway to stop its whaling activities.
Did You Know: In 2007, she joined with anti-whaling ship Sea Shepherd to confront a group of Japanese fishermen on a dolphin hunting trip and can be seen briefly in the documentaryThe Cove.
Photo Credit: Duffy-Marie Arnoult / WireImage
Edward NortonThis bilingual English/Japanese speaker got his start in acting in 1996’s Primal Fear and went on to star in American History X andFight Club. Most recently, he appeared in 2009's Leaves of Grass.
His Eco Achievements: Norton is on the board of Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit dedicated to creating affordable housing. He lobbies on behalf of green housing, and even testified before Congress in support of the cause. And, he also hosted the National Geographic environmental seriesStrange Days on Planet Earth. He’s also a staunch supporter of public transportation, and still takes the subway when he’s in New York.
Did You Know: In 2009, Norton ran the New York City Marathon to benefit the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.
Pictured: Actor and environmental activist Edward Norton addresses the crowd at the Green Apple Festival concert for Earth Day on the National Mall in Washington, April 20, 2008.
Darryl HannahKill Bill’s one-eyed cold-blooded Elle Driver wouldn’t hurt a fly in real life. The Splash actress is a dedicated environmentalist.
Her Eco Achievements:Hannah lives in a solar-powered house with graywater systems, and owns a car that runs on biodiesel. She supports eco causes through her blog DH Love Life, and hosted the Sierra Club Chronicles documentary series for Link TV. She also buys carbon offset credits whenever she travels.
Did You Know: Hannah has quite a rap sheet: In 2006 she was arrested while protesting the bulldozing of the country’s largest urban farm in Los Angeles. She chained herself to a tree in the farm for three weeks to protest the farmer’s eviction. In 2009, she was arrested again in a protest against mountaintop removal in West Virginia.
Pictured: Daryl Hannah attends the Paddle Out Protest at Malibu Surfrider Beach on October 22, 2006 in Malibu, California.
Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images
Ed Begley Jr.Begley’s best-known acting role was as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on St. Elsewhere and he recently appeared in the 2008 film about the 2000 presidential election,Recount.
His Eco Achievements: Begley is one of the best-known celebrity eco advocates – and has been ahead of the environmental curve. He’s driven an electric car since the 1970s, is a longtime vegan and has a house which utilizes both wind and solar power. He’s affiliated with a variety of environmental organizations, and hosts the Planet Green show Living Like Ed. And he appeared in the 2006 documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? In 2008 he published the book Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life.
Did You Know: Begley has his own line of eco-friendly cleaner, called Begley’s Best Household Cleaner, of course. And one other thing – he has a bicycle-powered toaster oven. How’s that for a morning routine?
Pictured: Actor and activist Ed Begley, Jr. talks to the crowd at the Green Apple Festival concert for Earth Day on the National Mall in Washington April 20, 2008.
Photo Credit: Paul Morigi / WireImage
Adrian GrenierThis triple-threat actor, director and musician (check out his band Kid Friendly), is best-known for playing up-and-coming actor Vincent Chase on HBO’s hit series Entourage.
His Eco Achievements: Grenier might play a self-involved actor on Entourage, but off-screen he’s more our type – he hosts Planet Green’s Alter Eco show, where he demonstrates the changes people can make to go green. Plus, his Brooklyn home uses insulation made from recycled jeans, and has solar panels and other sustainable elements. Any chance we can stop by for a visit?
Did You Know: Grenier once tried to teach Paris Hilton about green policies. We're guessing it didn't work out so well.
Photo Credit: Soul Brother / FilmMagic