The 7 Biggest Celebrity Hits and Misses of 2011
Celebrity support can do a lot for a cause -- whether it means gathering signatures to stop an oil pipeline, raising support to ban barbaric animal practices, or turning vegan baby food into a mainstream option.
But celebrity support on the wrong side of an issue can be just as effective -- which is why we've rounded up some of the biggest hits and misses from the year in celebrity green news.
1. Miss: Newt Gingrich Changes His Mind on Climate Change
In 2008, Newt Gingrich sat down with Nancy Pelosi to film a public service announcement for the We campaign, saying "We do agree: Our country must take action to address climate change."
He also suggested that the EPA be replaced with an "Environmental Solutions Agency" because, as he put it, "The EPA's activities have gone well beyond protecting the environment; instead, the EPA is focused on centralizing and asserting unlimited federal power over the economy."
2. Hit: Celebs Fight Shark Finning© Ray Tamarra/Getty Images
Shark finning has been on our radar for years, but the process hit the mainstream this year -- with plenty of celebrity support.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Stiller, Scarlett Johannson, Edward Norton, and other A-listers all signed a letter from WildAid, the NRDC, and the Humane Society supporting a California ban on the sale of the fins, which are often stripped from live sharks that are tossed back in the water to die. (In 2009, Planet Green reported that as many as 40 million sharks are killed this way each year.)
The ban became a law in October.
3. Hit: Celebrity Moms Raising the Next Generation of Green© Michael Buckner/WireImage
The world of celebrity weehuggers got plenty of new members this year.
Dedicated eco moms including Alicia Silverstone, Jessica Alba, Natalie Portman, Pink, Emily Deschanel, and others all gave birth to sons and daughters who we imagine will be the green hitmakers of their generation.
And from organic nurseries and homemade baby food to vegan diets and cloth diapers, these moms are also showing the rest of the parenting community that you can make eco-friendly choices without a lot of extra hassle.
4. Miss: U2 Guitarist and His Massive Real Estate Project© George Pimentel/WireImage
Though this is good news for the area, The Edge's attempt to build at all earned him this miss: The commission's executive director called the proposal "one of the three worst projects that I've seen in terms of environmental devastation" even though the musician and other owners said they planned to build homes that would utilize recycled materials, solar panels, and other eco-friendly construction options.
5. Hit: The Cast of "The Vampire Diaries" Goes on a Green MissionVideo: YouTube
Few television casts have been as vocal about green initiatives this year as the cast of "The Vampire Diaries": Sarah Canning put together a short video with five simple tips for thinking green (including buying local and conserving water) featuring her castmates, and Ian Somerhalder put together a petition to block the Keystone Pipeline.
Somerhalder also started his own self-named foundation, which promotes alternative energy, raises awareness of deforestation, and supports no-kill animal shelters.
6. Miss: Janet Jackson Launches a Line of Furs© Dave J Hogan/Getty Images
In a world where vegan diets, "no animal testing" cosmetics, and anti-animal cruelty efforts are commonplace, launching a line of fur accessories seems like an unnecessary fashion flashback -- but not so for Janet Jackson, who announced in November that she was partnering with Blackgama for 15-piece collection of coats, scarves, vests, and more made from mink.
But as Lloyd pointed out, no matter what the industry tells you, fur is still not green.
7. Hit: "Funny or Die" VideosFunny or Die/Screen capture
Next came the NSFW video with Ed Asner and the cast of "Reno 911" calling on us to "Stop the Environment," followed by Kristen Wiig's suggestion that "every person in the world holds their breath for one minute every day" as part of her Global Breathing Initiative.
And through it all, these celebrities keep eco-initiatives on everyone's mind without being preachy or prissy.