Image courtesy of Michael Buckner/Getty Images
It's not easy being green, Kermit once said, but then again, he wasn't talking about being born with a billion dollars. For heiresses, all that green paper should make it easier to live green too, but it's rare to come across an heiress who cares more about sustainable living than sustained partying. Still, there are a few who go beyond attending benefits to keep the earth happy and healthy, and here at TreeHugger, we think that's hot.
5. Francie Rehwald
Image courtesy Ric Francis/AP Photo
Coming in at number five is Francie Rehwald, the Mercedes-Benz heiress who had her Malibu house built out of a scrap Boeing. The fuel costs of transporting the junked jet can be debated, but the home itself is a model of sustainable living. We don't know what she did with her last 59 years, but choosing our number one heiress's green architect, Studio of Environmental Architecture founder David Hertz, definitely wins her the number five spot.
4. Yuki Oshima-Wilpon
Our fourth-place heiress, Yuki Oshima-Wilpon, daughter of a billionaire Korean-Japanese financier, resides in London, a hop, skip, and a jump from everyone's favorite department store, Harrod's. According to an article in Daily Mail , Yuki and her husband do not wear any leather or animal-derived products, drive hybrid cars and buy clothes online from vegan Web sites or Stella McCartney. A London Times article reports that not only does Oshima-Wilpon avoid leather and fur products but that, when looking for a new home, she requires a certified pesticide-free garden with organic plants, energy provided by solar panels, and a pool naturally cleaned with marine salts rather than chlorine. Exacting eco-friendliness, certainly, but Oshima-Wilpon still employs a private jet, and with that carbon footprint, madam will have to be satisfied at number four.
3. Anna Getty
Anna Getty, great-granddaughter of J. Paul Getty, whose museums are everywhere, and sister to Brothers & Sisters' hunk, Balthazar Getty, is a former actress turned yoga guru. An eco-Renaissance woman, Getty not only runs PureStyle Living, which sells instructional yoga DVDs and other eco-friendly gear, she's also Eco Editor for Healing Lifestyles & Spas magazine. She chooses to eat organically, maintains a home free of harsh chemicals, supports eco-sustainable fashion and trends, and endorses and supports fair trade and like-minded companies. And apparently Getty never sleeps because she also sits on the boards for Healthy Child Healthy World and the Environmental Media Association and works tirelessly with the Organic Center. 2009 will see the publication of Anna Getty's Green Organic Cook Book and I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas.
2. Teresa Heinz Kerry
A current board member of the Environmental Defense Fund, ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz Kerry inherited her vast fortune from her late husband, Senator Henry John Heinz III, and she has since put a considerable amount of that money towards eco-philanthropy.
In 1990, Teresa co-founded what is now called the Alliance for Healthy Homes through the first environmental grant of the Vira I. Heinz Endowment. In 1992, she was the presidentially-appointed member of a delegation representing NGOs at the Earth Summit. In 1993, Teresa, Senator Kerry, and Dr. Anthony Cortese co-founded Second Nature, an organization dedicated to bringing "Education for Sustainability" to college campuses. The next year, she founded the Heinz awards, which includes a category for outstanding contributions to the environment. Later, she founded the Teresa Heinz Scholars for Environmental Research program, which annually awards eight $10,000 awards for doctoral dissertation support and eight $5,000 awards for master's thesis support, for research having "public policy relevance that increases society's understanding of environmental concerns and proposed solutions."
Kerry also recently co-authored This Moment on Earth: Today's New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future with her husband, Senator Kerry.
1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Though she's best known as the sitcom actress who gave us Elaine Benes and Old Christine, Julia Louis-Dreyfus doesn't actually need those Seinfeld residuals. Not only is Julia funny, the girl's an heiress too. Her father, Gerard Louis-Dreyfus, is a French billionaire with a capital B, and the Louis-Dreyfus family's net worth, according to Forbes magazine, is estimated at approximately 2.9 billion dollars. The Louis Dreyfus group, of which Gerard was president and CEO until 2006, is, according to our good friends at Wikipedia, "one of the world's largest commodities trading and merchandising firms" and has interests in everything from shipping to sports management.
Julia, for her part, has been green for years. Thanks to architect David Hertz, who also designed Francie Rehwald's supersonic Malibu home, Julia and husband Brad Hall's Montecito residence is built from sustainably harvested tropical woods. The house also features a retractable roof clad in solar panels, recycled newspaper insulation, and a natural ventilation system. Besides providing eco-tips to USA Today and promoting clean water and land preservation through her involvement in environmental organizations like Heal the Bay and The Trust for Public Land, Louis-Dreyfus drives a hybrid.
When it comes to green heiresses, you can't get much greener than Julia Louis-Dreyfus.