5 Great Moments From Hollywood's Green Wannabes

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Open mouth. Insert foot.

Some Hollywood stars get excited easily, especially when they think they've stumbled upon the cause of all causes. Add in the hipness factor currently attached to being green and you're bound to get some A and B listers shoving their pedicured feet in their mouths while trying to assert their eco-cred. Some of the Hollywood stars we've highlighted here meant well, but others were more calculating (or simply clueless) in their green posturing. Regardless of motive, it's important to call them out when it happens, even if it's to just have a good chuckle at their expense. Celebrities — and I know I'm grossly generalizing here — are surrounded by people who tell them yes. But they can't just walk onto the environmental scene with a hybrid and a hit movie and expect to be welcomed as a player. The best green stars do before they say; these stars just say — and badly.

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Paris Hilton


Paris Hilton likes to be the first to try cool new things, even if she has to make it up. Last year, Hilton was asked about the hybrid Yukon SUV (a huge beast of a vehicle that gets a whopping 21 mph city/22 highway) she had recently bought. She replied that hybrids were awesome and everyone should buy one. She went on to brag that she had purchased the first one. GM later said the company had no idea what Paris was talking about; many Yukon SUVs were sold before Paris got her ride. She didn't take the time to clarify, so we're left to conclude that it was simply Paris being Paris — or at least the Paris she chooses to play. (I've always thought she's actually smarter than she lets on.) Paris probably offset any small measure of good of driving the marginally more efficient Yukon by jetting her assistant off to Tokyo later that day to get sushi.

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Photo: By Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock.com

Madonna is well-known for periodically remaking herself. One of the masks she decided to try on recently was that of an environmentalist. She was one of the headline acts at Al Gore's Live Earth concert in 2007, where she debuted Hey You, a song that urges people to do their part for the planet. "If you wanna save the planet, I wanna see you jump up and down! Come on ... Jump!" she screamed into the mic. But if you're Madonna — and have a bottled water bill of $10,000 per month— you have a lot of jumping to do. In fact, you should probably hire a couple hundred people to jump with you. (That's a lot of negative green karma to work off.) Madonna lives in huge mansions and flies around the world in private jets. She's probably one of the most unsustainable people in history; it just doesn't fly for her to play the part of the environmentalist. Maybe it could after she gives up flying in private jets and sells a house or six ... and cuts her entourage by 90 percent ... and starts drinking tap water.

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Jennifer Aniston

Chesi Fotos CC/Flickr.

Jennifer Aniston wants everyone to know that she cares about the environment. Ahead of the Live Earth concerts, she revealed that she takes three-minute showers and even brushes her teeth in there. I'm not sure what's better: the idea that Aniston actually takes three-minute showers (come on ... I'm a pretty hardcore greenie and I don't even do that!) or that her advice — well meaning though it may be — is terribly ungreen. The most efficient water-saving showerhead still pumps out a couple gallons of water per minute, and the kind of head Aniston likely has installed could easily drain out 10 gallons per minute or more. If you brush your teeth for at least two minutes, you're looking at at least four or five gallons of water down the drain. If you clean your teeth at the sink, you can get away with allowing just a few cups of water down the drain. I think Aniston meant well, but she was terrifically unprepared to talk about green living. (I'd be just as unprepared to talk about life as a rich Hollywood celebrity, so we'll call it even.)

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Sheryl Crow


Rock star Sheryl Crow stepped in a big pile of PR mess when she told students at George Washington University that we should be restricted on the amount of toilet paper we use per sitting. Her quote was: "Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating. One of my favorites is in the area of forest conservation which we heavily rely on for oxygen. I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required." The press went nuts. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck pounced on her statement as proof that lefty liberals want to take away your freedom to wipe your backside with as much paper as you want. Crow later back-pedaled, saying it was a joke to get people's attention. (I think her comments probably helped cement the idea that environmentalists are wacked out of their minds.)

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Chris Martin


I think singer Chris Martin deserves credit for trying on this one. Back in 2002, his band Coldplay released its second studio album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, and announced that 10,000 mango trees would be planted in Southern India to help offset environmental damage caused by its production. A British company, Future Forests (now called CarbonNeutral,) would handle the logistics, and fans were given the option of adding an extra mango plant for a little less than $30. Future Forests contracted with a group called Women for Sustainable Development to distribute mango saplings to poor Indian villagers. The villagers received the saplings — but not the equipment, fertilizer and money for the other necessary expenses. The villagers barely had enough water for their families and farms, and most of the mango trees died soon after being distributed. I'm doubtful the surviving trees will offset the impact of the tree planting program, never mind the album. Lesson learned, but it's certainly not any kind of green success for Martin's wall of awards.