BY SUSAN ALLEN
Hypocrisy in Hollywood is running rampant and never more evident than when it comes to issues involving the environment. For some unbeknownst reason celebrities simply love to flaunt their varying shades of green, as if activism absolves them of the responsibility for the visual pollution they produce on the "silver" screen.
At the 2005 Academy Awards, a chosen pack of actors led by Best Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman and Best Supporting Actress Natalie Portman. along with Salma Hayek, Charlize Theron, Scarlett Johansson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Penelope Cruz , Robin Williams and Tim Robbins, displayed to a world audience their commitment to alternative fuels by taking part in the Red Carpet-Green Cars campaign. Meaning they were transported to and from the Oscar ceremony in high mileage, low emission hybrid Toyota Prius'.
I had to chuckle when I read the press release from Global Green, the group behind the effort for its statement that "Global Green organizes fuel-efficient transportation each year to allow celebrities the opportunity to demonstrate their concern for promoting energy interdependence, combating global warming and protecting the environment." (globalgreen.org).
They went on to list past participants that included Harrison Ford, Calisita Flockhart, Cameron Diaz, Will Ferrell, Sting and Jack Black among others.
Now, I am not discounting the efforts of Global Green, the U.S arm of Green Cross, an organization headed up by Mikhail S. Gorbachev. One of Green Crosse's missions is to increase awareness of alternative fuels by encouraging governments to adopt sustainable practices. I share their passion about reducing our dependency on fossil fuel, so much so that I have encouraged my son who attends the University of Idaho to pursue a degree in the school's bio-diesel and green fuel program. I will admit though that I struggle with the stated fact that Global Green had to organize the event to allow the culturally elite an "opportunity" to ride in a hybrid.
Come -on who is kidding whom? If Natalie and Selma were passionate about promoting green fuel, why would they need someone to manufacture an "opportunity" to show their support. Leonardo and Harrison appear so valiantly concerned about fuel usage yet remain notably silent when it comes to the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted every time a car explodes into a fiery ball of burning fuel on their movie sets?
I am sure that Gwyneth and Penelope conscientiously take into account how much fossil fuel they burn flitting back and forth to the European couture fashion shows. I also find it ironic that anti-SUV groups so effortlessly receive the endorsement of Hollywood's elite, while I have yet to hear of any eco-celeb protesting the fuel consumption of private jets.
Do not get me wrong, there are those rare celebrities that attempt to walk the talk. Cameron Diaz, an utterly charming tree hugger and long-time driver of a Toyota Prius, is working to educate the younger generation on environmental sensitively through her new MTV program "Trippin". Daryl Hannah has also made quite a "splash" on the talk show circuit tirelessly promoting Biodiesel fuel, forgoing a hummer; she opts for a bio-El Camino, bio truck and a bio-tractor to work her ranch in the Rockies.
Kudos to those stars who recognize that their fame affords them a unique platform to promote the benefits of green fuel, and shame on those who use the movement that could revolutionize American agriculture as a mere photo op.
Susan Allen represents theFood Forethought Foundation, an advocate of American farmers.