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Celebrity Activists Fighting The Climate Change Crisis

Part ONE

Celebrities influence our habits, opinions and behaviors on a daily basis, from the current fashion trends to our own ethical ideologies. But, with this influence comes responsibility. Many notable and progressive celebrities have used their platform to raise awareness for contemporary issues they are passionate about, such as social and environmental sustainability.

Here at No Kill, we believe in the efforts of EVERY individual, not just the celebrity. Normally we avoid the highlighting the already over-publicized celebrity, but when it comes to social and environmental sustainability, celebrities that are making informed efforts deserve further recognition.

We have compiled a list of our favorite eco-friendly and environmentally conscious celebrities that we firmly believe should serve as role models in our quest to be better people for our planet!

Jane Fonda

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Beginning with the most iconic celebrity-turned-activist, we have Jane Fonda. Fonda has a long history of activism, from the Vietnam War in the 1960s to the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016. Jane Fonda has served as an activist role model for other celebrities and all individuals more generally, protesting political, social and environmental issues and advocating for social justice and environmental sustainability.

Aside from her renowned protests, Fonda has also incorporated her passion for activism into her Hollywood work. For example, her role in the China Syndrome movie highlighted the danger of nuclear power, and the 9 to 5 movie targeted the wage gap and sexism in the workplace. And a portion of the profits made from her iconic workout videos was donated to the Campaign for Economic Democracy, donating almost $800,000 in 1986.

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More recently, following the #MeToo movement, Dakota Access Pipeline, Trump’s election, Black Lives Matter, etc., Jane Fonda has really made headlines. In late 2019, Fonda moved to Washington DC to be closer to the action, and with the help of Greenpeace, she created Fire Drill Fridays. Fire Drill Fridays started as a weekly protest using civil disobedience to demand Congress pass the Green New Deal. The protests quickly became extremely popular, featuring new (often famous) speakers and news coverage each week. The rallies, that took place on Capitol Hill, became the site of several arrests, furthering their commerciality. Jane Fonda herself was frequently arrested, as well as other eco-conscious and passionate celebrities like Joaquin Phoenix, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterson, Lily Tomlin, Casey Wilson, Sally Field and more. The publicity surrounding not only the rallies/protests, but the arrests created an immense amount of awareness for the objectives of Fire Drill Fridays and climate change more broadly.

Additionally, Jane Fonda just published her newest book called What Can I Do?: My Path from Climate Despair to Action. The book blends Fonda’s own personal journey with activism and simultaneously addresses climate change and proposes action responses.

Jane Fonda is one of the most inspirational activists ever, she has spoken up about all different types of issues: political, social and environmental. Regardless of her celebrity status, Fonda should serve as a role model for all. Her activism efforts over the past 60 years are incredible and we at No Kill are so thankful for her continued devotion to making the world a better and more sustainable place.

P.S. subscribing to Jane Fonda’s blog is a great way to keep up to date on all things climate change and social justice. Definitely work checking out!

Leonardo DiCaprio

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Leonardo DiCaprio has already stolen our hearts because of his roles in classics like Titanic and The Great Gatsby, but his role as an extraordinary climate change activist is our personal favorite at No Kill.
His foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and his documentary, Before the Flood (available on Netflix), have created climate change awareness globally. The foundation has six main program areas: Wildlands Conservation, Oceans Conservation, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, Transforming California, and Innovative Solutions. Since its creation in 1998, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has funded over 200 innovative projects and awarded more than $100 million in grants, all in the name of the health and wellbeing of all Earth’s inhabitants. For his Before the Flood documentary, DiCaprio teamed up with National Geographic and traveled to five continents as well as the Arctic to experience and showcase the devastating effects of climate change around the world.

Also, Leonardo DiCaprio has been recognized by the United Nations and stands on the board of MANY environmental protection organizations. In fact, his documentary opens at the 2014 Climate Leader’s Summit where DiCaprio gave his landmark speech as the United Nations Messenger of Peace for Climate.

DiCaprio has received his fair share of criticism and haters who note his many properties and love of jets. Do with that what you will – we think anyone putting so much time, money and energy into climate initiatives is worth nothing.

Emma Watson

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Emma Watson, commonly referred to as the queen of ethical dressing, embraces sustainability through her vintage and/or eco-conscious red carpet looks. The Harry Potter and Beauty and the Beast star has continuously promoted ethical and sustainable fashion. Back in 2017, during her international Beauty and the Beast press tour, Watson created the Instagram account @the_press_tour to exhibit and advertise her entirely sustainable wardrobe. From the red carpet and premiere parties to her magazine spreads, Watson, her team of stylists and the Eco-Age agency teamed up with a range of different designers to create innovative and ethical impact clothing throughout the press tour. Although not all of us have designers begging to dress us, following Emma Watson’s footsteps and shopping vintage/sustainable and avoiding fast fashion can seriously reduce textile waste, unfair working conditions and pollution rates.

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In the past year, Emma Watson has accomplished even more amazing (and ridiculously impressive) things. In June of 2020, Emma Watson joined the Kering Group’s board of directors to help the group pursue its commitment to sustainable fashion. Additionally, Watson has donated more than $5 million to gender equality and women’s rights causes in pursuit of social sustainability. Finally, as if that was not impressive enough, she also teamed up with threadUP, a groundbreaking online consignment store, to create their Fashion Footprint Calculator. This online tool allows you to calculate the environmental impact of your own closet.

Emma Watson has used her celebrity status to take a stand, make a change and begin paving the way to sustainability.

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix, an important figure in environmental issues, has also made the headlines in the realm of sustainability. In 2020, Phoenix teamed up with designer Stella McCartney to promote sustainable fashion and condemn the textile waste in Hollywood. He pledged to re-wear the same (sustainably produced) Stella McCartney tuxedo to every award ceremony and red-carpet event for all of 2020 and has continued to don the same tuxedo into 2021! Although this may not seem like a big feat for those of us who do not regularly attend red-carpet Hollywood events, the red-carpet season contributes immensely to textile waste and even pollution. Much like fast fashion, the items curated for specific celebrities for specific events have an extremely short lifespan.

This is not Joaquin Phoenix’s only effort to address environmental issues and advocate for sustainability. In January of 2020, he was arrested at one of Jane Fonda’s climate change protests. As a devout vegan, Phoenix is outspoken regarding animal rights and injustices more generally. He continues to use his platform for the greater good, as evident in his 2020 Oscars Best Actor award speech. Unlike your average thank you speech, Phoenix used his time on stage to address the harmful treatment of animals and overconsumption. Within this speech, which quickly went viral, Joaquin Phoenix says that the greatest gift his fame and celebrity status have given him is the opportunity to use his voice for ‘the voiceless’.

Sophia Bush

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Finally, you may recognize her from One Tree Hill: actress Sophia Bush has also made a huge splash in the sustainable fashion world with her FashionKind initiative. FashionKind is an environmentally conscious e-commerce clothing website. Sophia Bush and her business partner Nina Farran has successfully created an innovate online shop that exclusively sells sustainable luxury fashion. FashionKind hand-selects each designer based on a specific set of standards they call The Kind Code. The Kind Code looks at the areas of fashion (style, fit, design and quality) and impact (social and environmental ethics).

In addition to the creation of FashionKind, Sophia Bush is accredited for her amazing philanthropic efforts. Bush is extremely outspoken in regard to sustainability and has donated large amounts of time and money to several different amazing organizations. Bush is affiliated with Charity: Water, Global Green and Pencils of Promise, serving as an advocate, partner and/or ambassador. For her 30th birthday, Sophia Bush raised $30,000 that was later donated to Pencils of Promise where the money was used to build an entire school in Guatemala. She put her fame to good use, using her platform to advertise her fundraising campaign and received donations from a lot of her fans.

Sophia Bush’s continued interest and commitment to social and environmental sustainability serves as an exceptional example of the positive influence celebrities can have on all of us!

This is the starting list of some of our favorite celebrity activists but keep an eye out for our article next week to find out the second half of our list!

The celebrities mentioned above have made extraordinary efforts towards environmental sustainability and social equality. In doing this, they are also discontinuing the promotion of ‘the empty celebrity’; hopefully creating a society that acknowledges the actions of celebrities, looking at how they use their fame and influence for the betterment of the world. No Kill commends and encourages the listed celebrities, urging them to continue their work as we look to the future.
No Kill strives for culture with a conscious and fashion for the future; the celebrities listed above (and the ones that will be published next week) are helping pave the way to this!

–Carolina McCormick

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