While there are countless practical steps that need to be taken to address climate change and preserve the environment, awareness and engagement are still among the major hurdles. To this end, it has been mentioned in this post “How to Cultivate Environmental Awareness for Young People” that some good ways of fostering such engagement are planting trees in your area, writing about local parks and community centers, and organizing environmental awareness projects.
On a larger scale though, it’s also helpful when celebrities get involved! And while we would of course always like to see more activity in this regard, there are plenty of famous figures promoting environmental awareness. So to help spread the word, and show people that some of their favorite figures are in the fight, we’re going to highlight five such celebrities and what they’re doing to help the environment.
Sir David Atternborough
Sir David Attenborough started his career at BBC in 1952, eventually found his way into natural history programs like Animal Patterns, and has continued to narrate for projects such as the Life series. While he’s known for lending his distinctive, deep, pseudo-whisper to nature documentaries though, his efforts in support of the environment go much further. In fact, he has been an advocate for the environment for years, albeit in different ways. He’s advocated for conservation efforts concerning everything from albatross protection to the Zoological Society of London; he’s pushed for people to adopt vegetarian lifestyles for the sake of wildlife preservation; just last year, at the age of 95, he spoke to the COP26 climate summit in what BBC.com described as an impassioned speech urging them to “rewrite our story.” Simply put, Attenborough’s has been a tireless crusade.
Mark Ruffalo’s acting career has spanned decades and has seen him star in everything from quaint indie musicals to superhero blockbuster projects. And as it turns out, the actor most recognize as the man behind the Incredible Hulk can get angry about issues in real life as well. In an essay Ruffalo contributed to Grist in 2015, he wrote, “We don’t need a superhero, but maybe we do need more people to get angry and turn that into action.” He also started working with The Solutions Project –– a nonprofit organization that wants to help the U.S. transition to 100% clean energy –– and has challenged President Joe Biden to “ramp up” clean energy efforts through the emergency powers granted to the U.S. president.
Daniel Negreanu is one of the most famous and recognizable stars in poker, having dominated at the professional level for decades. According to a Daniel Negreanu profile page at Poker.org, he has amassed six World Series of Poker bracelets and some $42 million (about £33.7 million) in live tournament winnings and is considered to be the most popular player of his time. Somewhere in between all of his tournament wins, however, the poker star has also managed to dedicate energy to climate action. In his advocacy for environmental awareness, he has started with his own lifestyle –– has been very public about his decisions to go vegan and purchase a hybrid car. Negreanu has also expressed interest in becoming an ambassador for climate change and is reportedly quite well read on the subject.
One of the signature film stars of the last 25 years (and a key player in the history of poker himself, given the impact of his film Rounders in inspiring an amateur poker movement!), Damon co-authored “The Worth Of Water” together with engineer Gary White. This book chronicled the pair’s efforts to end the global water crisis. Together, Damon and White also created Water.org, a nonprofit organization focused on bringing safe, accessible, and cost-effective water and sanitation to the world. So far, they’ve changed 45 million lives and are working in more than 11 countries.
Best known for her role as Aimee Finicky in “The Spectacular Now,” Shailene Woodley is nevertheless far more than an actress; she’s also an environmental activist, and even became an Oceans Ambassador for Greenpeace in 2019. In an interview with Shape magazine, Woodley stated, “I want to change the world — I feel a responsibility to try to do everything I possibly can to make things feel a little better.” She strives to do so not by fixing present damage –– cleaning up ocean plastic or railing against oil and gas –– but by helping to establish new norms, such that we don’t consume plastic, to begin with, and we adopt better energy systems.
There are of course countless reasons to join the fight for climate sustainability. But for some, seeing that popular celebrities are battling for a better tomorrow can be just the right push. We can all draw inspiration from figures like those described here, and seek out our own opportunities to turn awareness into action.