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Hollywood makes green chic

America recently watched the Emmys, yet another celebrity awards presentation full of big hair, sparkly attire, and self-congratulatory banter. This year’s red carpet, however, should have been colored green instead, to provide the perfect backdrop for the event’s stylishly smaller carbon footprint.

In fact, the red carpet was truly green, as it was produced in the only LEED-certified carpet factory in the world and was composed of 50 percent recycled materials.

Show coordinators used only live, re-usable plants to decorate the venue, rather than traditional cut flowers and plants. Organizers also coordinated the composting and recycling of food materials from the show.

Further, the show used energy-saving LED lighting powered by solar panels. The carpeting and solar panels were later donated to Habitat for Humanity and Ronald McDonald House for installation in Los Angeles area homes.

This got me wondering what some other celebrity organizers have been up to. During this year’s Oscars, there was a lot of buzz about eco-conscious celebrities who were being recognized at the event. Natalie Portman, who is vegan, designed her own animal-friendly line of shoes. Colin Firth and his wife, Livia, own a number of eco-friendly businesses, including two fair-trade cafes. Livia’s Oscar gown was made from 11 recovered dresses from the 1930s.

Caroma, Australia’s foremost designer and manufacturer of high-end bath fixtures, hosted a “Walk the Green Carpet” pre-Oscar party. I know, I thought it was weird too, until I learned that the company is known for its innovation of elegant, reduced-water usage fixture designs. The event featured eco-conscious celebrities and an organic bar.

Hollywood is getting in on the green act even on the movie set. Director Darren Aronofsky (of Black Swan fame) refuses to allow plastic water bottles on his set.

In the upcoming Mission Impossible film, The Ghost Protocol (December 2011), Tom Cruise sports a diesel-electric, 62.5 mpg, BMW i8 for his fast, Bond-style ride. Who knew that stopping to plug in could be so sexy?

Well-known celebrity eco-activist, Ed Begley Jr., acts as Chairman for the Hollywood Green Team. This non-profit organization was formed in 1999 to help “the entertainment industry to make their events more environmentally friendly… by recycling and reducing the waste created at these events and through consultation with event organizers and sponsors.” The organization participates in events like the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals and offers to “give you expert how-to advice, environmental leadership and hands-on implementation on recycling and reducing your event’s environmental impact.” (Visit www.hollywoodgreenteam.org for more info.)

Media mogul Ted Turner is proving his commitment to green business with his earth-friendly restaurant chain, Ted’s Montana Grill. The restaurant’s motto is “Eat Great, Do Good.” Turner and co-founder, George McKerrow Jr., have been touring the country with The Green Restaurant Revolution, an initiative to help green restaurateurs run more sustainable operations.

Many of the green practices being implemented in Turner’s restaurants can be duplicated for show planning. For instance, Turner uses paper straws, as well as to-go cups and cutlery made from corn and potato starches. Menus are printed on recycled paper. Further, the restaurant only serves responsibly-farmed, certified meats.

I had a birthday in September, and I’d like to think that I’ve learned a little something from all of these socially-conscious Hollywood celebs. I’m recycling my twenties.

Green tip for October:
I believe that everyone should own a copy of The Green Book by Elizabeth Roger and Thomas M. Kostigen. The publication provides many practical suggestions for creating a more eco-responsible lifestyle at home and at work. The book also features contributions from a number of green-minded celebrities, like Robert Redford and Jennifer Aniston. It is, of course, printed on 100 percent recycled paper.

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