Rock goddess Gwen Stefani got one. So did Usher and Sheryl Crow. Ditto for Jessica Simpson and Lenny Kravitz.
At the 2004 American Music Awards, held in Los Angeles, celebrities accustomed to grabbing goodie bags crammed with pricey fragrances, designer duds, iPods and the latest electronic gadgets were greeted with a delightfully eco-friendly surprise: gift bags overflowing with organic treats like Annie's Homegrown Organic Macaroni and Cheese, Taylor Maid Farms organic coffee, gift certificates for Organic Roses from OrganicBouquet.com, Zhena's Gypsy Tea, coupons for organic ice cream and European-style butter from Straus Family Creamery, and organic cotton tote bags from Patagonia, among other fabulous freebies.
It's about time. Notes Michael Martin of Music Matters, an environment-focused marketing firm that partners with companies like Ben & Jerry's, Seventh Generation and Odwalla to create awareness campaigns and promotional events: "The demand and popularity for organic products is skyrocketing and going very mainstream."
In the new millennium, celebrities who are particularly careful about what they put in their bodies are making their voices heard in record numbers on key environmental issues, such as global warming.
"Habitats are changing along with the climate, and many species will disappear from their present homes, while others may disappear altogether," notes actress Jorja Fox of CSI in a public service announcement for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit alliance of scientists and citizens who fight for a healthier environment. "We can slow global warming down if we take action now."
"We all want our children to have the best of all possible worlds, but global warming is threatening their future," add actor Bradley Whitford of The West Wing and his wife, actress Jane Kaczmarek of Malcolm in the Middle, in a joint announcement for UCS. "Fortunately, making a difference is as easy as purchasing energy-efficient products and driving fuel-efficient cars like hybrids. If only all parenting decisions were this easy. Global warming isn't cool. Stopping it is."
Similar sentiments were echoed at the 14th Annual Environmental Media Awards, held Nov. 17 in Los Angeles and sponsored by the Environmental Media Association-an advocacy group that works closely with the entertainment industry to promote sustainable living. Actress Daryl Hannah took home top honors-the Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award-for her activism and commitment to solar power, cultivation of organic gardens, animal-abuse prevention and driving bio-diesel vehicles. Other honorees included Willie Nelson, who has been at the forefront of family farmers' causes for many years, and the producers/writers of shows like The Simpsons, Without a Trace and Joan of Arcadia-all of which featured episodes with environmental themes. Attendees were served a fully organic menu from chefs like Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill and Ciudad, Mark Peel of Campanile, and Suzanne Tracht of Jar.
Other celebrities have teamed with environmentally conscious clothing manufacturer Eddie Bauer to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle in a special print advertising campaign. Melina Kanakaredes, star of CSI: New York, states in her ad: "When my daughter and I take walks, she stops and smells every flower. Not eating fast food with its plastic and paper wrappers helps the environment." Kanakaredes, in fact, carries her own reusable bags to the supermarket and strongly supports eating organic foods.
Christian Slater, now appearing in the horror flick Alone in the Dark, also eats organically and trumpets shopping at stores that carry whole foods. As his ad for Eddie Bauer reveals, he became environmentally aware after his children were born. And in his ad, Henry Simmons of NYPD Blue urges Americans to turn out the lights when they leave a room. "Conserving water, picking up trash-little contributions mean a lot," he states.
"Eddie Bauer is a brand with strong links to the outdoors, and it's our goal to encourage all people to get outside and enjoy nature," says company CEO Fabian Mansson. "We're thrilled to have the support of the entertainment community."
Two high-profile Hollywood moms should be commended for their dedication to environmental issues affecting children: singer Olivia Newton-John and actress Kelly Preston (Mrs. John Travolta). The two celebs host an educational video, Not Under My Roof: Protecting Your Baby From Toxins at Home, for the Children's Health Environmental Commission. A breast cancer survivor, Newton-John became a tireless advocate for children's cancer research and prevention after her 5-year-old goddaughter, Collette Chuda (daughter of commission founder Nancy Chuda), died of cancer. Nancy is convinced the cancer resulted from exposure to environmental pollutants during pregnancy.
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