The Netflix series Down to Earth with Zac Efron’ is trending fast not just among members of his fanbase but more so in groups interested in sustainable living. The series features the Hollywood heartthrob traveling in many exotic places, at times, the camera panning closer to his face as if to show his sudden gain in insight about environmentalism and threats to Nature.
Efron is by no means unique in this line of advocacy. Hollywood has its fair share of ‘green warriors’ who use their fame and fortune to speak for the environment. In their private lives, they also endeavor to ‘walk the walk’ and not just preach about sustainable living in front of cameras and press people.
Acting to Save the Planet
These celebrities have made their homes sustainable by making hard choices about the things they buy and use. From soaps and shampoos in their designer bathroom to a made-to-order kitchen countertop replacement, up to the roofs and walls that make up their million-dollar abode—everything had to pass the green mark. When they are not acting in a film shooting, they are out taking action to lessen their environmental footprint.
Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad is redoing a beachfront home in Ventura, California, using only salvaged building materials. He is also setting up a solar panel roof, a rainwater recycling gadget, and energy-efficient appliances. His long-term goal is to live in a “net-zero energy home.”
Daryl Hannah, famous for her role in the 1982 movie Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford, is one of Tinseltown’s few celebrities that live off the grid. She built a home outside the famous ski town of Telluride, Colorado, which is an environmentalist’s dream. Her mountain hideaway is equipped with active and passive solar panels, a gray water recycling system, and a generator that runs on bio-diesel. Her home is made of 100% non-toxic material, and she maintains her organic garden.
These actors are only a few public figures that have truly embraced a more eco-friendly lifestyle. While their commitment is admirable and worth emulating, it is not enough to save the Earth. Every single person on the planet needs to embrace a different way of looking at the world we live in.
How to Be Green
For many, the Earth’s resources seem to be unlimited. Far from it, in many continents, hundreds of hectares of forests, lakes, rivers, and mountains have been degraded, mined, and plundered in the name of progress.
In the documentary, The 11th Hour, which was produced by Hollywood A-lister Leonardo Di Caprio, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking poignantly said these words using his trademark voice generator:
“One can see from space how the human race has changed the Earth. Nearly all the available land has been cleared of forest and is now used for agriculture or urban development. The polar ice caps are shrinking, and the desert areas are increasing. At night, the Earth is no longer dark, but large areas are lit up. All of this is evidence that human exploitation of the planet is reaching a critical limit. But human demands and expectations are ever-increasing. We cannot continue to pollute the atmosphere, poison the ocean, and exhaust the land. There isn’t any more available.”
To help turn the tide, many are adopting simple but impactful ways of living sustainably. Here are some suggestions on how ordinary people can make a difference for the environment:
1. Choose Consumer Products Wisely, Avoid Toxic Chemicals
Many of the home products from the supermarket are highly toxic to humans and the environment. These products range from liquid dishwashing soaps, laundry powder, and fabric softeners. The chemicals used to make these items bubbly and perfume-scented are harsh to human skin and fatal to animals when ingested. The wash trailings from kitchen sinks and laundry areas flow to the sewage, and some find their way to nearby bodies of water — eventually killing small fish and other aquatic life.
2. Travel Light & Clean
If the budget permits, buy and use a car that has been designed to use fuel very efficiently. An electric car is also a good option. Use public transportation whenever possible to reduce fuel consumption, which also leads to more toxic emissions that poison the air we breathe. When going on vacations, do research and look for environment-friendly hotels or a green-designed Airbnb.
3. Reduce Waste
One of the easiest things to do to help the environment is to limit waste. As much as possible, bring your own water bottles, reusable cups, and eating utensils to avoid the use of plastic items and paper products that are often throw away after use and not recycled.
The challenge of saving the planet is a monumental task. It will take many years and the concerted efforts of governments, businesses, and people to make it work. But everybody can take part in making the Earth safer and cleaner. By doing these three simple green acts, you are helping our environment a better place to live in.