Last night was the EMAs (pronounced “emmas”, in case you didn’t know), the annual awards gala thrown by the Environmental Media Association in celebration and recognition of those working in film and TV production who are supporting and promoting the green cause both behind the scenes and on camera. Sir Richard Branson and Jason Mraz were both honored last night along with 2012 producers Centropolis Entertainment and National Geographic’s Explorers in Residence Derreck and Beverly Joubert.

Presenters for the evening included Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart, Kathryn Morris, Ginnifer Goodwin, Olivia Wilde, Alanis Morrisette, Ed Begley Jr., Blythe Danner, Amy Smart, Simon Baker, Dana Delaney, Emily Vancamp as well as Dianna Agron and Kevin McHale from ‘Glee’. Razzi heroes Louie and Vicki Psihoyos also made it back from the controversial screening of their film The Cove in Japan for the event.

amy and simon

Amy Smart and Simon Baker presenting.

It was a pretty lavish shindig with vendors and screens lining New York Street on the Paramount Studios backlot. Tables were lit with faux votive candles, no paper plates in sight as well as eco-luxury gifts and a variety of gourmet and organic foods available all across the outdoor event.

electric car

Toyota and Lexus hosted the eco-luxury lounges.

The very excellent Melinda McGraw, from Mad Men and Hank, was on hand and we chatted a bit about how much there is to learn from pioneers like Ed Begley Jr. as well as what she’s been noticing changing on sets in the last ten years. McGraw pointed out that while many scripts are emailed these days it’s still hard to conserve paper with so many changing scripts drafts. Her pet peeve on set? The air conditioning on sound stages. “It does not need to be that cold,” she said. She also noted that she was decked out in all vintage for the evening.

I also caught up with the very talented actress and EMA board member Frances Fisher to talk about on-set habits. She said that because of the largess and temporary nature of film sets it’s hard to know what the better options are for something like craft services flatware. “What’s the impact of disposable plates versus the water used in washing all of these dishes?” It feels like there’s still a lot of assessment to be done on set.

Bill Nye The Science Guy and Ed Begley Jr. both agree that getting out of our cars is the single biggest thing that we can do to help the environment. Nye, back at the EMAs after a few years away, also said that he rides his bike everywhere much to the amusement of his friends. He also has a powerful solar set up at his house which allows him to sell electricity back into the grid.

Derreck and Beverly Joubert, National Geographic’s current Explorers in Residence (definitley in the running for ‘best job ever’) also launched the Big Cat Initiative last night which aims to protect the world’s big cats, starting on their home continent, Africa, but also spanning the world, bringing together governments and NGOs to save these rapidly vanishing creatures.

Along with honorees Branson and Mraz, winners for the evening included Better Off Ted, Brothers & Sisters, The Cove, Food Inc., Disneynature EARTH, The Lazy Environmentalist and Biz Kid$.

Highlights of the evening included a sneak peek at the upcoming 2012, Alanis working her way through Jason Mraz’s extensive list of eco-accomplishments and Cedric the Entertainer’s attempt to get the crowd to relax. I can also say that I hope that Blythe Danner and Sir Richard’s broken limbs heal quickly. What troopers!

Check out this exclusive clip of Jason Mraz performing “I’m Yours”.