Ecorazzi’s Rainforest Editorial Series is brought to you by Hello Green Tomorrow, the Avon Product Inc. campaign to plant a future and help end deforestation.
The great rainforests once covered some 14% of the planet. Today, that number has shrunk to less than 6%.
We’ve all seen the good work celebrities can do in using their fame to draw attention to worthy causes. Below are ten passionately involved in raising awareness for organizations and initiatives on the ground striving to save the “lungs of the earth”.
1. Ian Somerhalder
“Vampire Diaries” star Ian Somerholder is all about saving the Rainforest. In fact, he has his very own foundation dedicated to the cause! Aptly named, The Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) is a non-profit organization which tackles things like teaching kids about renewable energy, saving animals, and of course, our very special and highly endangered Rainforests.
The website, ISFoundation.com, reveals the frightening facts about the impact deforestation will have on us not nationally, but globally. For instance, 36% of the species on earth are at risk of extinction, and 1/3 of all pharmaceutical drugs are derived from the very same plants that are disappearing at a rapid rate, which can result in the loss of one major new drug every 2 years.
The ISF works to make sure everyone understands that nature “does not behave independently. It works in unison with all its elements,” and that we do everything in our power to spread the word about our rapidly disappearing Rainforest, as well as the animals who dwell in it. A contest to design an official t-shirt for the foundation is currently underway and will end September 9th.
Ian recently took a trip to visit Australia’s rainforests with Vampire Diaries co-star Nina Dobrev.
The famous English musician and his wife Trudie Styler are both huge advocates for the protection of the Rainforest, starting the Rainforest Foundation International (RFI) in 1989. The two began this project when they witnessed the destruction of the Amazon and how it affected the indigenous tribes of the area, and have not stopped their efforts of fundraising and doing all they can to make sure these people are able to live freely and safely in their natural environment.
By pairing up with those who dwell in the region, or as RFI refers to them, the “indigenous partners,” the foundation is able to work closely to address the needs and concerns of the people, protect their rights and environment, and educate those throughout the world on how important this region is not only for its renewable resources, but for those who call it home.
The singer also held a Rainforest Fund benefit concert in May 2010 which included other notable musicians such as Lady Gaga and Elton John.
3. Marion Cotillard
Last year, this famous actress made her web documentary debut when she traveled to the Congo with Greenpeace in order to raise awareness about the Rainforests. The 7-episode series alerted viewers about the incessant plundering of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s rainforests, exposing how logging companies illegally (and unfairly) trade large scale amounts of timber with the locals, cheating them out of much needed resources “in exchange for a few bags of salt.”
Marion witnessed the unfair practices, noting that the wood is often times sold for a high price, but those who work hard and risk their lives to produce the resource are paid less than a dollar a day.
4. Prince Charles
Possibly one of the world’s biggest advocates for the protection of the Rainforest, The Prince’s Rainforest Project (PRP), started in 2007, holds the motto “Working to make the forests worth more alive than dead.”
According to the website, the project has two main focuses: “The first, to identify appropriate incentives to encourage rainforest nations to slow their deforestation rates. The second, to raise awareness of the link between rainforests and climate change.”
Since the rainforests are responsible for the absorption of nearly one-fifth of all man-made CO2 emissions, Prince Charles is right to fear that the rapid destruction of the forests will cause a dangerous build up of the gas, resulting in climate changes that will affect everyone — people, animals, vegetation — there will be no hiding from the negative consequences that result from them.
Prince Charles hopes to make deforestation a thing of the past by putting a stop to the harsh practice, as well as enlighten communities on how they too can be apart of the movement by using safer, productive alternatives, and help spread the awareness.
5. Vivienne Westwood
Her name says it all! Dame Vivienne Westwood is a huge advocate of all forests — whether they’re in the Amazon or the UK — and works hard to promote awareness of the land’s dwindling resources.
Not only is she a large contributor in The Prince Charles Project, but in 2009 as part of the effort of Rainforest Nations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, she paired up with Anvil Knitwear to create a line of t-shirts to help spread the word environmental awareness.
On the design, Westwood stated, “I am so glad to have had the opportunity to do this tiny, tiny thing – design a T-shirt – every little bit helps,” explains Westwood. “‘Act fast, slow down and stop climate change’ – that’s the message. We must all commit ourselves. Say ‘yes’ to the rainforest.”
6. Pamela Anderson
PETA queen Pamela Anderson is no stranger to trying to save the earth. A huge animal rights advocate, she makes it known how crazy about protecting the creatures of the earth she is — which includes their native homes.
Just last year, the former Baywatch star spoke out for seals and climate changes in a Save Our Planet ad, and even wrote a letter of appeal to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to bring about a call to action to help spare the seal pups, whose habitat is being detrimentally affected by global warming, making their survival even more of a struggle than it is now.
Needless to say, it’s hard not to notice Ms. Anderson’s giving nature. In fact, back in April of this year, that’s exactly what she did. For Vivienne Westwood’s 70th birthday, Pamela Anderson literally gave nature. Pairing up with British charity ‘Cool Earth,’ a 70-acre plot of rainforest was put back in the hands of the indigenous communities in Vivienne’s honor, saving it from further deforestation.
7. James Cameron
Notable filmmaker James Cameron tried a different approach to saving the rainforest — with the Avatar franchise.
The director made it known that the Avatar movie was based on the Brazilian rainforest and the struggles the indigenous people of the land endure. However, Cameron only used computer graphics to design the setting out of fear that “filming within the rainforest would harm the environment.”
Without being too preachy, Cameron was able to dazzle audiences with the story of the battle of the Na’vi against the mineral corporation set on mining their resources until there’s nothing left, (to of course, entertain viewers in a cinematic sense) but also to hopefully spark “moral outrage” amongst them, and parallel the similarities between the fictional CGI-created struggle, and the one that happens to the real, rainforest-dwelling people.
Since the movie, the director has since visited the Amazon twice and met with indigenous people after leaders saw ‘Avatar,’ and hoped to use Cameron as a vehicle to spread the plight of those whose land is in dangerous shape due to similar, real-life practices conveyed by the film.
The Avatar website continues to keep fans up to date on environmental issues, and even sponsored the planting of a million trees around the world for Earth Day.
8. Lily Allen
Last year, the pop superstar visited the Amazon in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to help get rainforest conservation back on the conscience of Britain.
The singer took a 5 day trip to Brazil in order to see first-hand the destruction of the area and visit the people directly affected by it. Amongst her travels in the forest, the pop star also visited a condom factory, which employs nearly 500 people, but also encourages the use of ‘wild rubber tapping,’ the practice of utilizing a tree’s resources without having to destroy it.
Although Lily, 25, wants to do everything she can to promote a more green lifestyle, she also states that it’s rather hard to in a place like London. “I’ve tried to put solar panels on my house, but it’s listed so they won’t let me. I want to recycle, but Westminster Council never deliver the recycling bags – it drives me mad! At my dad’s house in Stroud we are much more eco. It’s just that you can’t be like it all the time, can you?”
Lily praises the efforts of the Sky Rainforest Rescue, which invites any and all to donate three Euro a month to sponsor an acre of forest, or twenty Euro to save 1,000 trees. Because of the massive size of the rainforest, Lily is aware that this is clearly not enough. However, all money raised can go towards organizations like the WWF to support educational programs and encourage sustainable business, so that those who think it’s all just about donating money can be informed of the real dangers that will result should the rainforest meet its end.
9. Richard Branson
When it comes to nature, Richard Branson is always willing to lend a hand. The British actor has visited a number of rainforests, including those in Costa Rica and Bali, and is a staunch supporter of The Prince’s Rainforest Project — he was even featured as the ‘supporter of the week!’
In a video interview, Branson claims that while deforestation affects us all now, he finds himself always thinking of his children, and his grandchildren, and what kind of world they’ll be living in if the destruction continues.
Branson is aware of all the basic reasons as to why we should save the rainforest, but he emphasizes one in particular: beauty. “It’s too sad to see this really beautiful world we live in be destroyed, so we have to do something about it.”
He makes it a point to say how ‘those of us in the west’ are impart to blame for the continuing practices of deforestation, so it’s only fair that it be our responsibility to help restore it.
10. Sigourney Weaver
Weaver, 61, is a long-time environmentalist known well for her passionate support of causes benefiting the planet and animals alike. Besides being an honorary chairperson for The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, she’s accompanied James Cameron on his visits to protest the destructive Belo Monte dam project. She’s also narrated green documentaries such as “Acid Test” and the stunning Discovery series “Planet Earth”.
This past June, Weaver was awarded the prestigious Rachel Carson Award at the 2011 National Audubon Society Women in Conservation Luncheon.
Hello Green Tomorrow is the global commitment of Avon Products, Inc. to help end deforestation – a crisis that endangers the well-being of the planet and the survival of all living creatures. While the global mobilization and fundraising rolls on, Avon is focused on environmental stewardship throughout the business enterprise.