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Hollywood may have a reputation for superficiality, but there are plenty of celebs who care about more important things than the latest diet craze. The actors, musicians and businesspeople listed below have their priorities straight; because of their eco-friendly choices and outspoken environmental activism, the world is gradually becoming a cleaner, greener place.

Check out our picks for 9 celebs who are all about renewable energy. Thanks to their open support of alternative fuels, solar power, wind energy and more, we’re all learning more about the dangers of depending on fossil fuels.

Ed Begley, Jr.

Ed Begley, Jr. utilizes both wind and solar energy to power his eco-friendly life.Ed Begley, Jr. is living the epitome of a green Hollywood lifestyle, from his electric car to his line of earth-friendly cleaning products. But Begley does more than just walk the walk; he talks the talk, too. The outspoken activist is a huge supporter of renewable energy, and in the past has urged Facebook to “unfriend” coal energy, supported solar energy company Sungevity, and helped out the Sierra Club in a “Beyond Oil” campaign.

“I know that renewable energy works. How do I know that? Because I’ve been using it for quite a while. I know that wind power works, because I’ve owned a windmill in the California desert since 1985. My small share in that wind farm has put out 10 homes’ worth of power…I know that solar hot water works…It’s certainly been heating my water since 1985. I know that solar electric works. How do I know that? Because it’s been making my electricity since 1990…These things work. We need to embrace them as quickly as possible,” he says.
Photo credit: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Daryl Hannah

Daryl Hannah lives off the grid and supports biodiesel and permaculture projects.Actress Daryl Hannah is passionate about living a green, sustainable lifestyle, and never compromises her beliefs — even if that means getting arrested! And that’s exactly what happened last summer, when Hannah was cuffed outside the White House for protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. She has also participated in eco-symposiums to fight dependence on fossil fuels, auctioned off her bio-diesel powered El Camino, and financially supported a film set to expose the fossil fuel industry.

In 2010, Hannah participated in a two-week permaculture course because she thinks it’s a key way to living more sustainably. “Obviously, we are facing a time of great crises; we are in the middle of probably the biggest extinction in recorded history. We are pretty much at peak oil (use) and we have over-population. Permaculture is one of the best tools that I know in terms of understanding our place within that system and still do the things we need to do, like grow food and collect water…(It’s) a more sane way of living in harmony with our environment,” she said.
Photo credit: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com 

Sir Richard Branson

Richard Branson supports alternative fuel methods to foster the global economy.Longtime eco-activist Richard Branson is seriously invested in saving the planet. Over the past few years, he’s lent his support to numerous causes, including tiger conservation, lemur safety and the fight against shark finning. But he cares about more than just animals; climate change and renewable energy are also big concerns. At the beginning of the year, he traveled to Antarctica as part of the Climate Reality Project, and in the past pushed for low-emission shipping alternatives.

Branson is also convinced that there can be a balance between a successful economy and green energy sources. “We must find ways to replace the world’s reliance on oil and other carbon-intensive fuels and yet still foster the continuing growth and development of the world’s economy. We don’t believe the two are mutually exclusively, and that, in fact, they are critically linked. The answer lies in much more [of an] investment in renewable energy, much better focus on sustainable fuels, must deeper research in technology to reenergize the economies of the world. These are tough tasks and ones that require action from all parties. By mobilizing companies, by mobilizing government and NGO’s to work together, we will address these challenges and we will find lasting global solutions,” he said in 2010.
Photo credit: Phil Stafford / Shutterstock.com 

Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson uses biodiesel and solar panels to support his green lifestyle.Woody Harrelson is as well-known for his environmentalism as he is for his offbeat movie roles. The longtime vegan is a big supporter of alternative energy sources; he supports everything from biodiesel to solar power. The star lives on a working farm in Maui, complete with biodiesel tractor, but he doesn’t stop there. In the past, he’s raised money for — via poker tournament — for the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, lent his support to a tree-free paper company, and even traveled to set in a sustainable bus, complete with solar panels.

And while he admits he’s not perfect, he says that it’s easy for us all to do our part to help the planet. “I’m not perfect by any stretch. I have a big footprint, I fly a lot. But it’s not so hard. You get some solar panels, you live in a place where there’s sun. You try to not go in and get a new paper or plastic bag every time you go to the store. I think really it’s just about individuals making positive choices, buying green cleansers, bringing your cloth bag, buying recycled toilet paper. To be conscious of your footprint, I think, is the number one thing, and then it’s not really a revolution, it’s evolution, and you can evolve depending on the degree to which you care. There’s a lot of big issues and it’s not going to be an instantaneous change. I just think that the number one thing is to alter the way we fuel ourselves personally, and our society will be the biggest key to changing where we’re at right now.”
Photo credit: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett is an investor in the solar panel company Sungevity.Aussie superstar Cate Blanchett is a master at living green and utilizing renewable energy sources. A few years ago, she invested in solar power company Sungevity, and within three years, it raised $15 million in new funding, allowing it to spread beyond its home state of California. Blanchett supports more than just solar power, though. Last fall, she unveiled one of the world’s largest rainwater capture systems at the Sydney Theater Company, which is expected to save 3 million gallons annually.

She also tussled with the Australian government over her support of a carbon tax plan designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Blanchett was criticized for using her fame to make her voice heard above the “ordinary people,” and she didn’t hesitate to fire right back. ”Everyone will benefit if we protect the environment. There is a societal cost of increased pollution and that’s what I’m passionate about as a mother. That’s where it gets me in the gut. I can’t look my children in the face if I’m not trying to do something in my small way and to urge other people. Yes, I’ve been fortunate in my career but that’s no reason not to stand up for something that I deeply believe in,” she said.
Photo credit: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com 

Ian Somerhalder

Ian Somerhalder wants to green the "Vampire Diaries" set by using eco-friendly generators.It’s getting hard to tell what Ian Somerhalder is more famous for: his steamy role on the “Vampire Diaries” or his never-ending environmental activism. The U.N. Ambassador for the environment has undertaken nearly every role possible in his role as conservationist, including speaking before Congress, fighting the implementation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, cleaning up the state of California, promoting alternative agriculture, and pushing for his TV character to live a greener lifestyle.

Somerhalder is even doing his part to green the “Vampire Diaries” set, by supporting GoGreen Mobile Power energy generators, which are an eco-friendly alternative to traditional gas generators. “It takes a lot of power to run a movie set. We go through a lot of fuel. It’s harmful, and we can start changing that a little bit. We can get rid of these noisy, stinky, disgusting gas generators. There’s going to be a lot of thought that goes into this revolution that’s going to happen,” he said.
Photo credit: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

 Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz's home is entirely solar powered. Singer Jason Mraz is a huge proponent of being kind to the planet, which for him, means maintaining a vegan diet, making environmentally conscious choices, and relying on renewable energy sources whenever possible. In 2010, he spoke about the importance of reducing one’s carbon footprint by voting for leaders who support eco-friendly legislature. He also lent his support to the Copenhagen Climate Conference, blogged about the immediacy of global warming, and created a home that runs on solar energy.

“Our system will allow us to run both the house and studio on sun power alone, even on cloudy days, eliminating yet another consuming property from the power grid. With the sun estimated to burn another 5 billion years, I’m stoked about my energy independence. In addition to having a 0.00 electric bill, my solar system will at times send energy back into the grid, reducing the amount of coal or nuclear energy required to keep Southern California illuminated. (The meter on the house actually runs backward when this happens.) San Diego isn’t yet paying for the energy I have to share, but there is a possibility of donating the excess energy to other households,” he said about the installation of his solar array.
Photo credit: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

Pierce Brosnan

Environmental activist Pierce Brosnan has one of the most eco-friendly homes in the U.S.He may be more well known for his role as James Bond than for his eco-activism, but don’t be fooled — Irish actor Pierce Brosnan is serious about protecting the planet. In 2008, he was inducted into Environmental Hall of Fame as a “dedicated environmental activist.” As we reported in in 2010, Brosnan and his wife have donated more than $1 million to environmental projects, including, “protecting marine life, conserving wetlands, pursuing clean air and water campaigns and partnering with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to prevent Navy sonar systems from being deployed since they are notorious for pushing already endangered seafaring creatures species over the brink into extinction…[Brosnan] also holds a position on Oceana’s Ocean Council, is a member of the Sea Shepherd’s Board of Advisors and has been a long-term UNICEF Ireland ambassador.

To top it off, the Brosnan family lives in what might be one of the most eco-friendly houses in the U.S. The Malibu mansion’s features include:

 Photo credit: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Alicia Silverstone

Alicia Silverstone's California home includes a solar array and an organic garden.Actress Alicia Silverstone is already well-known for her animal-rights support and vegan diet. But the star is also a big proponent of protecting the environment and supporting renewable energy initiatives. Her website, The Kind Life, features an “environmental” tab, where Silverstone discusses everything from water conservation to eco-friendly makeup brushes. Her L.A. home contains a rooftop solar array and an organic vegetable garden, and she regularly dispenses green advice, such as “avoid disposable items whenever possible” and “use the blank sides of scrap paper for notes and lists before recycling the paper.”

Silverstone also strives for green perfection, as much as she can. “I try to be environmentally responsible in everything I do and everything I bring into my life. Every time I make a decision, I think, ‘How is this going to affect the environment?’ So if I need mouthwash, I’m not going to buy a huge plastic bottle filled with toxins — I’m going to look for a brand that uses clean ingredients and comes in a recycled bottle. I do the same thing when I make other decisions about my health, home, and food. I really think hard about what is the most responsible choice,” she says.
Photo credit: Featureflash / Shutterstock.com 

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We hope this list inspires you to take a look at your own lifestyle —  is there room for eco-improvement in your day-to-day living? Whether it’s shopping with reusable grocery bags, installing solar panels on your house, or investing in a wind farm or electric car, we can all do our part to help save the planet.

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About China DeSpain

China DeSpain is a San Antonio-based writer and blogger. She loves pop culture, animal rights, health and fitness, international travel, books and wigs. Follow China on Twitter: @ChinaDeSpain

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  • http://twitter.com/alisonmf Alison Foxall

    This is awesome, we’re huge fans of solar power.

  • http://twitter.com/kitchenaire Jon Jonson

    You are fucking taking the piss right? These celebs with their GIANT homes are idols for us re: energy? Other than Ed Begley they’re all frauds