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Apocalypse Cow: Can vegan celebs save the planet?

12/01/09

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On Ecorazzi.com, self-proclaimed provider of green gossip, Paul McCartney and other green celebs offer meat-free Christmas recipes while Cate Blanchett muses on the Copenhagen climate summit.

Ever since Al Gore's 2006 Oscar-winning movie "An Inconvenient Truth" put climate warming at the centre of pop-culture, celebs have scrambled aboard the green campaign by the score.

From the Band Aid concerts to raise funds against famine in Ethiopia, to George Clooney's single-handed crusade against the war in Darfur, and Bono and Bob Geldof's drive against poverty, celebrity advocacy can work.

"We're not just a tree-hugging group, we're the wave of the future," said Kate Bosworth at an Oscars pre-party bash organised by a group called Global Green this year.

"Now it's a central movement that's meant to inspire future generations," said the movie star, in a Loewe dress and Chanel jewellery for an event that drew the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom, Penelope Cruz and Rosario Dawson.

So Peter Fonda is promoting a solar-powered car and Larry Hagman -- best known as J.R., the ruthless oil baron on "Dallas" -- claims to own the nation's largest residential solar powered system... and drive a Toyota Prius Hybrid car and an electric Dodge Gem.

Warming is the new "villain" in the piece in eco-blockbusters rolling out of Hollywood, like Roland Emmerich's "2012" or his "The Day After Tomorrow".

And after shunning the genre for 40 years, Disney this year returned to big-screen nature movies with "Earth", the first of a yearly series of green-friendly titles.

At the Oscars, Global Green's politically-correct, pre-awards green-is-beautiful event is in its sixth year and growing, adding a touch of green glamour to the red carpet event.

Though figures such as Robert Redford and Sting quietly started campaigning for the environment years ago, at Oscars night stars from DiCaprio to Forest Whitaker are shunning gas-guzzling stretch limousines for greener alternatives, hybrids that run on gas/electricity or vehicles that run on bio-fuels.

"A few years ago you'd never see a hybrid or green car at the awards," Alan Shandeling, who heads the California Livery Association, told AFP.

Last year, the US film industry issued a "Best Practices Guide for Green Production" for movies and TV, and the latest 7th season of "24 Hours" claims to have reduced the series' carbon footprint by 43 percent through careful management of transport, lighting and logistics.

"I'm optimistic there will be progress on the environment because consciousness of our connection to the environment is more and more apparent," Sting told AFP. "Everyone's aware now, no one can say it doesn't matter."

"I think we're probably good at planting seeds in people's minds that may bear fruit somewhere down the line," Sting added.

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