by Ingrid Cruz
2019 may have seen record-breaking temperatures and an endless stream of devastating news on climate change, but we can take solace in knowing that many ordinary citizens did what they could to stand up for the environment. Many celebrities, too, used their platform to promote positive change, with some making radical business decisions and others even getting arrested in order to increase awareness of the issues that matter most. Here are some A-listers who stepped up for our planet in the last 12 months.
Jane Fonda and Fire Drill Fridays
Jane Fonda is known for her activism and work. She began speaking out about important issues during the McCarthy era of the United States, when celebrities could be blacklisted for saying anything that seemed subversive. She was arrested around her 82nd birthday alongside other stars, such as: Matt McGorry, of Orange is the New Black, Casey Wilson of Happy Endings, and Catherine Keener of Get Out fame. Other actors such as Ted Danson, Sally Field, and Sam Waterston have also been arrested for their climate change protests at Fonda’s Fire Drill Fridays actions.
The star of Orange is the New Black has been vocal about her support for climate action, attending protests and supporting the Climate Strike led by Great Thunberg and other activist teens around the world.
Concerts and tours are great fun for musicians and fans alike. They allow bands to make a living, stay relevant, and promote their most recent music; but tours and music festivals can have a negative impact on the environment. In the UK, music festivals alone generated 23,500 tons of waste, and an estimated 68% of this was sent directly to landfills.
Music industry moguls have been looking to reduce the use of single-use plastic and other waste, but Coldplay took things up a notch by announcing that they won’t tour unless they can find a way to make their tours carbon neutral. They’re taking time to examine all their options, and possibly use solar power for future shows, as well as playing in venues that don’t use single-use plastic.
In 1989, Sting and his wife Trudie Styler set up the Rainforest Fund. They’ve been working quietly to protect the environment for 30 years now. Sting won a Global Citizen award in 2019 to honor his work throughout the years.
The accomplished actor has been uplifting other environmental justice activists and taking part in his own efforts to promote policies that are environmentally friendly. This year he did his part to spread the word about Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” a resolution that would address climate change by reducing the use of carbon, offering assistance for people who may suffer if the economy changes, and ensuring the US government will invest in the public.
The Academy Award-winning actor has lent her voice to conservation efforts. She supports an end to illegal trafficking of wildlife. The star has used her platform to help the public understand the importance of protecting elephants and their habitats. WildAid, an environmental justice group, even honored her in 2019 for her conservation efforts.
One of the most talented and prolific actors in China, the star is a UN Goodwill Ambassador who has participated in environmental justice causes since 2009. She’s worked with charities, corporations, and other entities to increase awareness about the climate change crisis.
These are only some of the celebrities who did what they could to defend the environment. We hope to see more A-listers use their platforms to raise awareness about climate change.