The Day Harper Stuck it to…Luxury Gas-Guzzling Ways


Gotta love it when Forbes.com’s Autos section is trying to get celebrities to talk about conspicuous consumption, then the celebs flip the topic to ethical consumption. It happened about a month back when the Entourage cast talked up green car choices (as detailed here); now it has happened again with musician Ben Harper.


The singer/songwriter revealed yesterday that he’s hoping to blend his interest in classic American gas-guzzler vehicles with hybrids. He has a ’64 Buick Riviera that he’s converting to electric or biodiesel, and until that happens, he won’t drive it. (Well, maybe just a little.)

Harper also owns two hybrids: a Toyota Highlander SUV, and a Lexus RX, as he wanted a car with enough room for the kiddos without being to fruity. (To paraphrase) But although he said he doesn’t like to be labeled based on his car choices, Harper also said, “I am into being environmentally aware and focused. I want to be responsible.”

No need to play down the green, Benny…we noticed that he played the eco-friendlier Bonnaroo festival this year, and wasn’t as shy about it then. "The bottom line is, we can all contribute to a higher level in social consciousness, especially environmental awareness," he said in June. Not to mention that Harper is on the soundtrack for the enviro-friendly Arctic Tale.

Ben’s wife, actress Laura Dern, is no environmental slouch herself. She supports the Blue Butterfly program from the Children’s Health Environment Coalition, which is dedicated to creating healthier spaces for younguns by eliminating dangers like pesticides, cleaners, and plastics, and the nonprofit encourages eating organically. She even recorded a clip promoting the program, which aired on the Sundance Channel’s “The Green.” “As a new mom, I started turning to the question of our children’s safety and future,” she explains in the clip. “You actually can control your child’s environment, and you can reduce if not eliminate environmental toxins within your home. With very little shift we can change things, and one of the biggest things on the list is literally just what we clean our house with.”

And together, the Earth-friendly couple has protested to save an L.A. community farm, along with green queen Darryl Hannah and the Green Party. In the wave of cynical Live Earth backlash, a lot of celebs are under fire as bandwagon-hoppers, but this pair appears genuine in their environmental concerns. I’d bet the farm on it.

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