Green Truths or Consequences

No Nudity in Houston: Alicia Silverstone’s recent ad for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) was unveiled (so to speak) with typical controversy this week. The actress stripped for the commercial spot, emerging from a skinny-dip to utter a 12-step-like tagline: “I’m Alicia Silverstone, and I’m a vegetarian.”  

Comcast, the cable-caster in the Texas town, pulled the PSA because the company didn’t want the display of skin to offend subscribers. Is it too sexy, or did they think the Texans might object to not eating cow? Houston is where the commercial debuted in the U.S., because PETA says it’s among one of the country’s “least healthy cities.”

If you care to see the spot, check out the website where the vegan also provides her favorite recipes, faux leather handbags and shoes, and cruelty-free cosmetics.

More hoopla surrounding the issue is whether the Silverstone is clueless or simply objectifying herself by selling PETA in the buff. Her response? “There’s nothing in the world that’s changed me as much as this. I feel so much better and have so much more energy. It’s amazing.”

Directed by Dave Meyers, who did videos for Dave Matthews and Missy Elliot, the ad supposedly aired in France first, where displays of nudity aren’t frowned upon. Perhaps it was a screen test, of sorts, for the green actor. Or perhaps, cynicism aside, “compassion is beautiful,” as the PETA advert states.

Green Gospel: Pope Benedict XVI had solar panels installed on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome—and may go carbon-neutral at Vatican City, offsetting emissions with trees in a Hungary forest. Will a green Pope mobile be next? His Holiness accepted an invite from UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to speak about sustainable development as a “moral” cause, believing that protecting creation is a duty. Will not recycling soon be considered a sin?

Other eco-minded religious leaders include: Patriarch Bartholomew I of the Orthodox Christians worldwide, called "The Green Patriarch” and winner of the Sophie Prize for environmental protection; Fazlun Khalid, founder/director of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences in Birmingham, U.K.; Rabbi Warren Stone, co-chair of the Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation; and VP of the National Association of Evangelicals, Richard Cizik, who was criticized for taking attention away from abortion and homosexuality. In retort, he said that ecology is "in the scripture. Read the Bible."