Lifestyles of the Green and the Famous

Pro sports go green

This past Saturday, Bon Jovi performed a free concert in Central Park as part of the festivities for baseball’s All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Sixty thousand fans on NYC’s Great Lawn helped the National Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) “Green Team” of 60 volunteers (that’s one per 1,000 attendees!) packing giant recycling bags with bottles and cans not already jammed into recycling bins.

Tuesday’s game, starring the Yanks’ Derek Jeter and news-trodden A-Rod playing with rival Red Sox against Chicago’s Cubs and others, is going to be eco-friendly thanks to the NRDC’s work with Major League Baseball (MLB), powering the ballpark with renewable wind energy, offering hybrid shuttles for fans, and giving away 700,000 reusable tote bags.

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Bush’s sewage plant, Hurricane Bertha, and fuel from wine

If you took in some fireworks displays this Independence Day, chances are they were all sorts of colors—but not so green. Future July 4ths may be more eco as researchers develop nitrogen-rich fireworks instead of toxic pyrotechnics filled with perchlorate, barium, and copper.

Celebrating Independence Day in a different light, San Franciscans gathered more than the 100,000 signatures required to get an initiative on the November ballot for renaming a water treatment plant after the President in honor of his $3 trillion deficit and other dubious achievements. Looks like it could pass, so to speak. Organizers for the ceremony for the George W. Bush Sewage Plant, scheduled for inauguration day, Jan. 20, 2009, plan to wave a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

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Exxon gets a slap on the wrist, green airports, and online eco petitions

Last week, as gas prices soared along with oil company profits, the U.S. Supreme Court knocked almost 80% off Exxon’s punitive damages for the 1989 Valdez oil spill of 11 million gallons in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Instead of $2 billion in damages, they’ll pay out $500 million – a fraction of the company’s profits last year. The Sierra Club Chronicles, on the Sundance Channel’s The Green, is a 7-part series featuring individual’s efforts to protect the environment, including a devastated community of fishermen that puts the 16 years since the Exxon Valdez spill into perspective.

Though he plays Danny Crane, an arch conservative on ABC-TV’s Boston Legal, William Shatner just produced a PSA for the Sierra Club's "Be Part of the 2% Solution" (to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050), a comprehensive action scientists believe may curb the consequences of global warming. Danny DeVito also shows up in an ad with the cast of his TV show, saying: “What happens when It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia  (and Antarctica)?” Others lending their mugs and support behind the effort: actor David Straithairn (Good Night and Good Luck) and Diane Farr (CBS-TV’s Numb3rs). Sign the petition to get behind David, Diane, and the two Dannys.  

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Green (and not-so-green) Summer movies

Green themes in this summer’s movies range from M. Night Shyamalan's eco-thriller, The Happening, starring Mark Wahlberg and John Leguizamo, and The Incredible Hulk with Ed Norton, who embedded eco concepts into the script. See National Geographic Adventure’s interview with this solar advocate on how much further showbiz has to go with greening. At the box office this weekend, Pixar’s Wall-E stars robots left to clean up human trash in a world wracked with over-consumerism. If the marketing campaign’s Wall-E Kleenex boxes of post-consumer waste isn’t ironic enough, how about the merchandising of plastic action figures, clothing, and bed sheets?

The L.A. Film Festival, currently underway, shifted gears from 2007’s “Green Day,” (which featured eco films and info booths) to behind-the-scenes greening: catering with organically grown produce from local farms and using biodiesel-fueled generators. It also boasts recycling paper, glass, and plastic (is that even worth mentioning?); eco-friendly inks (nice); and carbon offsets by TerraPass. Partnering with NBC Universal, the fest closes June 19 with Hellboy II: The Golden Army, a supposed eco-friendly-ish production (its viral website, Humans for the Ethical Treatment of Fairies, Elves and Trolls calls for a stop to old-growth tree logging). Note: Paper or Plastic?, screening this week, is about grocery baggers, not the BYOB (bring our own bag) issue.

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Brokaw on Letterman, Al Gore’s latest project, and more buzz on green celebs

Tom Brokaw appeared on David Letterman last week to chat up his book, Boom! Voices of the Sixties. While speaking of his bike-riding Italian vacation, Brokaw was asked by Dave why Congress didn’t get the Climate Control bill signed, adding that the government should lead the way. Brokaw responded: “Those of us who drive big carbon-emitting vehicles or fly in airplanes that have only two passengers…well, some tough decisions have to be made.”  Letterman, quipped, “It’s not the greenhouse gasses, it’s the White House gasses.” Badump-bump. Maybe they should try Derrie Air (that’s the real name!), the world's only carbon-neutral luxury airline, which claims: “You don't have to choose between living the high life and saving the planet.”

Al Gore’s latest effort, the “We Can Solve It” ads with folks like Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich, are now taking your suggestions for an "Unlikely Alliance”—pairs of people who disagree on everything but global warming. So far, ideas include: Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. My odd couple? Media moguls Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner.

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Issue 25

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