Environmental Celebrities

There are many different methods of communication that have been used to discuss the environment. These include newspaper articles, blogs, news on television, videos on the internet, public hearings and more. One subset of these communication methods is the usage of celebrities in order to gain popularity for an environmental cause.

I believe that celebrities have a great influence in gaining awareness on environmental issues. These celebrities are in the news for almost everything they do (good or bad) and have many followers that look into these things. One such example of a celebrity doing something negative and gaining attention is Justin Bieber who can get into the news for just asking someone to leave his party and doing other stupid things. A more positive example would be Angelina Jolie getting a double mastectomy which eventually led to many more women testing the BRCA gene.

These celebrities tend to have many admirers that want to be like them. I believe that this is especially true for younger people as they want to grow up and be like their heroes. According to a 2006 study, about 60% of college students surveyed admitted to being influenced by celebrities. In order to see if my views are shared with other people my age, I have interviewed several students that are studying fields that are relevant to this subject. Their views are very similar to mine on the subject.

Two of the students I have interviewed have claimed that they haven’t seen a celebrity endorsement for an environmental cause. The third, claimed that she has seen several celebrities endorse environmental causes which has helped her gain awareness in addition to learning about it in school. I personally have seen one by Will Ferrell, however I have completely forgotten about it until I’ve seen it again in my environmental science course. However, I am not personally too big on what celebrities do in their free time. So, for me, this is not relevant for the most part unless a celebrity does a movie or video on an environmental issue.

I have come across a list of celebrities who are environmentalists as well. Up until seeing this list I didn’t know most of the celebrities listed were environmentalists. One really amazing project that I haven’t heard of until specifically looking at this list was Brad Pitt’s environmentally friendly home community.

One of the students I have interviewed claimed that he was not influenced by celebrities. However after some questioning he admitted that he would have been influenced if the right celebrity would have advocated for an issue. This student mentioned later in the interview that you’d need quite a bit of celebrities to be able to influence people to do what you want. This website displays a list of over 200 names of “green celebrities” which is extremely helpful for raising environmental awareness. I feel like the reason many people have not heard of all of these celebrities as being environmentalists is that the media may not be covering it or that they aren’t giving their message loud enough. Here are some pictures of celebrities and captions on what they do for the earth. I, personally, was surprised to see many of them (that were in the provided link). However, I didn’t grow up watching all of these celebrities and I was never really raised to be influenced by the media.

matt-damonbrad-pittEmma-WatsonWoody-HarrelsonJessica-Alba1

If one would like to maximize the influence of their campaign I would definitely advocate for the usage of celebrities. If a comical campaign by Will Ferell can get over 193 thousand views, I believe a real campaign with the above list of “green celebrities” can have a much greater impact that can make a huge change in the world.


Bryan Fleishman – Junior – Psychology                            Screenshot 2015-03-17 at 11.56.04 PM


TC: What do you already know about the environment?

BF: I know that there is global warming. I know that there is a big concern on whether we’d have enough resources moving towards the future. I know that there already are noticable differences in the earth’s atmosphere and that in the next 40 years our resources will be dwindling everywhere. I know that there is the LEED practice that our university is getting engaged in and it’s good and I’m all for it. I’m trying to be as environmentally friendly as I can

TC: How do you know these things?

BF: How do I know about this? I’ve learned about sustainability tactics just through high school and different things like that and reading the paper which is not environmentally friendly. 

TC: Do you know of any celebrities that have endorsed environmental issues?
BF: I don’t know of any celebrities that have endorsed the environment. I’m sure there are I just can’t think of any off the top of my head.

TC: Do you think an endorsement would help?
BF: I think a celebrity endorsement of an environmental issue would help make sure there is awareness. I don’t know about me I’m not too impacted by pop culture per se. I’m just not big on celebrities. For me it’s a different kind of thing. I do feel like it would help create an awareness for others though. I just feel like it would help create more awareness for other people, just not with me and thats for any topic. I’m a big baseball fan. If Babe Ruth came forward in time and said we should care about baseball for reasons 1,2, and 3 then I would and a lot of others would listen too. But for people not interested they’d need someone from a different background. So, I feel like there would need to be a large variety of celebrities to endorse these things. If you get people invested in a certain thing then it becomes more valuable to them. If you get someone they like then they would at least give it a try. I’m not saying everyone who likes the celebrity would go out and do what the person is saying, but it’s more likely that they would go out and do something if they have a celebrity that they like and admire. God forbid if a celebrity gets cancer, then people who like the celebrity will go out and look up cancer and donate to the cause.


Noah Feingold – Junior – ESE            10694476_10152676262442778_3377911501035649149_o


TC: Where did you learn most of what you know about the environment?

NF: I learned most of it from high school teachers and my own independent research during the first year of college

TC: Did you learn anything from tv and or celebrity endorsements? If so which ones?

NF: Yes, I’ve watched documentaries and features about the environment on TV. No celebrity endorsements tho

TC: Do you think a celebrity endorsement would gain awareness for an environmental issue? For you? For others? 

NF: Possibly for others not for me. Celebrities are not scientists and thus it’s important to separate their views from those professionals. That being said, their status could theoretically bring attention to environmental issues.


Alma Puts – Sophomore – Linguistics  IMG_0823


 

TC: What do you know about the environment and do you feel like you know a lot about it?

AP: I feel like I know more about the environment than the average american does because I am european and we don’t have the whole “we don’t believe in global warming because we’re right wing and we believe that god does blah blah blah.” So basically we have to watch al gore’s movie in schools and our geography classes in high school were like a whole year’s module on global warming. We talked a lot about it in school. But maybe, thats obviously not the only aspect of the environment. 

TC: Did you learn anything from tv and or celebrity endorsements? If so which ones?

AP: Al Gore’s movie. Also Scarlett Johansson did a movie which was oscar nominated about melting in the polar ice and only because it was her that was nominated I kind of watched that movie. Also isn’t morgan freeman narrating an environmental movie. Maybe it was Stephen Fry. Stephen Fry narrates a lot of environmental movies. He is an english person who narrates a lot of things.

TC: Do you think a celebrity endorsement would gain awareness for an environmental issue? For you? For others?

AP: For me its not that I don’t think about environmental issues just because of environmental issues. But it helps that it brings it to the foreground and not the background. It might not make them think about it more, but they’ll be more exposed.

Images from: http://www.babble.com/entertainment/green-celebrities-20-of-our-favorite-eco-friendly-celebs/

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