On The Lighter Side

Earth Day: Top Three Eco-Friendly Celebs

“Green” is definitely stylish in Hollywood right now, too, as earth-friendly celebs get fired up for the planet’s annual day of honor. Here (in no particular order) is a spotlight on the top three most eco-tastic celebs out there:

Leonardo DiCaprio – Talk about your environmental awareness: this guy flies commercial air, drives a hybrid, and has traveled all over the world to speak about global warming, including to Antarctica. In 2007, he released The 11th Hour, a documentary about climate change and the dire state of the planet he wrote, produced, directed, and narrated. He’s even outfitted his house with solar panels, and was recently seen zooming around NYC on a bicycle rather than sitting in a smoggy line of traffic.

Hayden Panettiere – In 2007 Hayden joined a protest off the coast of Japan against dolphin hunting. A year later, she hand-delivered letters of protest to the Norwegian and Japanese ambassadors to the United States, calling for an end to whale hunting. This starlet may just be starting out in Hollywood, but she’s already built a green reputation that outstrips most of her peers.

Ed Norton – This actor deserves high accolades for his accomplishments on behalf of Planet Earth. He is an activist for many causes, including green affordable housing efforts and BP’s Solar Neighbours renewable energy programme, and recently went on Larry King Live to promote the widely successful Earth Hour. He leases a BMW Hydrogen 7 car and is President of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Fund, protecting the ecosystem of Kenya.

The Power of One

A bit of hilarious news: Alaska doesn’t get much action, really, so it’s no surprise that police thought they were pulling over a UFO when they saw a solar car tooling down the road. A citizen dialed 911 upon seeing the vehicle, and police chased it down but didn’t do more than ask him what was up with the crazy car.

He might have responded:The Power of One Solar Car Project, or Xof1 for short, was initially developed with the intention to compete in the prestigious World Solar Challenge. Instead their car set off to break the world distance record for a solar car. The space age looking car weighs roughly 660 lbs (300kg) with driver and the entire top body of the car is covered by solar cells and tops out at 75mph (120 km/hr). The Power of One journeysymbolically began 12 June 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at Seneca College-one of the project’s greatest supporters. The actual drive began in Buffalo, NY. The original plan was to drive the solar car from Buffalo, NY to Inuvik, NT and back to Buffalo, NY. However, according to the project website, communities in Alaska and Washington invited the solar car to visit them and so it did.

In its journey to Los Angeles, it crossed the continental divide 8 times, traveled more than 1,200 miles on gravel roads, took on snow, ice, and the low angle of the Northern hemisphere during the wettest summer of the past 30 years, truly making it one of the most durable solar cars around!

Eco Friendly Hotels

TripAdvisor (http://www.tripadvisor.com) announced its top 10 eco-friendly accommodations, which includes rustic cabins in the forest and digs in the city. Their top three choices are as follows:

  1. Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, Hopkins, Belize – Set on 21 acres of coastal forest, this eco-resort’s green practices ensure that nothing goes to waste, from composting all vegetable and fruit scraps to using old linens as cleaning rags. In addition, the resort’s dive adventures educate guests to minimize the negative impact of human contact with the environment. According to one TripAdvisor traveler, “The fact that the resort advocated reusing towels, limiting sheet changing and using the surrounding natural beauty made us feel that we were contributing to the preservation of Belize.”
  2. 2. Hotel Terra Jackson Hole, Teton Village, Wyoming – Eco-friendly elements abound in the Hotel Terra, literally from floor environmentally-friendly carpets) to ceiling (recycled roof shingles). Organic linens, low-flow toilets and solar-powered faucets can also be found in guest rooms, and even relaxation is green here, with organic spa products, and 100 percent natural mattresses made from recycled and organic materials. As one TripAdvisor traveler said, “We were ushered to our suite and discovered that not only was it the latest in eco-friendly hotels, but incredibly luxurious!”
  3. 3. La Cusinga Eco Lodge, Uvita, Costa Rica – While stunning views of the Pacific are reason enough to visit La Cusinga Eco Lodge, its eco-friendly programmes and commitment to conservation make it all the more appealing. Set in the rainforest, the eco-lodge’s electricity is gene-rated by solar and hydropower, and the water is heated by the Costa Rican sun. Buildings are constructed from re-forested wood and local materials, and rely on natural air currents to cool them. As one TripAdvisor traveler commented, “The organic gardens were my personal favorite, and they use all the fruits and vegetables in their daily meals.”

Compiled by Rutaba Ahmed

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