Hollywood has its heroes in real life and not just on the screen. I think of celebrities who’ve used their fame and wealth to help others: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, for example, founders of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, dedicated to addressing rural poverty, the protection of natural resources, and wildlife conservation. Recently they donated $1 million to Doctors Without Borders.
And then there are those actors, 700 plus, active in promoting human rights, people like George Clooney, Ben Afleck, Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon and, of course, Brad and Angelina.
The animals aren’t left out either, with more than 100 actors devoting time and money to supporting PETA; among them, Alec Baldwin, Alicia Silverstone, Gillian Anderson, Keanu Reeves, Casey Affleck, Ricky Gervais, Kim Basinger, Paul McCartney, and Pam Anderson. Ellen Degeneres and Denzel Washington are among those supporting Farm Sanctuary.
Perhaps lesser known is Daryl Hannah, passionately committed to charity endeavor and social activism. I came upon her recently in reading her interview with S. Alison Charbonais, editor of Natural Awakenings. You probably saw her in Blade Runner, Steel Magnolias, or Crimes and Misdemeanors.
When not making a film, speaking, or traveling, she lives in this awesome, totally green house, salvaged from an old barn that was to be torn down for a new post office in her small Rocky Mountain community. She relocated the barn, berming it into a hillside offering maximum solar exposure. An ardent vegan, she keeps a garden for growing veggies on a property fed by a spring. With solar power, passive and active, she lives completely “off the grid.” Now here’s an environmentalist I can respect, modeling what she professes, unlike, say, Al Gore, with his five houses, one of them 12000 square feet, and all of them heavily dependent on public utilities.
In contrast, Hannah believes in simplicity, measuring out each action by its consequence: “The more I learn, the more I try to adapt to and adopt a simpler lifestyle.”
Co-founder of the U. S. Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance to help people distinguish between good and bad biodiesel fuels, she drives a car converted to run on alcohol only.
What I especially like is how she touches all the bases, including the emerging population crisis complicating the challenges of global warming. Exponential population has struck me as the forgotten issue, even among environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and Natural Resources Defense Council, perhaps for political reasons:
I’m very concerned that global population has grown from about 3 billion people when I was born to nearly 7 billion now; we are also witnessing mass extinction of species worldwide; there are more enslaved human beings today than at any other time in human history.
Hannah has been arrested three times, on one occasion spending jail time, for protesting environmental degradation. Her most recent arrest occurred last August during a sit-in outside the White House, protesting the Keystone Project that calls for creating an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf coast.
Hannah has this really nifty website, modelling simplicity in its very design LoveLife that offers helpful green solutions.
Daryl Hannah is a femme extraordinaire!