When it comes to eco-living, Diane Lane is diligent about recycling and conserving water, not letting it run when she brushes her teeth. "I lived off the grid for a while," she says. "I drove a car that ran on vegetable oil for quite a while during the Bush administration." It's also important to her to use her celebrity to bring attention to issues and causes she believes in, which is why she is a big supporter of Heifer International, which provides livestock and animal husbandry education to villages in Africa and Asia. "Their level of success over the years has been impressive," says Lane, who saw it first-hand when she and her daughter traveled to Rwanda. "Seeing how the program worked within the culture was just a lifetime of impact."
Lane returned to Africa with journalist Nicholas Kristof for the PBS Independent Lens documentary "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity For Women Worldwide," based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning best seller by Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. One of six activist actresses taking part including Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes, Olivia Wilde, America Ferrera and Gabrielle Union, Lane visited Somaliland, where one in 12 women dies in childbirth due to poor nutrition and complications resulting from the practice of genital mutilation. There, she and Kristof met Edna Adan Ismail, a women's health advocate who founded a hospital, educates midwives and crusades for reform. "It will live with me forever," Lane says of the experience.
"Half the Sky" premieres Oct. 1 with segments featuring Ryan, Mendes and Union; Lane appears in the second part on Oct. 2, with Wilde and Ferrera.