Eco-minded celebs, stylemakers and business leaders gathered at Santa Monica’s Loews Hotel for the inaugural Green Lounge, showcasing luxury green products in a festive atmosphere featuring free-flowing organic food and drink. Keynote speaker actress Alicia Silverstone, a longtime vegan and environmental activist, signed copies of her new best-selling cookbook, The Kind Diet, as guests sampled some of her recipes made for the event.
A plant-based diet is “a magical way to heal yourself and be the happiest you’ve ever been in your life and help save the planet at the same time,” said Silverstone, who blogs about eco-issues at TheKindLife.com. She recently partnered with EcoTools to design a line of makeup brushes made with recycled metal and bamboo, plus makeup bags using soy inks. She heads to Broadway later this month to co-star with Laura Linney, Eric Bogosian and Brian Darcy James in Donald Margulies’ new play Time Stands Still. “I’ll be in New York all winter,” she said, “part excited and part sad” to leave her husband and dogs behind in L.A.
Daphne Zuniga told us she makes a point of living and buying as sustainably as possible, and offered her dress as an example: the fabric was made in Bali by women who do traditional silk screening. “It sustains a village,” noted the Prius-driving actress, who recycles, buys local produce, and in general is “buying a lot less” these days. “I just moved and I realized how much stuff I have. So I definitely reduce. I’m leasing a house right now so I don’t have solar or wind now but I absolutely intend to.” She’s also serving on a mayoral advisory board “to revitalize the L.A. River and find a cheap way to prevent flooding. I’ve learned a lot about water,” she said. “It’s a myth that bottled water is cleaner. And all that plastic goes into the ocean and is killing birds and sea life.” Her Website DaphneZuniga.net “is all about stuff like environmental justice and conservation.”
Zuniga will return for a second time to her old Melrose Place stamping grounds in an episode airing in January that reunites her with the newly returned Heather Locklear. “It’s the first time I’ve seen her in several years. We cried,” she related. Meanwhile, Zuniga continues as Brooke’s “evil mother” on One Tree Hill, where she’ll get a love interest, played by recurring guest star Gregory Harrison.
“It’s so exciting that so many businesses are getting on board and trying to be environmentally conscious. We need individuals to make a change in their lives but businesses have an even bigger effect on the environment,” said Vanessa Lengies (Hawthorne), who’d just returned from a camping trip to Joshua Tree. A vegan, she brought along dried packages of Louisiana red beans and rice and Pad Thai she got from a camping supplies store. “You boil water and heat it up, and it seals back up so when you’re done you put your trash inside.” She’s in the market for a new car but may wait a bit -- she’s excited about the Nissan Leaf, a zero-emissions electric model that will be available in late 2010.
It’s Green Week at NBC/Universal, which means the network and its cable partners are airing more than 250 hours of eco-oriented programming across its airwaves and online sites to raise green awareness and encourage environmental change. Highlights include The Office’s Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) becoming the character ‘Recyclops’ (Nov. 19), followed by a cameo appearance by Al Gore in a 30 Rock episode about a network-mandated 5 percent carbon footprint reduction on the set. NBC tells us that the 30 Rock production is actually quite green, with a ban on plastic water bottles, chemical-free cleaning products, compostable products for catering and rented hybrid vehicles for talent and crew.
On NBC’s cable partners, CNBC’s Suze Orman focuses on the green sector of the economy (Nov. 20), Syfy devotes a full day to “Earth in Peril” natural disaster movies on Nov. 22, and the same day, MSNBC’s Future Earth series premieres Jeff Corwin’s documentary 100 Heartbeats, about the damage humans are doing to the environment and people who are working to save endangered species.
“We live up in the mountains and we don’t have a huge footprint at the moment. We live off wells, we have a garden and we’re surrounded by animals,” said Barry Bostwick (Spin City) at the Hollywood premiere of good friend John Travolta’s comedy Old Dogs, opening Nov. 25. A potter by avocation, Bostwick also tries to keep his propane fuel use to a minimum at his ceramics workshop. He has several indie films in the can and recently went to Quebec to shoot a two-hour movie pilot for NBC called The Mountain. “I play a very eccentric archaeologist who brings his niece and her family to the mountain on an adventure to seek out hidden treasure,” he said.
“It’s important to me because it should be important to everyone. This Earth is going to kick us out if we don’t start paying some attention,” says Anastasia Griffith (Trauma), who is passionate about saving the environment. “There is no more important issue to me. I don’t have a car at all right now, though I’m buying a Prius. I buy organic. I decided I’m going to spend my money on companies that are going green. I do yoga and meditation, which are very connected to the Earth,” notes the French-born, U.K.-raised actress, previously best known for Damages, who has been living in San Francisco while shooting the NBC medical drama. She identifies with her character’s strength, feistiness, and being part of a boys’ club. “I come from a family with six big brothers,” she explains. “Being relaxed around guys, I relate to that for sure. I think it’s why I got cast in this role.”
Additional photo credits: Daphne Zuniga by Zuma Press; Barry Bostwick by Rick Mackler/Globe Photos. MNN homepage photo: Globe Photos