Ecollywood: Dancing with the Stars contestants reveal their eco-secrets
We hit the red carpet at a recent fundraiser to get the scoop from ABC and HBO stars about how they're going green.
Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 05:19 AM
ALL THE RIGHT MOVES: Dancing partners Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas are both doing their part to save the planet. (Photos: Gerri Miller)
Editor's note: This week's Ecollywood column was so long, we split it in two. Read the other half, about Paula Zahn and the World Magic Awards. Yes, you read that correctly.
Stars from ABC and HBO shows shared their carbon footprint reduction strategies at the GLSEN Respect Awards, handed out by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an organization that focuses on ensuring safe environments at schools for all students. “It puts a spotlight on making youth aware that it’s OK to be different,” said Michael Maloney of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, noting that the event “raises awareness and is going to save a lot of lives.” On his series, Maloney said: “We’re bringing in green elements in every single show, and for every one you see on the air there are probably 10 that you don’t. We just put in the most amazing purification system made out of recycled materials, but it probably won't be seen on the show,” he noted. At home, Maloney is conscientious about turning off water and lights, and using one tissue instead of two. “Waste makes me crazy,” he said.
“I’ve recycled since I was 12 years old,” said Melissa Joan Hart, one of several Dancing With the Stars dancers to attend. “I try to limit water and power use, and we’re about to start composting at our new place in Connecticut.” Her pro partner Mark Ballas told us he quit bad habits like leaving shower and tap water running, and is more diligent “about lights and unplugging things.” The duo had rehearsed for six hours the day of the event. ”I knew it was going to be physically rigorous; I didn’t know how mentally tough it was going to be,” admitted Hart, still jittery about the competition. "I’ve got to loosen up, lose the nerves," she said.
Kelly Osbourne (pictured right, with Louis Van Amstel) is also trying to overcome DWTS nervousness. “I was under the impression that it would get easier each week, but it doesn’t because each week is a new dance and I don’t know any of them,” she said, adding that she’s coping by “focusing on each week and not worrying about what’s going to happen next but what’s going to happen now.”
“We see it as a marathon, not a sprint,” added her pro partner Louis Van Amstel, who called her Viennese Waltz performance “one of the most special moments of the entire nine seasons.” At rehearsal, Van Amstel is constantly making sure the bathroom light is off,” reported Osbourne, who recently bought his-and-hers electric scooters with her fiancé Luke Worrall. Van Amstel is also careful to turn off the air conditioning when he leaves the house. “It’s saving energy and money,” he said.
Recently eliminated pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy echoed that point: “I recycle, I turn off the water and lights. It was instilled in me ever since I was little in Russia. It wasn’t about being eco-friendly, it was how expensive everything was,” he said, noting that he was sad to leave when he and Debi Mazar were voted out. “We had an amazing time together,” he noted. He’ll still appear this season in pro dance sequences while developing other projects and tending to his dance schools in New York.
Cheryl Burke (pictured left), also ousted early when partner Tom DeLay quit due to two foot stress fractures, will also turn up in pro dances but has other things to keep her busy, including three California dance studios (in San Francisco and Laguna Niguel) and a clothing company called Fit Couture. “We’re coming out with a new line where everything will be made of bamboo,” she said. “It’s important to save the environment, and we can start with how we change the way we live and what we wear.”
“I have solar panels on my house for my pool and I’m a very adamant recycler. I have a Prius. I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time. But I’m not Ted,” said Jason Schwartzman, referring to his environmental activist Bored to Death co-star Ted Danson, who has educated him about ocean conservation. “Every little bit helps,” believes Schwartzman, who’ll return to New York in February to shoot season two of Bored, which provides him with some vicarious thrills. “I enjoy being heroic and having adventures and I don’t get to have too many of them in my own life so it’s fun when my character is knocking down doors and grabbing women and kissing them,” he explained.
Michelle Forbes keeps her energy output low by driving as little as possible, or getting hybrid-owning friends to drive her. “And I’m a Nazi about recycling,” added the In Treatment and True Blood actress, whose character Maryann suffered a grisly demise on Blood. She’s heading to Detroit to shoot Highland Park with Danny Glover and Parker Posey.
“We have recycle bins in the kitchen and in the garage, we’re trying to mulch, and we use earth-friendly cleaning products,” Grey’s Anatomy’s Chandra Wilson (pictured right) told us. This week, her Dr. Bailey character does double duty, also appearing on Private Practice in a crossover episode “My patient needs a procedure that can only be done in L.A., and I go with her," she explained. Wilson also directed the episode of Grey’s that will air Oct. 29.
Diligent about recycling, composting, using refillable glass water bottles and turning unused lights off, Paul Adelstein is from a two-hybrid family. “My wife drives a Prius, I drive a Highlander,” said the Private Practice star, who serves on the board of the Oakland-based Center For Environmental Health and touted its successes. “They’ve done things like get the lead out of children’s toys,” he noted.