Editor's note: This week's Ecollywood column was so long, we split it in two. Read the other half, about our red carpet encounters at the Autism Speaks fundraiser.

Actress Gabrielle Union is going green, with the help of her younger sister. “She lives with me, and she’s of that younger generation -- she recycles everything,” Union explains. “She came in and changed the whole operation. She doesn’t let the water run. She fills a bucket in the sink and uses it to water plants and wash the car. She’s made me more conscious,” says Union, who joins the cast of ABC’s FlashForward this week (Oct. 8) as a criminal defense attorney named Zoe, the fiancée of John Cho’s character Demetri. While her glimpse into the future is “life affirming, he hasn’t shared with her that he doesn’t see anything in his.” For now, she says, “ignorance is bliss.”

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“If there’s a greener show on the air than Dirty Jobs I don’t know what it is. After 230 jobs, half of them were green,” says Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel series who believes, “The greenest people on the planet are covered in brown, whether it’s dirt or poo.” Several upcoming episodes have green themes, including the recycling of porcelain toilets into concrete for road use, says Rowe, whose dirtiest job so far was getting a broken pump out of a waste water treatment plant. “We handle feces from many species on the show. It doesn’t get any easier but the smell, in time, abates,” says the deep-voiced Rowe, also the narrator of The Deadliest Catch, who has done a few dirty jobs too morbid to make it on the air, he reports: embalmer, crime scene cleaner, and body farm technician.

Although he’s rarely home -- “I was on the road 300 days last year,” he notes -- Rowe turns out lights when he leaves the house, uses a wood stove, and conserves water, following a familiar principle: “When it’s yellow, let it mellow. When it’s brown, flush it down.”

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TV stars showed off a different set of talents at the ninth annual Les Girls cabaret benefiting the National Breast Cancer Coalition. “This show is real risqué so it’s a whole lot of fun -- everybody gets wasted and has a ball,” said Loretta Devine, who lost her good friend Danitra Vance to breast cancer. Set to appear in a 1960s-set Cold Case episode Nov. 18 and as Chris Rock’s mom in Death at a Funeral in April, with additional Grey’s Anatomy episodes possible, Devine gets around town in “a tiny little BMW that doesn’t take a lot of gas,” she told us before singing “Sweet Home Cookin’ Man” in the show.

Mad Men’s Bryan Batt (pictured right), who performed a sweet little ditty at the fundraiser, confided that his mother has survived double bouts with breast and lung cancer. “She’s a steel magnolia,” said Batt, who’s from New Orleans and lives there part-time. “I eat local seafood and shop at the farmers market,” he noted. “And Whole Foods, they have a lot of local produce.”

Busy Philipps (Cougar Town) scored with the Bette Midler number “Otto Titslinger,” the saga of the creator of the “over the shoulder boulder holder,” while Ty Burell of Modern Family hilariously dueted with himself on “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” after co-stars dropped out to attend a Dancing With the Stars taping on network orders. Burell, who stars with Harrison Ford, Jeff Goldblum and Rachel McAdams in next summer’s Morning Glory as “a smarmy guy who gets fired,” relishes playing his “well-intended” TV character. “He screws things up, but he really tries,” summed up the actor, whose carbon footprint reduction plan includes buying local foods from farmers markets and remodeling his home with sustainable materials. “We put in an eco-friendly water system and xeriscaped our house with drought-tolerant plants.”

 

“I’m very careful about recycling my trash. That’s the least any of us can do,” said event host Holland Taylor (pictured left),  who has lost several friends to breast cancer. “I don’t think there’s anybody in the world who isn’t touched by it,” she mused. Now in the seventh season of Two and a Half Men, she marveled how much the titular ‘Half,’ Angus T. Jones, has grown. “He’s taller than I am, which is an outrage. And he’s got hairy legs!” she exclaimed.

Having lost a cousin to breast cancer, Rochelle Aytes (The Forgotten) made her second Les Girls appearance looking far more glamorous than her TV detective character. “She’s a tough chick and I’ve got that side to me,” said Aytes, who also has a role in the new DVD-released scare flick Trick r Treat and upcoming thriller My Place in the Horror. A New Yorker, she’s become more eco-conscious since moving to Los Angeles. “I recycle and don’t leave the water running. We’re in a drought,” she noted.

“You’re going to know someone in your lifetime that’s affected by this disease,” said Melissa Peterman, whose friend’s mother is a breast cancer survivor. “We’ve come a long way with treatments and options but we can do more,” she said, before performing a burlesque version of Madonna’s Hanky Panky, her fourth Les Girls appearance. The host of CMT’s The Singing Bee is from a two-hybrid household (Prius and Lexus), keeps multiple cloth shopping bags in her car, uses Tupperware for her kids’ school lunches, carries a metal water bottle, and doesn’t have air conditioning at home. “We have a nice cross breeze,” she said.

  

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Set your DVRs for two new Planet Green series. The 100 Mile Challenge asks six families in the town of Mission, British Columbia, to consume only food and beverages produced within a 100-mile radius for 100 days -- which means no coffee, tea, beer, rice, chocolate, peanut butter and many other comestibles. The first of six episodes premieres Oct. 12. What would happen if honeybees or coral reefs disappeared? Nature Inc. explores such hypothetical scenarios and the value of nature in the world economy for six episodes premiering Oct. 13.

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Additional photo credits: Bryan Batt and Holland Taylor by Lisa Rose.

MNN homepage photo: WENN