Editor's note: This week's Ecollywood column was so long that we had to cut it in half. Read the other part, about Zac Efron and Claire Danes' new film.
Oceana’s annual Partners Award Gala honoring Deepak Chopra and Arianna Huffington drew a host of eco-minded celebs to raise money and awareness for ocean conservation. “To change policy you have to act politically and Arianna is that side, and Deepak is the spiritual side of the coin,” commented Oceana founder Ted Danson, who happily related that Wal-Mart has pledged to only buy sustainable fish. “That’s huge. The world is starting to wake up and want to know where the fish they’re eating is coming from.” Danson, who’ll appear on four or five Damages episodes this season, is working on a book about oceans, written “in a way that doesn’t put people to sleep.”
“So much marine life is being depleted. Salmon stocks are near extinction and other fish are also disappearing from bad fishing practices. Coral reefs are being depleted. The oceans are so important,” said avid Oceana supporter Ed Begley Jr. Arriving from a Jay Leno Show appearance, he wasn’t upset about logging the worst time to date in the Green Car Challenge. “I got good fuel efficiency by driving slow,” he pointed out.
January Jones was thrilled to report that her shark-saving media campaign is working: the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 passed in the House and Senate action committee and is ready for vote there. “We’re setting an example for other countries to do the same. Hopefully, I can go and speak internationally,” said the Mad Men star, who will try to do that while making two movies before returning to the Emmy-winning series. “I have a film called The Hungry Rabbit Jumps with Nicolas Cage and Guy Pearce and then I go to Berlin to shoot a film with Liam Neeson,” she told us.
Invited by Bored to Death co-star Danson, Zach Galifanakis (pictured above left with Justin Bartha) admitted he didn’t know that much about Oceana. “I’m here to learn tonight,” he said. His current eco-efforts involve driving a 12-year-old Subaru Outback that gets “decent mileage” and claims to have a trash tube that runs from the top of his stairwell to his basement. “It makes recycling easy and fun.” Especially in demand since The Hangover, Galifanakis is shooting the comedy Due Date with Robert Downey Jr. and will voice Humpty Dumpty in the animated Puss in Boots.
His Hangover co-star Justin Bartha also came for a little education. “I saw The Cove and looked up Oceana’s Web site,” calling what he found “scary. The food source is depleting, the oceans are dirty, and I want to save the world for future generations,” he said. The Prius-driving actor, one of the narrators in History Channel’s recent WWII in HD, will be seen in Holy Rollers, about Jewish gangsters, and The Rebound, a romantic comedy with Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Glee’s Matthew Morrison (pictured right) similarly wanted to get more involved with Oceana after reading about ocean endangerment statistics. An avid cyclist, he bikes whenever possible. “And my car, an Audi A3, is very low emissions,” he said. Glee’s guest list features rapper Eve this week, “and Kristin Chenoweth is going to come back for another episode” when the series returns to Fox this winter.
Reading about plastic pollution in the ocean “awakened something in me -- I had to help,” said Zuleikha Robinson (Lost), who now carries her own glass water bottles and happily reported that Lost “has gotten rid of plastic bottles on set.” She’ll be back in Hawaii this week to continue filming the series’ final season, and while she can’t divulge any plotlines she says we’ll learn a bit more about her character, Ilana, when Lost returns to ABC Feb. 2.
Rachael Harris learned about Oceana from her friend actress Kate Walsh, and changed her habits -- she now buys only sustainable seafood and takes reusable bags to the market to cut down on plastic use, something her good pal Angela Kinsey (The Office), her date for the evening, does as well. “I didn’t realize there were things I could do on a daily basis,” Harris said, adding that if everyone does them, “this problem is fixable in our lifetime.” She guest-starred on Cougar Town last week and may return, she told us. She also plays the mom in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, due out in April.
Longtime Oceana supporter Kelly Lynch does her part on land as well. “I’m a crazy garbage collector. I can’t go out without picking up garbage so I always have gloves and bags on me. I see people throwing stuff out of their cars and I chase them down,” she said. “I drive very rarely. I carpool with friends and walk and bike when I can. It saves so much energy. And I reuse,” added Lynch, who wore a $15 dress she got on eBay to a recent event. Having just finished a role in the movie Kaboom, and about to join Megan Fox and Mickey Rourke in Passion Play, written and directed by her husband Mitch Glazer, she’ll begin a guest arc on 90210 in January as “a hippie music executive mom. I become involved with somebody on the show.”
“When we think about the environment we think about the land or the air, so you’ve got to hold people’s attention longer than if you’re trying to save the forests or the polar bears,” noted Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless, who’s grateful to celebrities for getting the word out. “Two years ago at this event, January Jones asked me how she could help. She came to Washington and lobbied Congress about shark conservation and now it’s on the Senate floor. We’ve also protected about 900,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean from being destroyed by trawling. And we’ve gotten a third of the grocery stores in the United States to post signs warning people about the mercury in tuna,” he pointed out. “It’s real progress.”
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