The Oscars and Independent Spirit Awards weren’t the only awards game in town last weekend -- the National Hispanic Media Coalition honored Latinos like Rosario Dawson, celebrated for her role in Seven Pounds. Known for her efforts on behalf of voter registration, anti-violence and environmental causes, the activist actress lives as green as possible. “I drive a Prius, I have a water filtration system in my house. I use compact fluorescent lights wherever I can. I want to have solar panels but I rent the place I’m living in so there are certain things I can’t do,” she said.

Dawson, who’s hoping Sin City 2 will be one of several projects she’ll work on this year, praised organizations like Global Green and the Environmental Media Association for “bringing awareness to people and creating programs, especially for kids, because they’re inheriting all the problems that we created. There’s power in talking about it,” she declared, thrilled that in President Obama “we have someone who’s speaking about it so strongly. It’s not a matter of belief in global warming. It’s about how much time we actually have.”

Wilmer Valderrama, the voice of cartoon hero Handy Manny, accepted another honor for the show, which has promoted eco-friendly living to its preschool audience. “The fact that it’s hit such a chord with kids and their parents is really special,” said Valderrama, well aware of the influential power of entertainment. “The awards we’ve gotten have triggered even more of a hunger to continue incorporating these themes and plant those seeds in our kids. When parents tell me, ‘My kid told me to recycle because Handy Manny said it was important,’ you know you’re hitting the right nerve.”

Doing his own part by recycling paper, printing on both sides, and turning off lights and computers when they’re not in use, Valderrama hopes to shoot the long-delayed movie version of the TV series CHiPs later this year.

 

Edward James Olmos recycles, turns off lights, unplugs his cell phone charger when it’s not in use and cleans up with Ed Begley -- he buys Begley’s Best household cleaning products. Olmos, who stars in Sci Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica and directed the upcoming Battlestar movie The Plan, premiering in June, has bought five Priuses in the last few years, “for my mom, my children, my company.” He lamented the fact that American automakers like Ford and Chevrolet haven’t kept up with hybrid technology. “I would have bought an American car in a second but they don’t compare. I’m going to go all-electric as soon as I can.”

Not a big Prius fan, Freddy Rodriguez, honored for his ensemble comedy Nothing Like the Holidays, is waiting for sharper looking hybrid or electric models to come out before switching cars. Meanwhile, he’s recycling and taking reusable grocery bags to the supermarket. “Little by little, we’re becoming more aware,” he said.

 

Yancey Arias (formerly of Knight Rider) is a dedicated recycler and decorates green too -- his dining room set is made by Paul Darafeev Furniture, an eco-friendly company. “For every piece he makes Paul puts trees back into the rainforest so it’s sustainable,” noted Arias, who’ll next be seen in the movies Hotel California and Street Dreams.

 

Nadine Velazquez recycles at home and at the set, where scripts are printed on both sides of the paper, and she cooks organic chicken for her dog. “She eats better than we do,” laughed the My Name is Earl actress, who’ll appear with Christina Ricci in the Renaissance Faire comedy All’s Faire.

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And, finally this week ... Everyone wants greener products these days and there are some great new ones on the market, judging from the offerings at the Alive! Expo Green Pavilion last week in Los Angeles. Eco-friendly offerings included Blow Out hair guru Jonathan Antin’s Green Rootine line, natural bath and body products from Body By K and Pure and Basic, Earthlust stainless steel beverage bottles, Explorer’s Bounty organic coffee and tea, Nettie Scrub body balm and one of a kind greeting cards made from recycled materials by Red Hair Girl Designs.

Stay tuned for next week’s Ecollywood column. In the meantime, check out our Ecollywood videos