If you’re looking for a good green role model, don’t choose Simon Cowell. “Oh listen, I’m the worst example in the world,” declares the cantankerous American Idol judge. “I just don’t think I’m going to make that much difference, whether I choose to drive a big car or not will change the world that much.” His Idol duties ended Wednesday night, but Cowell will be back as the executive producer of America’s Got Talent when it returns to NBC this summer on June 23.

***

Considering the energy consumption that went into making the explosive (literally) Terminator Salvation, the production was surprisingly eco-friendly. “We were wildly green, left almost no carbon footprint,” boasts director McG. “Our production team was very insistent upon recycling and repurposing sets, recycling all the paper. We tried to leave as minimal a footprint as possible. I think we made a lot of strides in that respect. In fact, we were recognized by the New Mexico governor’s office for doing a good job.” 

McGMcG (pictured right) doesn’t just pay lip service to environmentalism. “I’m very, very green. I’m passionate about it,” he declares, aware that it “sounds a little trendy” when Hollywood folk do so. “I recycle -- it’s ridiculous not to. It’s so easy once you make the adjustment, and you feel better about your daily approach.”

Already planning the next two Terminator sequels, he’s readying 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Captain Nemo and a screen version of the musical Spring Awakening and will have three shows on TV next season: Supernatural, Chuck, and the new Fox drama Human Target.

At the film’s premiere, Jane Alexander, who “loved every minute” of her first role in an action blockbuster, told MNN that she doesn’t use any herbicides or pesticides in her garden and or industrial cleaners in her home. Rodrigo Santoro (300) said he walks to decrease his CO2 footprint. “I rent a car when I’m in L.A., and in Rio, where I’m from, I walk or bicycle everywhere. There are little things you can do and it really does make a difference.” Santoro next appears as an infomercial director in the Michael Keaton comedy Post Grad, due out in August.

Terminator Salvation hits theaters today.

***

Taking time from covering the red carpet for E!, Dancing With the Stars co-host Samantha Harris said she does her planet-friendly part by recycling, conserving water and driving a hybrid Lexus SUV. “We want to be a little bit better about unplugging our devices that we’re not using,” added the mom of a 20-month-old, who “used all organic baby products for her first year.” A dancer herself, Harris will play Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway, July 7-Aug. 16.

Seen this season on 90210, Tori Spelling returns to Oxygen May 26 with husband Dean McDermott in Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, focusing on their lives as working parents of the two young children they’re raising in an eco-friendly way. “The kids eat organic products. I make my own baby food,” says Spelling. “We use green products for the pets, and green detergents and light bulbs.” Adds McDermott, “I’m constantly running through the house, turning off lights that aren’t being used.” Recycling is a family affair. “Even at two years old, Liam knows which trash is which,” notes his mom.

Michael ChiklisMichael Chiklis (The Shield) isn’t new to eco-consciousness. “I’ve always been aware. My uncle owned and operated the first solar plant in Massachusetts. He was on the cover of Mother Jones magazine in the 1970s,” he told MNN at The Bash charity event to benefit teen patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Chiklis, who doesn’t have solar panels at home but is conscientious about conserving water, recycling, turning off lights and covering his pool to retain heat, was at the event to support his daughter Autumn (both pictured left), a Bash board member. “I raised both my children to be philanthropists, to give back,” he said. He’ll be seen next year as the principal in the “stoner comedy” High School.

The Bash is the brainchild of teens Nathalia Ramos (Bratz) and Bosilika An, who decided to help fellow teens after a sobering visit to the hospital in December. “There were all these toys for the little kids but nothing for the teenagers,” said Ramos, who got her teenage friends involved, (and in turn, parents like Chiklis, David Hasselhoff and Scott Baio). The event raised money to “pimp out” the hospital’s teen lounge with video games and music plus donated computers, and more bashes are planned, “We want to inspire people to make a difference,” added Ramos, a soon-to-be USC freshman who’s also “a huge environmentalist.” Always scolding friends not to litter, she’s diligent about turning off lights and water, and not wasting toilet paper.

Also in attendance were Alex O’Loughlin (Moonlight), who’ll star in the CBS fall medical drama Three Rivers and play Jennifer Lopez’s love interest in The Back-Up Plan, and High School Musical’s Monique Coleman, who’s writing an advice book called From Ramen Noodles to the Red Carpet: A Guide to Becoming Who You Are Without Forgetting Who You Were. Both do their best to live green. In addition to recycling and conserving water, O’Loughlin rides his motorcycle whenever he can. “I just try to be conscientious. I try to be resourceful and frugal with what I use,” he told MNN. “There are a lot of little simple things you can do,” noted Coleman, who recently bought an organic-fiber couch.

Other young stars are doing their part to save the planet as part of Disney Channel’s Friends For Change: Project Green. More than two-dozen Disney TV stars including Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers filmed eco-friendly commercials and a music video that will send a conservation message to kids via TV, Internet, and radio. Disney.com visitors will be able to decide how $1 million will be divided to plant trees, preserve the environment, support alternative energy and preserve the rainforest.

(Photos: McG by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images; Chiklis by Gerri Miller)

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