MNN at the Environmental Media Awards
The 20th anniversary of the Environmental Media Awards (think Eco-Oscars) brings out all the stars. MNN gets a front row seat at the event. Watch our videos and read the article.
Mon, Nov 02, 2009 at 09:55 AM
The 20th anniversary Environmental Media Awards, held in eco-festive style at the Paramount lot in Hollywood, drew the titans of the green A-list to celebrate Earth-friendly efforts by TV and film to spread the word about saving the planet. Hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, the event honored the National Geographic Society, Sir Richard Branson, Centropolis Entertainment (producer of The Day After Tomorrow and upcoming 2012) and pop star Jason Mraz for his green touring practices (not to mention making our 40 farmers under 40 list). Film winners included DisneyNature’s Earth, and co-winners for best documentary, The Cove and Food, Inc.; in television, Brothers and Sisters, Better Off Ted and in the reality category, The Lazy Environmentalist, MNN’s own Josh Dorfman.
Sponsored by Lexus and Toyota, which put several hybrid and electric models on display, the event featured a silent auction (with prizes including a custom-designed Prius), a sumptuous organic fare buffet, and take-home gifts such as seeds and calendars from Earthbound Farm foods, flashlights from California Edison, organic skin care products from Yes to Carrots, and pocket squares and sachets from Lexus, handed out by a model wearing jewelry made from recycled tailpipes. We caught up with several attendees (and winners) on the green carpet and at the after-party.
“Finally it’s chic,” said Rachelle Carson Begley, with satisfaction, noting the green event’s large turnout as she walked the crowded carpet with her husband Ed Begley Jr.. Kathryn Morris (Cold Case) not far behind, told us she’s having a green energy audit done on her house in preparation for getting solar panels, and she’s developing a TV show about building an eco-home from the ground up. “I’m not Ed Begley Jr. I’m not the poster child for this movement, but I think a lot of people are curious about it and want to do something,” she said.
“Six months ago they said it would never be possible to get this film shown in Japan. Not only did we get it shown, we got it premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival,” said Cove director Louie Psihoyos, just back from showing his movie to “the bad guys” responsible for clandestine dolphin slaughter. “It was the only film that got raucous applause, or any applause at all,” he noted, thrilled about the impact it has made: the sale of dolphin meat to schoolchildren has been halted, “and they’ve stopped killing the cute dolphins,” like bottlenoses. “It’s not enough, but there’s progress.”
Psihoyos, a pescatarian who has solar panels on his roof and drives an electric Rav-4 with the plate VUS, for “Vehicle Using Sun, the opposite of an SUV,” is eyeing an animated movie next, aimed at kids. “Our generation has screwed up the planet,” he noted. “It’s up to the young ones to fix it.”
Actress Natasha Henstridge (Eli Stone), a big fan of The Cove, drives a Lexus hybrid and confided, “Like most people, I do the best I can.” Next, she’ll star in the Hallmark Channel movie You Lucky Dog. “It’s me, a dog, and a farm -- very Hallmark and very sweet,” she described.
“This is a big deal,” Josh Dorfman said of his EMA award. He’d just arrived in L.A. after driving across the country from his home in Asheville, N.C. in a borrowed turbo-diesel Volkswagen (stopping in Crested Butte, Colo., “an awesome little town where everybody rides bikes” and where he may move) to shoot episodes for season two of The Lazy Environmentalist. “We’re ratcheting it up a notch,” with subjects including an exterminator, a funeral director and an athlete. “We want to raise the stakes.” Dorfman is also planning his third book, about green communication, and the Green Future Project, a nonprofit that “will arm politicians with positive stories so they can tell their constituents that green is working.”
Melrose Place’s Michael Rady advocates doing “simple things like using energy-efficient light bulbs, using dimmers and low-flow faucets, using canvas grocery bags, and not buying plastic water bottles but buying a Brita water filter and filling your own. Everyone can do or two of those,” he said. He’s thrilled about Heather Locklear joining the cast in the Nov. 17 episode. “It’s a really cool shot in the arm that she came back to be part of our show.”
“Everybody wants to do their part in helping the environment. We in the media have so much opportunity to make change because we can reach out to so many people,” said Vanessa Lengies, who’ll return (as a regular) to the set of the TNT series Hawthorne in February. “They gave everyone a Hawthorne water bottle,” noted the vegan, who grows her own zucchini, tomatoes and herbs at home.
Actress KayCee Stroh (from the High School Musical movies) made some simple changes, too. “I’ve gotten rid of the water bottles. Now I have refillable ones. I’ve switched to eco-friendly cleaning products, laundry detergents and the cleaning wipes,” said Stroh, who’s filming Celebrity Fit Club with Kevin Federline, Bobby Brown and others who want to drop a few -- in her case, 40 -- pounds. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she groaned. “Those High School Musicals were not a walk in the park, but this is tough. “I’m ready for any role now -- soldier, superhero. Quentin Tarantino, I can be whatever you want!” Watch her progress starting in February on VH1.