On Dec. 31, guitarist Carlos Santana launched a new website, Architects of a New Dawn, a “global network for creating uplifting positive media content.” The online community lists upcoming conferences and events, such as this week’s National Bird Day. Devoted to our feathered friends, Jan. 5 aimed to promote awareness for protecting birds in captivity and the 12 percent of the world’s 9,800 bird species that could face extinction over upcoming decades.

Stars have also been busy benefiting charities lately. Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks and The B-52s signed guitars for the online auction benefiting Born Free USA, Animal Protection Institute and the Avian Welfare Coalition. Musician and surfer Jack Johnson autographed a surfboard by Chouinard Designs that was auctioned off to benefit One Percent for the Planet, an org of 1,045 companies that donate 1 percent of sales to 1,682 environmental nonprofits world-wide. Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia is a co-founder of the outfit, whose tagline is: “Keeping Earth in Business.”  Johnson, a member since 2004, offers one percent of his annual sales to the nonprofit. This promotion launched the outfit’s new online store which let’s everyone donate to the cause. And though it’s too late to join the bidding for Jack’s surfboard, watch for chances on upcoming items auctioned off monthly.

As part of Oxfam’s Climate Change Campaign, the international aid agency obtained signatures from nineteen actors and musicians including Scarlett Johansson, Annie Lennox, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Kristin Davis on a letter sent to the UN climate summit in Poland last month. In an effort to remedy the effects of global warming on the world’s impoverished, it read: “Wealthy nations, who are in their advantaged position because of heavy industrialization, are the most responsible and able to lead the world in tackling climate change. This is why they must show leadership…and provide solutions that have the interests of the world’s poor at their heart.” Taking a stand and writing your own letter is a worthwhile New Year’s resolution.

A look back at ’08 shows the mainstreaming of “green” with celebs committing to eco-causes and seeing the fruits of their labors, like Brad Pitt’s Make It Right houses erected in New Orleans, Sheryl Crow’s reusable shopping bags, and Colin Firth’s Eco Age shop in London. Stay tuned to see what springs up in the new green year.

This article originally appeared in "Plenty" in January 2009.

Copyright Environ Press 2009