“In the 60’s there was all this flower power stuff, then it was like, what happened to that? Turns out we’ve all gone to seed and now we’re coming back up out of the ground,” Jeff Bridges told Planet Experts at Global Green’s 14th annual Pre-Oscar Gala.
As Bridges alludes, there’s been an uprising — from Standing Rock to the Women’s March — of people coming out of the woodwork to fight for our planet, human rights and our grand children’s future. This movement is inspiring youth, mothers, celebrities, America and the world to work harder at what’s likely to be humanity’s last shot to keep climate change from causing irreversible disaster. I know, it’s overwhelming, so let’s get back to the celebrity filled eco-party.
Every year during the week before Oscars, Global Green lays out the green carpet to highlight Hollywood’s eco-warriors who use their fame to spread awareness about the environmental challenges and successes impacting our world. This year’s star-studded gathering brought out household names like Jane Fonda, Oliver Stone, Orlando Bloom, Jeff Bridges and more. Here are some of the highlights that go beyond the stunning dresses and chatter about this year’s Oscar nominees.
“While recent federal decisions and the national political winds have brought setbacks to the fight, the long-term battle for Standing Rock is just beginning,” voiced Orlando Bloom while holding Jane Fonda, who shared experiences from her 5-day stint of protest in North Dakota last November. Notwithstanding the departure of protestors from Standing Rock, the “spirit… is going around the country [and] all the places where the extractors are again trying to rape the earth,” rallied Fonda.
Standing Rock Sioux tribal councilman Chad Harrison spoke on behalf of Tribal Chairman David Archambault II, who received the Global Green Champion Award.
We have learned three important lessons from Standing Rock, Harrison said. First, “We have a voice and we want it to be heard. We are Americans, the first Americans, and we want to be treated as such.”
Second, “Our cause is pure, as pure as the water we are fighting for, as pure as the resources that we have… If you guys ever want to come up and look at what the Great Plains used to look like… come up to Standing Rock… It’s worth protecting.”
And third, “We are not alone. We have all of you, we have over 360 sister tribes who have come to join our tribe in a show of unity to display to the status quo that we want change… not only for our people but for the environment, for our resources and for people worldwide.”
The tribal councilmen ended with a promise to keep fighting for water rights and Mother Nature. “We will move it to the halls of Congress, we’ll move it to the court rooms, right up until we cannot do anything else, we will keep that fight going!”
Politics and Activism
“The way the Predator-in-Chief feels about women is the way these extractors feel about the earth,” Jane Fonda told a cheering crowd.
While most attendees expressed opposition to the Trump Administration, Dianna Cohen, visual artist and Founder of the Plastic Pollution Coalition thanked the President for disrupting complacency and triggering action in so many people.
“We have to shake up the system,” Cohen said. The heightened awareness is inspiring more people to stand up and get involved in organizations like Emily’s List, which helps empower women to run for office. “We need to fight for our rights again.”
Although Bridges said he is “kind of frightened” about what Scott Pruit will do to the EPA, he was also optimistic. “These guys are supposed to represent the people of America and America is a part of the world and my opinion is we are all connected,” said The Dude. “I think you can teach old dogs new tricks. I’m an old dog, I learn new tricks all the time”
Green Business and Conscious Living
“Government is important, but every individual can do so much and it’s also important that businesses work to protect our planet,” Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of Earth Friendly Products, told Planet Experts. Kelly’s company, which makes Ecos detergent and other environmentally friendly consumer goods, is a living example of, as Kelly says, “the trifecta of carbon neutrality, water neutrality and platinum net zero waste.”
“You can be sustainable and do the right thing for the environment and have a profitable business. And we want to take that message to Washington D.C. and make sure the administration understands that green is good for business.”
On a more personal note, John Salley, an actor and former NBA player, told Getty Images that he practices sustainability every day by being a vegan. “If you take on this plant-based diet you can stop the murder of 56 million land animals which causes CO2, which causes us to pollute our rivers. So, watch what you eat.”
Despite the often and disturbing news about the state of our planet and blatant attempts by the current administration to undermine years of environmental policy, remember to take achievable actions every day, like purchasing eco-friendly products, eating less meat, signing petitions, divesting from banks that fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and sharing important information.
In an offering of hope, Bridges referenced Star Man, the 1980s sci-fi movie in which he plays an alien exploring Earth, “What I like most about you humans is that you are at your best when things are at their worst,” he said. “We have to have faith in that.”