At a time when progress on environmental issues appears to be at a standstill—if not a rapid decline—it is quite inspiring when celebrities use their status and platforms to raise awareness for environmental problems such as climate change and pollution.
Founded in 1989, the Environmental Media Association recognizes the valuable role the media plays in bringing environmental topics, such as sustainability, to the forefront of public concern. Each year, the Environmental Media Association honors films and green icons within the entertainment industry with a very special award show. Whether they are actors, musicians, directors, producers, or screenwriters, honorees all have one thing in common—they are all pioneers in fostering environmental change. Having just announced the nominees and honorees for the 27th Annual EMA Awards, here are this year’s most influential eco-warriors!
Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Natalie Portman will now be recognized for her work off screen with the EMA’s Ongoing Commitment Award. Her advocacy for environmental causes stems from her role in promoting animal rights. In 2009, Portman transitioned to a vegan diet after reading Eating Animals—a memoir written by Jonathan Safran Foer that delves into the origins of various eating traditions. Portman recently told Forbes that she “chose to adapt to a sustainable lifestyle after learning of the health risks and environmental effects that come with the mass production of animals.” She has since produced and narrated the new documentary Eating Animals, which is based on Foer’s memoir and details the harsh realities of the meat, dairy, and egg industries. Portman says receiving the award “is a valuable reminder that [she is] not alone in this fight.” A true sentiment indeed!
Music mogul Russell Simmons will also be honored for his environmental activism with the EMA’s Missions in Music Award. Simmons’ work promoting animal rights and funding educational programs targeting global warming has spanned many decades. EMA president and CEO Debbie Levin states, “Russell exemplifies the spirit of our work at EMA, and we are honored to be celebrating him this year. Through his continuous engagement, Russell has promoted sustainable plant-based diets, generously donated to educational programs with climate-based campaigns and fought to abolish animal cruelty.”
Give it up for philanthropist and three-term Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his ongoing commitment to promoting environmental policies. Over the years, Bloomberg has donated millions to help fund ocean conservation programs and climate change initiatives. Bloomberg also co-authored The New York Times best seller Climate of Hope—alongside Carl Pope, former head of the Sierra Club—which provides practical solutions for combating climate change.
Other honorees include John Paul DeJoria and Alan Fuerstman. DeJoria, the founder of hair care company John Paul Mitchell Systems, and tequila brand, Patrón Spirits, will take home the Innovator Award for his dedication to promoting eco-friendly standards within his business ventures. DeJoria has made it his mission to reduce the carbon footprints of both of his companies and has even advocated animal rights by making John Paul Mitchell Systems the first beauty company to publicly oppose animal cruelty. They have even planted 300,000+ trees to offset their carbon footprint! Fuerstman, founder and chairman of Montage International, will be honored with EMA’s Corporate Responsibility Award. Montage International was the first business to ever receive the EMA’s Green Seal for Hospitality following the EMA’s expansion of the Green Seal program in 2016 to include hospitality companies.
Along with these incredibly influential icons are the countless film and television nominees that the Environmental Media Association selected for incorporating environmental content within their plot lines or for promoting sustainable productions. Feature film nominees include Disney’s Moana and the Netflix original Okja, as well as the following four documentaries—An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Before the Flood, Chasing Coral, and From the Ashes.
This year’s Environmental Media Association Awards will be held in California at the historic Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport on September 23rd. The event will be hosted by EMA board member—and vegan—Jaden Smith. (Tickets are available through lpaevents.com).
Are you feeling as inspired as we do, seeing these role models? And who’s watching those nominated documentaries on Netflix tonight? 😀
Also by Audrey: From Vegan Drive-Thru to Bakeries, 6 New Spots To Put On Your Vegan Bucket List
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Photo: Wikipedia Commons, @Green4EMA via Instagram