For many of us, the past several months have increased our awareness of and concern over the dire situation facing the environment. For example, I recently learned that the production of a single T-shirt requires 3-years worth of drinking water! Facts like these are increasingly impossible to ignore (not that we should try to ignore them!). But it can often feel like there’s little we can do to make a difference. It’s at these times, however, that we must act and make informed decisions. For me, I find it helps to have role models who remind me that it’s always worth fighting for a good cause. Actress and producer Salma Hayek is one such role model.
Salma Hayek Jiménez de Pinault became involved in eco-activism well before it was trendy. For the past decade, the beloved Frida star has involved herself in a variety of environmental projects (plus, quite a few organizations fighting for better treatment of women around the world). Her passion and good deeds have inspired those around her—including co-star Antonio Banderas and husband Francois Pinault.
One of Hayek’s environmental passions is water, a topic we’re extra conscious of this week given that World Water Day was this past Wednesday. When Hayek’s daughter Valentina was born in 2007, Hayek began to worry about her daughter’s future in light of worsening environmental conditions: “I get a bigger fear of what kind of world she’s going to live in. Is she going to run out of water? What kind of water is she going to drink? It’s really scary and it’s not that far away if we don’t do something about it,” she said. Her concerns led her to support and join the board of Global Green, an organization that raises awareness about global warming, helps create green jobs, supports affordable green housing projects, and assists disadvantaged communities in fighting climate change.
Hayek is no stranger to growing up around troubling water conditions. She spent her childhood near the Gulf Coast port of Coatzacoalcos, an area known for its heavy involvement in gas refining. Our Planet reports that the heavily polluted waters prevented Hayek and her friends from enjoying the beach, prompting them to go to the movie theater instead (which funnily enough, we may have to thank for Hayek’s inspired acting).
In 2011, Hayek co-hosted the Bid to Save the Earth to help raise awareness about global environmental issues, including threats to clean water supply. As a board member of Global Green USA, Hayek has been active in Red Carpet, Green Cars, an initiative encouraging celebrities to arrive at red carpet events in hybrid cars rather than a glam-yet-fuel-inefficient limo.
Hayek practices what she preaches, too: “I personally own and drive a hybrid car, and I love it,” she said.“With global warming threatening us all, driving a fuel-efficient car like a hybrid is something that everyone can do to protect our planet.”
The actress also teamed up with other celebs, business leaders, politicians, and environmentalists to join 700 Inuit in protest of uncontrolled climate change. The gathering spelled out in the ice “Arctic Warning” in English and “Listen” in
Inuktitut. As Hayek explains, the local community is directly experiencing the devastating effects of global warming—it’s literally changing their landscape.
“They are facing a problem with suicide because it’s hard to adjust to that evolution,” she stated. “And I think this is exactly what we are doing; we are committing, in our civilization, suicide and self-destruction.”
I think this sentiment resonates with those of us who realize we’re in a desperate situation. It certainly articulates how I’ve been feeling more often than not. What’s inspiring, however, is how Hayek can acknowledge this very real fear yet she remains passionate and involved. The feeling that things are hopeless doesn’t have to get in the way of fighting as if they’re not. Let’s help each other remember this and keep marching on.
Related: Swoon…5 Super Hot Male Celebrities Who Support The Women’s Movement
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Photo: Century Black via Flickr, Danielle Benton via Flickr