7 A-List Celebrities You Didn’t Realize Were Also Committed Environmentalists

Most of us are aware of the green contributions made by Leo DiCaprio, Jack Johnson, Woody Harrelson, and other members of the pop culture elite. Other well-known celebrities have also helped out Mother Nature, albeit with much less publicity. Here are some of the stars that are quietly doing their part to save the planet.

Cate Blanchett
This Oscar-winning actress has taken a different sort of role in recent years: vocal supporter of a carbon tax in her homeland of Australia. She appeared in a series of televised advertisements, urging her fellow Aussies to support the government’s tax on companies with dodgy pollution records. While opponents of the bill labeled her as “morally vain”, she remained steadfast in her mission to education people about global warming. Signed into law earlier this year, the carbon tax will target the country’s top 300 polluters by imposing a tax for every ton of greenhouse gas produced.

Pierce Brosnan
Best known for playing James Bond in four films (two of which are still watchable), this dapper Irishman is also a proud inductee in the Environmental Hall of Fame in Chicago. Mr. Brosnan has donated more than $1 million to various green causes over the years; most recently, he served as the global whale spokesman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. He recorded the following PSA as an “open letter” to President Obama, on behalf of cetaceans everywhere.

Gisele Bundchen
This Brazilian-born supermodel and wife to NFL quarterback Tom Brady has been an outspoken environmentalist for years. In 2009, she was named as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environmental Programme. “I grew up in a small town and I had the opportunity to live surrounded by nature,” she said. “We must act now, so future generations have the same opportunity. Mother Earth is our fundamental life-support system, and by becoming aware and responsible now, we can assist in preserving the planet.” She has continued her climate change advocacy over the years; she has also been a vocal supporter of rainforest preservation and restoration in her home country, as seen in the clip below.

James Cameron
In the 2009 blockbuster, Avatar, an alien race fights for the survival of their lush homeland after a valuable mineral is discovered by Earthling land developers. Here on Earth, the film’s director has been staging a campaign of his own to protect the indigenous tribes of the Amazon basin and their lush stomping grounds from exploitative building contractors. He has appealed to the Brazilian government over many environmental issues – namely the Belo Monte dam, a concrete monstrosity that stands to cut off the water supply for a large number of native peoples who dwell alongside the Xingu River. Though construction has been halted several times, the Bel Monte dam project is currently still in progress.

Cameron Diaz
Three years ago, Ms. Diaz attended a TED conference where the speakers included Al Gore, Bono, and Jane Goodall. Inspired by what she heard, the actress (best-known for playing vapid blonde archetypes) decided to make a low-budget documentary. Her mission: to show how everyday Americans feel about environmental issues like global warming and air pollution. Her short film, Cameron Diaz Saves the World, debuted on YouTube in June 2009; later that year, Time included the actress on their annual ‘Heroes of the Environment’ list.

Ellen DeGeneres
This beloved comedian and talk show host is also an outspoken animal rights activist. In addition to her work with the Dawn Loves Wildlife Campaign, Ms. DeGeneres and her spouse (Arrested Development actress Portia De Rossi) have practiced veganism for the last four years. In recent years, she has been involved with Community Supported Agriculture, a non-profit organization that provides households with organic, locally sourced produce. In the clip below, she shares some of her favorite moments with animal guests on her award-winning talk show.

Will Ferrell
You may not have realized it, but Mr. Ferrell’s environmental contributions are kind of a big deal. He’s been a member of the National Resources Defense Council for years, advocating for wildlife preservation, oceanic restoration and other timely topics. In addition, the SNL alum also built an eco-friendly house for his family, complete with a sizable solar-panel installation. And like many other hippies, he’s been known to go streaking every now and then.

By Brad Nehring