Southern California environment news and trends

Just how green was the Oscars red carpet?

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

During the week leading up to the 84th annual Academy Awards (which appear to have been watched by more people than last year’s telecast), the Hollywood community made a concerted effort to keep things as environmentally friendly as possible. From a range of eco-friendly events to Livia Firth’s much-discussed Green Carpet Challenge, this year’s Oscar hoopla had a decidedly emerald glow.

Established by Firth in 2010, the Green Carpet Challenge is her annual pledge to wear only eco-positive clothing on the red carpet, and was taken on by an array of stars at last night’s ceremony. Best Actress winner Meryl Streep is already blowing up fashion pages today with the details of her Lanvin gown, which Firth happily related was the French fashion house’s first custom “eco gown.” 

“The gown is gold, full-length and made from Eco Certified Fabric sourced with help from the GCC,” Firth said on British Vogue's fashion blog. “I could not be more delighted!” Firth wore a red Valentino number made from polyester derived from recycled plastic bottles.


Brad Pitt’s nonprofit helps build sustainable housing, community center

84th Academy Awards Nominations Luncheon - Inside

/Getty Images

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 06: (L-R) Actors George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill attend the 84th Academy Awards Nominations Luncheon. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

It really is quite astounding the myriad ways the Academy Awards and Hollywood in general put their collective green foot forward as the big night approaches. It’s a recurring theme, as this week Global Green held their eco-positive Pre-Oscar bash, where actress Emmy Rossum wore a dress made partly out of pineapple. Across town, a slew of A-list stars hit up a Vanity Fair party, which also hosted Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge, as reported by the L.A. Times. It was the third annual event where Firth (wife of actor Colin) calls out fashion houses to create sustainable gowns for Oscar night.

Far removed from the glitz of Hollywood parties, Best Actor nominee Brad Pitt’s nonprofit organization Make It Right is dealing with environmental issues in a more hands-on fashion. FOX News in Kansas City (Pitt is from Missouri) reports this week that Make It Right is donating $2.3 million towards converting an old school that has sat dormant for more than ten years into a community center with housing, a gym and medical services.


Hollywood stars to shine at “the only green pre-Oscar party in town”

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Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

(L-R) Actors Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier and Jerry Ferrara.

Environmentally minded celebrities like Rosario Dawson, Orlando Bloom and Adrian Grenier will stroll the green carpet (natch) in front of the Avalon Hollywood tonight to support the 9th annual pre-Oscar party for Global Green, the American affiliate of Green Cross International.

According to the event press release, general admission tickets to the bash are going for a very reasonable $50 (VIP packages start at $1000), and will be available at the door. Proceeds from the event are dedicated for Global Green’s national Green Schools initiative, as well as a campaign around the Rio Earth Summit this June, which they would very much like for President Obama to attend.

The much-discussed Chevy Volt will serve as the event’s automotive sponsor, with Chevy rolling out a “sneak preview” of the 2012 Volt that qualifies for the both the carpool lane sticker and the new $1500 CA Clean Vehicle Rebate.


The Oscars, the Marine Corps and a fight against water contamination

Semper Fi: Always Faithful

Former Marine Corps Sgt. Jerry Ensmigner lost his daughter to a rare form of leukemia and later discovered the drinking water on the base where his family lived was contaminated.

Following last week's posts on nominees for the Academy Award for Documentary Features comes another film: Semper Fi: Always Faithful

The documentary, directed by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon, traces the history of one of the worst water contamination incidents in U.S. history. 

It focuses on former Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger's struggle after the death of his 9-year-old daughter Janey, who was diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia. Ensminger, who served for almost 25 years, discovers that the Corps he dedicated his life to was also the source of severe water contamination that was hidden from the public.

The contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina, exposed nearly one million people to toxic water. 

Ensminger and his family lived on the base during the time of peak contamination, which was estimated to have begun in 1957 and lasted until 1987 when many of the wells were closed. Tests in the 1980's showed the water posed some health concerns, but residents were never notified, even after the well closures.


A Journey from Tanzania to the Academy Awards with Jane Goodall

Andre Zacher Neos Film CC Medien

A portrait of Jane Goodall while the documentary was being shot in Tanzania.

The list of nominees for this year's Academy Award for Documentary Feature is out. Of the 15 films, two of them focus on environmental issues and the people and organizations who influence them: "Jane's Journey" and "If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front."

Jane's Journey, written and directed by Lorenz Knauer, traces famed primatologist Jane Goodall's life. From her childhood to her life in Tanzania, where she began research on chimpanzees in 1960, to her current work as an activist, the documentary looks at her message and international influence both in her research and advocacy.

Now, 77, she speaks around the world and raises money for the Jane Goodall Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to understanding and preserving apes and inspiring young people to care about animals and the environment. Readers can get an early inside look at Goodall's life on her blog, which chronicles her travels with photos and videos.