Climate change is an intense debate around the globe, and celebrities are part of the conversation. There are many celebrities who are speaking out about the need to curb climate change and who want to help make the change they want to see. These celebrities are able to encourage others to be part of the solution, to become educated about alternative energies and the part they can play individually and collectively.
Here are just some of the most famous names who have used their knowledge and experience to communicate on the politically divisive topic of how to manage the impact of climate change whatever the party allegiances may be.
Sir David Attenborough
Sir David Attenborough, 92 has called global warming "our greatest threat in thousands of years". Popular for his BBC documentaries about life on Earth, his latest on climate change for the BBC in April 2019 was a call to arms since the impact of climate change conditions has changed far faster than he ever imagined, which could lead to the collapse of societies as we know them today. For all the horrors, the documentary spends the last 20 minutes, focusing on what needs to and can, be done on an international and personal level.
A member of Greenpeace for decades, Emma Thomas travelled to Svalbard in 2014, where she witnessed the effects of climate change at the Arctic site suffering rapid ice melt and met with scientists. Over the years she has spoken out against the European Union voting against a ban on Arctic oil drilling; the Norwegian government granting rights to drill for oil in Arctic waters and the UK for making promises in the Paris agreement to then grant 200 new fracking licences in the country. She has been championing the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy that will protect the planet and future generations from disastrous consequences and encourages others to join the “movement of the century”.
Now in her 80’s and known for her political activism going back to the 1970s when she travelled to Hanoi to protest the US bombing in the Vietnam war, her position on global warming is just as passionate. Jane failed in her attempts to connect with the then president-elect Donald Trump to argue the case for action on climate change. Her unorthodox methods included the suggestion that she meets with Trump with her former husband Ted Turner, who’s a staunch environmentalist, and a few beautiful women and grab his attention by saying ‘You can turn the rust belt into the green belt and save the environment and jobs.”
The former governor of California governor and Hollywood actor has taken a slightly aggressive approach to climate change. As a Republican in the largely Democratic state of California, he was able to implement ambitious and leading environmental policies, including the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. He was able to gain support at the time by talking of current pollution in place “climate change”, which was understood by more people at the time, and gained him more support. Politicians agree on the fundamentals of climate science, and since climate change does not care about political parties, Schwarzenegger is calling for conversations to take place between all those in politics, irrespective of party allegiance.
Robert Redford openly supports a variety of climate-related causes, and on Earth Day in April 2019, the 82-year-old made a call to put climate change activism at the top of everyone's agenda As a trustee of the Natural Resources Defence Council and Pitzer College, he has already secured the college’s place as the first higher education institute to commit to divesting fossil fuel stocks from its endowment. His top priority for combatting climate change is to elect leaders who oppose it. Redford despairs of current promises to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and the appointing of climate change deniers to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen has used her celebrity status to make a difference in climate change. She has planted trees in Nairobi’s Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa. She has helped detoxify the river near her hometown of Horizontina, through the Projeto Água Limpa, a clean-water initiative she established with her family, which led to her being awarded the “Best Green International Celebrity Award” in 2011.
She has worked with National Geographic on a documentary series exploring the link between deforestation and climate change and has worked as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme. She has yet to speak out about President Trump’s climate change denial, and his decision to pull out of the Paris Accord on climate change though has since stated that she did not support his election.