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Earth Day: Six celebrities making an eco-friendly impact

Leonardo DiCaprio has a long history of campaigning for the environment (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Leonardo DiCaprio has a long history of campaigning for the environment (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Environmentalism is a cause close to the heart of many celebrities.

From donating money, promoting ecological awareness and even protesting, stars contribute in different ways to highlight climate change.

To mark Earth Day on Wednesday, here are six celebrities making an eco-friendly impact:

Leonardo DiCaprio

DiCaprio is one of Hollywood’s most prominent environmental campaigners and often uses his celebrity to raise the profile of causes close to his heart.

He founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 with the goal of “protecting the world’s last wild places” and has raised millions of dollars for different causes.

He took part in the 2017 People’s Climate March to protest against Donald Trump’s environmental policies and has served as a United Nations representative on climate change.

In 2016, he used his Oscars acceptance speech for best actor to highlight the plight of the planet.

Joaquin Phoenix

Phoenix is another actor who highlighted environmental issues during a best actor acceptance speech.

The Joker star, a lifelong vegan, used the opportunity to take aim at the dairy industry and also warned we have “become very disconnected from the natural world”.

He convinced the Golden Globes to only serve plant-based food instead of meat and wore the same Stella McCartney tuxedo throughout awards season to reduce waste.

Earlier this year he also starred in Guardians Of Life, a three-minute short film produced in collaboration with Extinction Rebellion and Amazon Watch.

Jane Fonda

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Repost from @firedrillfriday • In this one-on-one conversation, @JaneFonda speaks with Sharan Burrow about climate activism and working towards a Just Transition. Press play and text JANE to 877-877 to take action with Jane Fonda & @GreenpeaceUSA, and receive updates for virtual Fire Drill Fridays! Sharan Burrow is the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation representing the world’s working people, with 207 million workers from coal miners to solar engineers in 163 countries. Sharan is a climate warrior who knows we can leave no one behind. That’s why she led the global call for Just Transition measures – after intensive pressure, it was included in the official text of the Paris Agreement in 2015 – now the ITUC is taking on business and governments to make sure Just Transition is a reality for people. Join us May 1st to hear from national thought leaders about what a Just Transition is, what that means practically for workers, and what needs to be done to prioritize the health and well-being of workers, labor, and unions in this critical moment: This teach-in was filmed on March 5th and does not include COVID-19 context.

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Fonda has spent a lifetime as an activist and at the age of 82 is not slowing down yet.

Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, she had been staging weekly climate change protests in front of the Capitol in Washington DC, dubbed Fire Drill Fridays.

Due to the protests, she has been arrested several times, alongside famous friends including Sam Waterston and Rosanna Arquette.

Mark Ruffalo

Hollywood star Ruffalo is best known for playing superhero the Hulk but is also a prominent campaigner against fracking, campaigner, a process to release gas from underground which critics say can damage the environment.

Ruffalo narrated the 2016 film Dear President Obama: The Clean Energy Revolution Is Now and opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline project.

In his most recent film, the acclaimed legal thriller Dark Water, Ruffalo played a lawyer who took on a chemical company after alleging it contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals.

Pierce Brosnan

The former James Bond star and his wife Keely Shaye Smith have championed several environmental causes.

The couple were joined by their celebrity neighbours in Malibu in successfully defeating proposals by a natural gas company to build a facility off the California coast.

Brosnan has previously supported the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a marine conservation group, and produced the 2018 film Poisoning Paradise, about the use of pesticides in Hawaii.

In 2004, he was named best-dressed environmentalist by the Sustainable Style Foundation.

Edward Norton

The star of films including American History X and Fight Club followed in the footsteps of his father, also named Edward, who was a conservationist.

The younger Norton narrated the National Geographic documentary Strange Days On Planet Earth, which examined humanity’s impact on the environment.

He works with the Maasai Wilderness Conservation, which protects wildlife and the environment in east Africa.

Norton is also on the board of the Conservation Lands Foundation, which was founded by his father.