There was such anticipation about current eco best seller The Green Book that when I checked my local Barnes and Noble on release day, there were none in stock. At the information desk I spotted a box of the books and the sales person confided that a woman had pre-ordered 60 copies! The considerate sales lady slipped me a copy anyway.
The Authors Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas Kostigen
In the book, environmentalist Elizabeth Rogers and journalist Thomas Kostigen teamed up to produce what they hoped was not a "triple-d" message: dry, dull and dense. Instead, they packed it with 400-plus green tips (many of the freshest ones out there, with actual reasons behind how they help), punctuated by 12 celebrity eco essays.
We learn that Dale Earnhardt Jr. recycles his Bud cans, Jennifer Aniston brushes her teeth and takes three-minute showers at the same time, and Owen Wilson swears going green is as addictive as a drug.
But in the massive scope of the environmental crisis we're facing (and created), do celebrities really matter? The Green Book authors answer this question, and more:
TGC: So far, the book's buzz hangs on the star input. Is that a good thing?
Thomas Kostigen: If you look at the two words most searched on Yahoo last year it was Britney Spears. You can understand how the power of celebrities can bring attention to a cause. We're not trying to hold the celebrities in our book as experts. Instead we are having them speak as normal people, getting a glimpse into their daily lives. Show readers that they can be "just like them" in this way.
Elizabeth Rogers: If there are 13 reasons to buy the book and 12 of them are the celebrities, then I'm really fine with that. Sometimes it takes injecting pop culture into the message for people to get it.
How did you get celebrities to sign on?
Tom: We're speaking to the everyman in this book, giving people a new positive language to use when they speak about being green. The celebrities were kind enough to sign on because they saw the power of the basic tips and habits. Not the tired language of guilt, doom and devastation.
Was there a strategy behind the stars you included?
Elizabeth: Total strategy. We are trying to reach as many different demographics as possible. Dale Earnhardt Jr. reaching the NASCAR audience is one of my proudest moments. As is athlete Tiki Barber. Or an original voice like Robert Redford, who is such a role model for what to do and how to do it in the right way. I went after people you haven't heard from before, like Tyra Banks, Justin Timberlake and Will Ferrell, and not stars you envision as tree huggers.
Your biggest hope for the book?
Elizabeth: I'm a mom, an average person who moves through life in a conservative way. I wanted to show how to give the most and give up the least. It's meant to embrace taking the movement out to middle America.
You think that will happen?
Tom: It already has. The biggest testament to reaching middle America is when Wal-Mart announced it was going green. Wal-Mart would not get into a business that's metro centric.
Elizabeth: The time is right for this issue. Now it's about making the information user-friendly and accessible.
The "G" list: Our rundown of celeb types who deserve a green thumbs up, this week...
Jessica Biel totes this bag to farmers' markets
To Los Angeles "city of the stars" Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for showing Live Earth support by holding a kick-off press conference alongside Ed Begley, Jr., Sharon Lawrence, Daphne Zuniga and producer Lawrence Bender. Natalie Portman for trekking to Rwanda to bring awareness to primate conservation by naming one of the 23 mountain gorilla babies (she called hers Ahazaza, meaning "future"). Jessica Biel for toting her Anya Hindmarch's "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" to a farmers' market (that's a two-fereco bag and buying locally sourced food). Celeb photog Davis Factor and Smashbox Studio for centering the upcoming October L.A. fashion week on eco-friendly fashions and designers.
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