It hasn't been an easy year for star activists -- what with all the Doubting Thomases gunning for eco-hypocrites at every turn. From declaring Live Earth a "shallow, reformist tokenism" to blasting Leonardo DiCaprio's use of private jets (for the record, he mostly flies commercial), these green grinches need to bark up another tree. Because we continue to laud the majority of stars for all that they do, we've placed 10 atop The Green Carpet's year-end pedestal.
1). Al Gore: Environmental Crusader
Time Magazine editors should be ashamed of themselves for letting a Russian dictator edge out our eco-ambassador for Man of The Year props. AG's our go-to green guy, and here's a smattering of why: In February, Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" nabbed a best documentary Oscar; next he hosted Live Earth, the biggest global-awareness gathering ever; and then he snagged the supreme honor -- a Noble Peace Prize. The accolades only seem to bolster Gore's passion. Go to www.AlGore.com and sign up for regular emails from the man himself, updating us on eco-politics, world environmental events and what we can do to help save the earth.
2). Brad Pitt: Green Builder
The 44-year-old actor's longtime interest in architecture, coupled with his newfound activism, resulted in one of this year's hallmark eco-events: rebuilding Katrina-ravaged New Orleans. The actor, donating $5 million of his own money, founded MakeitRight9.org, an adopt-a-green-home campaign that he hopes will help restore the still-storm-ravaged Lower 9th Ward to its former familial neighborhood. As Pitt told Larry King in a recent interview: "There's a portion of our society that we're overlooking, that we're not taking care of," he said of the countless Gulf Coasters who lost everything when hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and remain homeless today. "We need America to come together and help. We can get this place rebuilt if support keeps coming. Adopt a house. For every $150,000 that comes in, a family will get a home." And not just any house -- these will be so eco-friendly and disaster-proof, they'll even float!
3). Leonardo DiCaprio: King of the (Green Celeb) World
DiCaprio has been at the green game for a long time. Seven years ago he interviewed then-President Bill Clinton for an Earth Day special, and his insistence that we do something has made him the celebrity face most associated with the movement. This year DiCaprio released "11th Hour" -- an eco-documentary that he co-produced, wrote and narrated -- about the human impact on the environment. The actor also partnered with the upcoming Discovery Networks' Planet Green to produce "Eco-Town," a 13-part reality series documenting the green rebuilding of a Kansas town that was torn apart by a tornado.
4). Ed Begley Jr.: Inspector Eco
Sure he's been doing this forever and deserves to be on this list every year (and probably will be), but Begley Jr. continues to preach the message in unique ways. His HGTV eco-reality show, "Living with Ed," took a novel turn this season when he left his own green house to check in on how his showbiz friends (Jay Leno, Sharon Lawrence and Beverly D'Angelo) live -- and to lend a hand where needed. Begley Jr. also launched a line of eco-products, and you can rest assured he'll show up at promotions either riding his bike or driving an electric car.
5). Hayden Panettiere: Junior Eco-Hero
When Panettiere turned 18 a few months ago, she eschewed all-night partying for a day spent getting registered to vote for DeclareYourself.com, a nonprofit campaign encouraging newly legals to exercise their political power. Then on TV tabloid shows this past October, we caught Panettiere's tearful breakdown in Japan's waters after a failed dolphin-saving mission. She's definitely earned some green cred, and we can't wait to see this hero's next move.
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