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Twenty of 2010’s hottest eco heroes

In a world of ever-changing trends, green has been the new black for years. More and more celebs are jumping on the electric-powered bandwagon, strapping solar cells to their Berkshire mansions and pledging to cut their carbon emissions (perhaps just talking less would help?).

But if you dig deep enough there are some real diamonds – a hardcore bunch of celebrities, writers, business people, activists and scientists who are changing the world for the better, a little bit at a time. We look at a cross section of these eco heroes – each one of them an inspiration in their own way, dedicated to using their gifts to change the world…

Daryl Hannah
Actress

It’s fitting that someone who played a fish-out-of-water in her biggest film (1984’s Splash) should be one of Hollywood’s keenest environmentalists. Now travelling the world filming her own video blog on sustainability, she lives the life herself when home in the US thanks to a solar-powered house and biodiesel-powered car. Shehas also been arrested twice while protesting.

Star power: 9/10
Dedication: 8/10
Eco effect: 8/10
Total green score: 25/30


Bill Gates
Chairman, Microsoft

Bill and a few friends, as you may have heard, wrote some software while at college. $58 billion later, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – which itself represents more than $1.5 billion of charitable donations every year – has a huge impact on global health and agricultural research. Key areas of environmental investment have been in research to create higher-yield crops, and work in Africa to help farm productivity.

Star power: 8/10
Dedication: 6/10
Eco effect: 8/10
Total green score: 22/30


Leonardo DiCaprio
Actor

Leo may eschew private jets for commercial flights, drive a hybrid car and use solar energy at home, but his ability to mix his art with his beliefs sets him apart. Just watch The 11th Hour, the documentary film about global warming created, produced and narrated by Leo. Or Greensburg, his TV series about a small Kansas town being rebuilt as a blueprint for eco-friendly living. Plus his charitable foundation supports a huge number of causes, from the global elimination of plastic bags to the work by the Obama administration to research cleaner energy.

Star power: 10/10
Dedication: 6/10
Eco effect: 9/10
Total green score: 25/30


James Cameron
Director

The A-list producer and director of films such as Avatar, Terminator and Aliens doesn’t seem like the obvious choice as a green hero. But James’ film work often has a deeper message. Avatar deals with deforestation and racism, Terminator looks at the environmental impact of nuclear war and Aliens features bio-research. And you thought they were just all-action blockbusters!

Star power: 8/10
Dedication: 5/10
Eco effect: 6/10
Total green score: 19/30


KT Tunstall 
Singer

A singer who uses her stage to spread an environmental message, folky Scot KT Tunstall is a big supporter of the Global Cool charity campaign. Her work to highlight the effects of climate change range from benefit gigs – such as 2010’s Shift Festival – to personal changes to her own life. She lives in an eco home in London, demands that her merchandiseis sustainably made and runs her tour buses on biofuel.

Star power: 8/10
Dedication: 7/10
Eco effect: 8/10
Total green score: 23/30


Kacey Ainsworth
Actress

Remember EastEnders’ Little Mo, the timid Slater convicted of attempted murder? Now, Kacey Ainsworth is an ambassador for the Future Friendly Awards and ardent green campaigner. She is fronting the Awards in April which supports one school or community group with a £10,000 bursary to fund environmental work. She also oversaw the construction of her very own eco-home.

Star power: 5/10
Dedication: 7/10
Eco effect: 7/10
Total green score: 19/30


Chris Martin
Singer

Coldplay’s charismatic front man makes no secret of his support for Amnesty International (contributing a track to its Music for Human Rights CD) and Mercy Corps (recording a benefit single for those affected by Hurricane Katrina with REM front man Michael Stipe). But he’s the biggest fan of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign, wearing its wristbands, writing messages on his hand and piano when he plays live, and collecting 30,000 signatures for its petition while on tour.

Star power: 10/10
Dedication: 6/10
Eco effect: 9/10
Total green score: 25/30


HRH The Prince of Wales
Future King

Prince Charles’ interest in growing organic vegetables goes beyond a small plot in his Highgrove back garden. Duchy Originals, HRH’s range of organic produce, now makes more than £5 million in profit – all ploughed back into his charitable interests. Aside from that, Charles’ other main interest is sustainable architecture, supporting the restoration of older buildings over the creation of new ones which, in his words, can turn out to be ‘monstrous carbuncles’.

Star power: 8/10
Dedication: 8/10
Eco effect: 8/10
Total green score: 24/30


Al Gore
Former United States Vice President

How many high-profile US politicians have received a Grammy and an Emmy? (Even Obama hasn’t got those yet, but we’ll give him a few years.) Al Gore has, for his hugely successful documentary on global warming An Inconvenient Truth, and his journalism-orientated cable TV channel. As the founder of the Alliance for Climate Protection, Al is not a new green – his book Earth in the Balance was a bestseller 18 years ago.

Star power: 9/10
Dedication: 8/10
Eco effect: 10/10
Total green score: 27/30


Angus Middleton
Consultant and Blogger

The director of environmental consultancy Renaissance Regeneration, Angus launched website www.ecoboom.co.uk in a bid to make as many people eco-friendly as possible. Focused on ‘how’ over ‘why’, Angus calls himself an eco-pragmatist, helping people save money as well as the planet.

Star power: 1/10
Dedication: 7/10
Eco effect: 6/10
Total green score: 14/30


Euan Murray
Head of Carbon Footprinting, Carbon Trust

Having grown up on a farm in southern Scotland and achieved a masters in Materials Science & Metallurgy, Euan heads the Carbon Trust’s footprinting team. He’s worked on making several products greener – Kingsmill bread, Tate & Lyle sugar, Quaker Oats, Morphy Richards irons and Tesco orange juice have all been ‘Euaned’.

Star power: 2/10
Dedication: 7/10
Eco effect: 10/10
Total green score: 19/30


Caroline Lucas
MEP Leader of The Green Party

Caroline is the Greens’ best chance of winning a seat in the next General Election. She is also one of only two Green MEPs in the European Parliament and a campaigner for women’s rights and animal welfare. Her career includes forcing the European Commission to undertake legal investigations into the nuclear industry.

Star power: 3/10
Dedication: 8/10
Eco effect: 9/10
Total green score: 20/30


Juliet Davenport
Chief Executive, Good Energy Group

In 1999, Juliet had a vision. Working with an environmental consultancy to set up an energy company that sold electricity from only renewable sources, her company got enough investment to buy a wind farm in Cornwall in 2002. Now, as the UK’s only 100% renewable electricity supplier, Good Energy has more than 25,000 customers and growing.

Star power: 3/10
Dedication: 8/10
Eco effect: 10/10
Total green score: 21/30


Elon Musk
Entrepreneur

Fancy creating an all-electric supercar? So did Elon Musk. Handily he owned more than 10% of PayPal when it was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. Now, as CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon has been instrumental in the creation of the Tesla Roadster – a car as fast as any Ferrari but much less thirsty. Just plug it in to any wall socket at night and wake up with a full ‘tank’.

Star power: 5/10
Dedication: 7/10
Eco effect: 7/10
Total green score: 21/30


Oliver Heath
TV Presenter

The dashing former Changing Rooms presenter is combining his design skills with tackling climate change and is a media spokesperson for The Energy Savings Trust, and a writer for Friends of the Earth. He’s curated an eco-focused exhibition, set up a green homeware store (www.ecocentric.co.uk) and is overhauling his Brighton home with super efficient eco appliances.

Star power: 5/10
Dedication: 6/10
Eco effect: 7/10
Total green score: 18/30


Fred Pearce
Author and Journalist

Few writers have dedicated themselves to the scientific study of the environment as unwaveringly as Fred. And few have won so many awards, or written as many books on the subject. Currently a regular blogger and consultant for New Scientist, Fred travels the world lecturing and reporting on climate change issues. His latest work is Confessions Of An Eco Sinner.

Star power: 2/10
Dedication: 10/10
Eco effect: 9/10
Total green score: 21/30


Cormac Mccarthy
Author

Despite being nearly 80 years old, Cormac’s name only started getting plastered over billboards since his last two novels, No Country For Old Men and The Road, were turned into Hollywood movies. His first TV appearance was on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007, to discuss Pulitzer Prize-winning The Road, set after a horrific catastrophe wipes out almost every living thing.

Star power: 5/10
Dedication: 5/10
Eco effect: 7/10
Total green score: 17/30


Alex Lambie
Founder,
greenhelpline.com
 
Alex’s green career started with a design-led ethical clothing company earning him a spot on the shortlist for entrepreneur of the year in 2006. He went on to co-found www.greenhelpline.com, an energy switching site developed from an extensive pilot of 30,000 energy customers and an unwavering mission to stop the ‘greenwashing’ by energy companies.

Star power: 2/10
Dedication: 6/10
Eco effect: 6/10
Total green score: 14/30


Dan Ilett
Journalist

A journalist on the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, and The Economist, Dan fulfilled his green mission by founding a website covering clean technology and sustainable business – www.greenbang.com. It’s grown quickly – now staffed by a team of five, it attracts over 120,000 readers a month.

Star power: 3/10
Dedication: 5/10
Eco effect: 6/10
Total green score: 14/30


Joss Garman
Activist and Author

Think about protestors clambering on the roof of the House of Commons or camping at Heathrow, and you’ll be thinking of Plane Stupid, a group of non-violent activists co-founded by Joss Garman, 25. He has been heralded as a green hero by The Guardian and The Sunday Times.

Star power: 6/10
Dedication: 10/10
Eco effect: 8/10
Total green score: 24/30


Pictures: pa photos

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