5 stars who fight for environmental causes

Leonardo DiCaprio. Getty Images

TORONTO — American actor Robert Redford and Canadian musician Neil Young recently went public with their opposition to the Alberta oilsands, joining a long list of famous folks who have taken on environmental causes.

Redford appears in a video released Monday by the National Resources Defense Council saying the oilsands are “destroying our great northern forests at a terrifying rate” and “killing our planet.”

At a news conference in Washington on Sept. 11, Young said Fort McMurray looked like Hiroshima after the atomic bomb.

“There’s fumes everywhere,” he said. “You can smell it when you get to town.”

His comments sparked protest in Fort McMurray.

Stars like Brad Pitt, Ian Somerhalder, Edward Norton, Jessica Alba, Pierce Brosnan and Ed Begley Jr. have been outspoken advocates for the planet. Here are a five others:

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Leonardo DiCaprio

The actor co-wrote, produced and narrated the global warming documentary The 11th Hour and his eponymous foundation lobbies for a number of environmental causes including access to clean water, renewable energy and forest preservation.

Matt Damon

Damon campaigns for clean water initiatives in developing countries, where 10,000 people a day die from water-related diseases. The actor is co-founder of, which uses frank talk in videos to educate the public. “The next time you’re drinking fancy bottled water from the South Pacific, or moving your stocks while moving your bowels, take a moment to consider that the water six inches beneath your butt is cleaner than the drinking water of 1 billion of your neighbours.”

Pam Anderson

Canada’s Pamela Anderson, a passionate and outspoken animal rights activist, travelled to Haiti and Honduras to discuss ways of stopping the burning of forests for farming. Working with the Inga Foundation — which fights the “slash-and-burn” process of clearing land — Anderson is helping find sustainable solutions. The B.C. native has also supported efforts to ban oil tankers from the south coast of the province.

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Mark Ruffalo

The Hollywood star lives on a farm in New York State, where the Marcellus Shale holds one of the richest natural gas fields in the world. So, Ruffalo has become a vocal opponent of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking), a process wherein millions of gallons of water and chemicals are injected into the shale. He co-founded to educate the public about fracking.

Hayden Panettiere

The actress has been involved in the fight to protect whales and other marine life since she was 15 years old. Panettiere famously joined a team of activists who paddled at night to film the slaughter of dolphins — footage that appeared in the acclaimed documentary The Cove. She is a spokesperson for the Whaleman Foundation, which works to whales and dolphins from the impact of climate change and fishing, and has appeared before the U.S. Congress.


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