By HOLLY VAN WOERKOM
By Hollywood terms, two years is a long time. Just look at the high-profile romances of movie stars like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – it seems like a miracle they’ve stayed together longer than two months.
So it is no significant thing that for the second year in a row, the Academy Awards chose to promote a “green” theme for all its events last week. Similarly, a growing number of celebrities have made efforts in recent years to show off their environmental friendliness.
While Hollywood can’t help but be ostentatious and superficial in just about everything it does, the “green” theme of this year’s Oscars was more than fluff – it was legit.
“In planning and producing the Oscars, we decided to choose supplies, resources and services that would reduce Oscar’s ecological footprint,” said telecast producer Laura Ziskin in a news release. Ziskin helped the Academy work with the Natural Resources Defense Council to achieve their goals. “I am honored to have collaborated with the Academy and the NRDC to lay the groundwork for a more extensive, long-term program in the years to come.”
The top priority on the Academy’s list this year was energy – combining energy efficiency with renewable energy. With the cooperation of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, according to ABC’s Web site for the Oscars, 100 percent of the energy used for the telecast, the red-carpet arrivals show and the Governors Ball was supplied by renewable wind power. The ABC Web site estimated this prevented as much as 630 metric tons (693 U.S. tons) of carbon dioxide emissions. Also, the cars used by production staff and presenters were zero-emission hydrogen-powered cars and hybrids.
In addition, the Web site said, “carbon offsets into wind and solar power projects for generators used were purchased from Bonneville Environmental Foundation.” And after the Kodak Theatre received an energy audit last year, almost all fluorescent lighting was replaced with more efficient incandescent lighting.
Some of the things on the list of eco-friendly actions were so outlandish that only Hollywood could pull it off. A prime example: “Furniture used in green room will be reused for upcoming events at Kodak,” it says on the ABC Web site; the headline reads “Source reduction and reuse instead of buying new and discarding.”
So instead of buying couches for the event and then discarding them, they will make an “effort” to reused them after one weekend event.
Some other steps taken with the Academy Awards included an emphasis on recycling and using recyclable and compostable materials. For example, paper napkins contained 60 to 80 percent post-consumer recycled content, and the Kodak Theatre carried out a comprehensive composting program for food waste, plant waste and biodegradable service ware.
“I think it’s good that they’re doing it, but I don’t think it will make much of an impact,” said Suzy Montierth, a sociology major from Orem. “There has been a push for recycling before, but I don’t think it will be greater just because celebrities are doing it.”
What’s next for the new eco-friendly Hollywood? At worst, the folks at the Academy will replace the red carpet in front of the Kodak Theatre with a green one next year. At best, observers and admiring fans will take note and pause to consider ways they can reduce their own impact on the earth.