Media surrounds us, all day every day, it seems. From television to movies to the Internet, celebrity culture seems a part of our daily lives. What if it was possible to use that power to benefit a worthy cause? This is exactly what the Environmental Media Association (EMA) does. Since 1989, the EMA has used celebrities, television and movies to help bring awareness to environmental issues. Sometimes, the message is subtle, such as having characters in a sitcom recycling in a blue container in their kitchen. Sometimes the message is loud and clear, like the movie The Lorax, in which the environment was the central theme. The EMA is there to ensure that the entertainment industry takes part in promoting environmental awareness through initiatives like the EMA School Gardens or through recognition of environmental achievements in the industry at the annual EMA Awards.
In 1989, using television and film to bring awareness to environmental issues was a fairly new concept. The founders of the Environmental Media Association, Norman & Lyn Lear and Alan & Cindy Horn, believed that a great deal of power was held by the entertainment industry, and tapping in to that power could have a positive effect on how the public viewed the environmental movement. Until the EMA was formed, it was unheard of to see a celebrity driving or riding in a hybrid vehicle. Once it was introduced at the EMA Awards, it became standard practice to see big names arriving at awards shows in eco-friendly vehicles. Celebrities didn't generally speak up about their views on the environment until the EMA began to seek out celebrities to take part in their Young Hollywood Board, their School Garden projects, or their other initiatives. The EMA even offers entertainment industry leaders a resource list of ways to make their shows, movies and even production sets and offices greener.
Thanks to the work of the EMA over the years, it is now common to see environmental issues addressed head-on in popular television shows, kids’ shows, and movies. Through their partnership with the Green Seal Guidelines, the EMA is recognizing sets and production offices who are interested in going green, or who already have green practices in place. Celebrities are actively involved in modeling ways to live an environmentally responsible life for their sometimes millions of fans. The EMA continues to expand their reach with initiatives to recognize green communities and collaborate on events that seek to combine entertainment with eco-consciousness. By actively seeking new ways to link the entertainment industry to the environment, the EMA is ensuring that a healthy planet is a goal collectively shared by all of us.
The premier events in Hollywood tend to recognize people or performances, but the Environmental Media Association Awards recognize environmental achievements. This annual event brings the biggest and brightest environmental stars together for a night of celebration and innovation. Celebrities and entertainment industry professionals walk the "green" carpet, many while wearing eco-fashions, to fete the entertainment industry's biggest achievements in environmental awareness for the year. Some of the industry's biggest names, such as Jessica Alba, Lance Bass, Danny DeVito, Ian Somerhalder, Amy Smart with husband Carter Oosterhouse, and James Van Der Beek attended the 2012 Awards. The entire show is as green as possible, with a Zero Waste commitment, an ambitious recycling system, and the use of alternative fuel vehicles to bring presenters to the show.
The intent of the EMA is to ensure that environmental issues, from fracking to electric cars to solar energy, and more, receive as much exposure as possible to help spread awareness and encourage action. What better way to do this then through the power of media? Whether it is partnering big name celebrities with school garden projects in over fifteen urban Los Angeles schools, or encouraging industry decision makers to "green" their plotlines and characters with specific suggestions and ideas, the EMA is fostering a powerful force of change. Love it or hate it, celebrity culture is here to stay and the Environmental Media Association is helping the Hollywood machine become greener every year.