Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympic Green

The Olympics are about dreams coming true. They're about hard work, determination, commitment and love.

While each athlete is inspiring in his or her own way, sometimes they also inspire crushes. Or, in my case, a Cougar Crush. What can I say? I like Shaun White… I guess I have a thing for snowboarders!

He's adorable (it's the red hair), he's the greatest snowboarder of all time, he never seems stressed out and of all the athletes, he's the one who looks like he's having the most fun.

But wait! This is a blog about being green! Not about his signature move, the Double McTwist 1260. Because that isn't the only thing I'm excited about...the Olympics are Double McGreen 2010!

For starters…the medals are not only super hip, they're super recycled and made from old circuit boards! Hmmm. Could Shaun White be wearing my old Mac around his neck? Could we be hardware mates?

The medals' design is inspired by the “ocean waves, drifting snow and mountainous landscape found at the games.” They are taken from a larger piece of art and each Olympian will receive a silk scarf of that work so that they can see how their one-of-a-kind medal fits into the scene.

The medals aren't the only thing that's green. The Olympic village was given LEED Gold Status by the US Green Building Council.

The City of Vancouver required at least half of the village's 22 buildings to have 50% coverage of "living roofs" or "greenroofs," that help reduce energy consumption. The buildings also reuse rainwater to flush toilets and irrigate landscaping.

Residents moving to Southeast False Creek after the Games will benefit from the City’s Neighborhood Energy Utility (NEU) project. The first of its kind in North America, NEU will supply hot water and heating to residents by garnering heat from the sewer system. This initiative will reduce carbon emissions by 7,700 tons a year, which is equivalent to taking over 1,900 cars off the road.

And while you can't get to the games by bobsled, Vancouver has provided tons of buses and trains to get the fans back and forth. Bus and train passes are included with every ticket purchase.

Now I also have a crush on the Canadians!

Unfortunately, not all of their green efforts have won the gold. You may be familiar with some of the problems they've been having with smoothing the ice for the speed skaters. It's due to the environmentally-friendly, but malfunctioning ice resurfacing machines. They had to send to Calgary for a Zamboni (which, for some reason, I keep referring to as a Stromboni).

As far as Vancouver's efforts to produce a green Olympics goes, sometimes a quadruple toe loop only winds up a triple, but the hard work, dedication, and commitment do not go unnoticed. Canada obviously has a lot of love and respect for Mother Earth.

The Vancouver Olympics are proving that “owning the podium” is inspiring, but so is recycling and reusing it. The Gold, Silver and Bronze are all impressive, but I say Canada wins the highest honor of all…the Green Medal!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I am ME!

My friend Jen sent me a link to the Josie Maran Cosmetics blog. Josie Maran is a model and mom who developed an entire make-up line that is eco-friendly (made with the best ingredients) and sold in biodegradable packaging.

I love her products! They look and feel great. Her smooth eye shadows, non-sticky lip gloss and Bear Naked make-up remover wipes are my favorites.

I had no idea she had a blog so when Jen sent me the link, I immediately navigated over to it.
It’s a great blog full of make-up and health tips, activism, and even contests!

But there was one thing that really moved me and got me thinking. It is their “I Am” Revolution. Send in your picture with your “I am” sign and a little description about what “you are” and they will post it on their blog.

So I thought, “I am…what?”

I am aware. I am accepting of myself. I am at peace. I am happy. I am healthy. I am secure. I am where I should be right now. I am hard-working. I am pretty. I am in love. I am silly. I am in the moment. I am a writer. I am green. I am an actor. I am thankful.

Which one most reflected what I am right this moment. And the one that kept coming back was I am accepting of myself.

This is a new thing for me as I am also someone who really does care what people think of me. I am not at the weight that I would like to be at. I am clumsy. I am critical of myself. I am a people-pleaser.

All these things are hard to admit.

But a few weeks ago, I saw my friend Marc. He had moved and we hadn’t seen each other in a few years. He always inspires me and this time was no different. Something in our conversation sparked me and I seemed to let go a little of my insecurities and accept that this is who I am. I am a work in progress. I’m still clumsy and will always be sensitive but I’m me and there’s only one of me.

So on Josie’s wall, I will post that “I am me!” And as “me,” I will continue to be green and do what I can to help make a difference in the world. I will act and be proud of my work. I will write and love my words. I will be kind and treat people the way I’d want to be treated. I will be present in my life. I will be silly. I will work hard to get to where I want to be. I will love.

And I will do so wearing Josie Maran Cosmetics!

Monday, February 8, 2010

If I Can't Laugh, I Don't Want to Be a Part of Your Greenolution

Last year's Super Bowl got me all hot and bothered because of the confetti on the field. This year the confetti still drove me crazy, but somehow (dare I say) I felt New Orleans deserved it.

The current green Super Bowl controversy has nothing to do with paper and everything to do with a car that was named Green Car of the year by Green Car Journal.

Some greenies are going through the ozone layer in their reaction to the Audi "Green Police" ad, which depicts a world in which Americans are arrested for a variety of crimes against the environment -- choosing plastic over paper, using incandescent light bulbs, not composting compostable refuse and sitting in a too-hot hot tub.

"You picked the wrong day to mess with the ecosystem," says one cop before hauling off a hapless, non-green consumer.

Very little of the controversy stems from objections to Audi's car, the A3 TDI, which runs on "clean diesel" and claims to get 42 mpg on the highway and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30%.

And no one seems to have a problem with Cheap Trick's decision to re-record "The Dream Police" as "The Green Police."

It largely comes from people objecting to greenies being portrayed as "meddlesome do-gooders."

But wait! Isn’t that what we are and isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?

I pass out citations practically everyday at work, home and even on the street. I’m constantly picking paper out of the trash and waiving it in people’s faces asking who threw it away. Or giving people their Miranda rights over the using a plastic water bottle instead of a reusable one. And the only reason I haven’t arrested anyone over hot tub temperatures is because I’m not in LA (though that will be my first call of duty once I return).

The earth needs us to be meddlesome do-gooders!

The best humor makes use of exaggeration as well as humanity. This Audi spot has both. It lampoons the zeal of the green movement, but not its basic principles, which it champions -- and claims to embody -- in a product.

Plus it was funny! It was funnier than the Simpsons Coca-Cola ad (and made a better point).

If the green movement REALLY wants to stop being seen as stuffy, uptight and yes, meddlesome, it needs to laugh more.

Look, as anyone who reads this blog knows, I've been a member of the Green Police for quite some time. And I'm not due for my pension for at least 30 years.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Hollywood celebrities have been going green for some time ( Ed Begley, Jr., Leonardo DiCaprio, and Edward Norton just to name a few). And now Hollywood productions are getting into the act.

Film festivals, awards shows, TV and movie sets are going carbon neutral.
I was beside myself to learn that my favorite show, 24, is turning off all electrical equipment when not in use, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs and using renewable power sources like wind and solar energy. I knew I loved Kiefer for a reason!

Maya Rudolph's new film Away We Go was so environmentally friendly that they are releasing a documentary about the ways they reduced their environmental impact.

Even the Screen Actors Guild Awards got their green on by limiting their printing (on recycled paper), using organic and locally grown food and flowers, and donating or composting leftovers.

I was also pleased to find out that the Producers Guild West has a Green Committee.

These are just a few of the inspiring efforts going on. A couple of weeks ago, I got to be a part of one.

My friends, Sharon Shenk and Adam Schram, are filmmakers whose work has appeared and won awards in many festivals, including the LA Shorts Film Festival, Big Apple Film Festival and Tropfest. Their production company is called Sundown Productions and I was recently fortunate enough to be cast in their latest film. At the shoot not only were they innovative in their filmmaking, but also in their approach to the environment.

Sharon reuses all of the napkins, coffee cups, food containers, etc. from the restaurants that cater her meetings. And when she can, at craft services she uses the real deal -- plates, silverware, ceramic coffee mugs. She is also vegan, so the food she supplies is always healthy and from good sources.

We were waiting around for a scene to be shot when I walked onto the set while the crew was setting up the lighting. I noticed they were using CFL light bulbs! I started to talk with the cameraman and he showed me how he had crafted a few of his own lighting set-ups using items around the house (like a used, disposable foil roasting pan). I was amazed and impressed. I not only felt great about being part of the movie, but also about being part of its green efforts.

When I was in L.A., I lived two blocks away from Grauman's Chinese Theater and was always thrilled by its famous footprints. Now the film business is aspiring to something even better than a cement footprint -- a small carbon one.

SIDE NOTE...If you’re into celebrity gossip AND being green, then you must check out one of my favorite sites, Ecorazzi.