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The Green Life: Eco Egos: 3 Celebs Famous For Being Green

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October 23, 2009

Eco Egos: 3 Celebs Famous For Being Green

Green celebrities No Impact Man isn't the only one capitalizing on the green movement to turn himself into a living, breathing brand name—just the latest. There's kind of a formula to it, in fact: Mix two parts desire to change the world, one part original idea of how to go about same and a dash of entrepreneurship. Then remove any fear of looking like a jackass, stir and . . . presto! You're a media phenomenon.

DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD: The privileged (of, yes, those de Rothschilds) 31-year-old Brit bought an organic farm while working in the music industry after college and seems to have been transformed by the experience. Soon thereafter, he founded Adventure Ecology, which highlights environmental issues by organizing expeditions to sensitive ecosystems. De Rothschild's team set a speed record for trekking across the Greenland icecap and he became one of just 14 people ever to have traversed Antarctica. His outdoorsmanship earned the self-styled “eco-adventurer” enough credit to be named an “Emerging Explorer” by National Geographic, and his media savvy got him a show on the Sundance Channel, Eco Trip, in which he tools around in an Outback tracing the ecological footprint of everyday items like chocolate bars and T-shirts. Next up: Sailing to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on a catamaran made of recycled plastic bottles. In sum: If you like Bear Grylls, Survivorman, and Al Gore, you're gonna love David de Rothschild.

JOSH DORFMAN: This Ivy League grad and MBA had an epiphany while living in Nanjing: Once China's billion citizens upgraded from bicycles to cars, as each of them seemed to hope to, the planet would surely be doomed. Dorfman came home to start an eco-friendly furniture line and began peddling the idea that helping the environment could be done with style and ease. Three years later, in 2006, he adopted the persona “The Lazy Environmentalist,” with an eponymous call-in show on Sirius radio, a website, and a book a year later. “Consuming products is intrinsically tied to the very fabric of our lifestyles,” Dorfman says. “Reducing the impact of our consumption on the planet while still maintaining the quality of our lives is where The Lazy Environmenalist comes in.” In sum: Want to go green without letting it crimp your style (or, critics say, actually doing anything)? Look to The Lazy Environmentalist.

DOUG FINE: A journalist with a sense of humor and a finely tuned absurdity detector (usually trained on himself), Fine reported from Burma, Rwanda, and Tajikistan before settling down in the Alaskan bush. He started documenting the experience for NPR and later turned his foibles into his first book. Suddenly infused with a need to act responsibly in a world gone mad, ecologically speaking, Fine then moved to rural New Mexico, on a "hypocrisy-reduction project" to test whether he really could live sustainably.” His second book, Farewell My Subaru, catalogs self-deprecating tales of installing solar panels, converting to biodiesel, and protecting his chickens from coyotes. Now Fine blogs between speaking engagements and still raises goats. In sum: If you don't take yourself too seriously—but are serious about living off the grid—Doug Fine is the eco-fabulous guy for you. 

--Paul Tullis

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