In real life, Cameron Diaz is as green as Princess Fiona, the character she voices in Shrek. The four-time Golden Globe-nominated actress drives a hybrid Prius, uses offsets for carbon-neutral travel, recycles, and buys environmentally friendly products. She also traveled the world to examine environmental issues in her MTV show Trippin; helped develop and wrote the foreword for a new book just out called The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time; is currently appearing in a new series of green-themed public service announcements; and traveled to Nashville to take a training course taught by Al Gore about global warming. It was her admiration for the former VP that led to her current involvement helping promote his latest project, Live Earth, a 24-hour, seven-continent series of nine concerts taking place on July 7, 2007, that will bring together more than 150 music artists (including Madonna, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Rihanna, and the Police) and (according to Live Earth’s website) 2 billion people to ”use the global reach of music to engage people on a mass scale to combat our climate crisis.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How would you describe Live Earth?
CAMERON DIAZ: It’s a big party. [Laughs] It’s to bring awareness and have a kick-off, basically. But it’s a big party. Having these concerts I think is a way to just kick off what is going to be the next step of the movement — making people aware, and bringing attention to this cause. Which is everyone’s cause: It’s the one thing that we actually all share in common: the planet.
What aspects of Live Earth are you most excited about?
I’m looking forward to the energy. I’m looking forward to bringing people together. I keep thinking of it as a sort of premiere party for this campaign which, once we get through the concert — which is going to be a lot of fun and everybody’s going to come together and hopefully become more aware of what’s going on — we’re setting the ball in motion.
You said at the February press conference for Live Earth that ”This is the only issue in the history of mankind that affects every single one of us.” What a statement, then, to have an event take place simultaneously on seven different continents around the world.
I think so, absolutely. We’re a global society; we’re a global community. Everybody’s surviving off the planet, surviving off the land somehow…. We all require the same things and we all get it from the same place. So in that alone, we have become a global society. What I see is all of it coming together now that we’re all connected. Especially through music — that’s not even global, that’s universal. [Laughs]
NEXT: Diaz’s tips on going green
I know Live Earth is not first time you’ve worked with Al Gore — I read that you traveled to Nashville to attend his trainings on how to give his global warming slide-show with 1,000 other people.
I really wanted to find out what was ”going on” [Laughs]. So I sort of reached out to Al and he said, ”Hey, I’m doing this slide-show presentation, I’m teaching it, why don’t you come out and see what we got going on.” And he’s amazing. He is so charismatic, wonderful — he’s a great teacher. He just reaches everyone in the room. And we had a really great time and it was very informative. And the people learning there were so inspiring to me. They came from all walks of life: teachers and students and executives and artists. Everyone from all over the country. And some people were giving the presentation the next day! When we were finished, they were like, ”I have to do this in front of 50 people tomorrow.” So I was really impressed by everyone’s passion, and understanding too that you give 1,000 people that information, it’s really powerful. And they spread out — that’s grassroots. They make an impact on their community and it just spreads.
At the Live Earth website, there are a lot of tips on going green. What types of measures do you take in your own life to be more environmentally aware?
Well, I just do as much as I can do — be aware of my energy consumption, how much power I use, how much I run the water, set my thermostat, my recycling, my car — I drive a Prius. I do my carbon offsetting for my travels because I travel so much. My travel agent just basically tallies it as I go. I am trying to retrofit everything as much as possible, and other projects I have going on I try to do them consciously, and as green as possible. And I am just trying to help spread the word.
What advice can you offer to people who want to start greening their lifestyles but don’t know where to start?
Well, in about a month-and-a-half there is going to be a lot of information related to this campaign. Also, you know, we have the Internet. If you can pull up like who’s having sex with who [laughs] — you can definitely pull up how to save energy. It does just start with the basics. It starts with being aware of your consumption, your energy consumption. There are a slew of products as far as recycling goes.
NEXT: ”I like hugging trees too! I do! It’s awesome! They’re alive!”
In addition to traveling, I know you’re a big surfer and you seem to love being outdoors. How do you find the time to actually get outside and commune with nature?
Whenever I’m in a city I always go to the gardens, usually the municipal gardens. And I’ll just take off my shoes and put my foot right on the ground — it does connect you in a totally different way. And I like hugging trees too! I do! It’s awesome! They’re alive! They’re brilliant so I’m not going to be afraid to say it! I hug trees! [Laughs]
In the long run, what role do you think movies like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and events like Live Earth will really play?
Media is God at this point. Media creates thought — everybody’s consciousness, you know? People don’t get their consciousness from anything else these days. The media tells you what’s important. Definitely, if we can balance out all the other stuff that gets shoved down our throat these days we are being told is important, why not throw in a couple of things that actually are important?
Do you think that with the science that’s now coming out, and events like Live Earth, that we’ve reached kind of a tipping point where ignoring the problem of global warming is no longer an option and change must and will occur?
Yeah, I think we have definitely reached that. We’ve come to the point. And that’s why I say I think it’s a party — it’s a celebration. We shouldn’t look at it as ”Holy s—! We’re all going to die!” We should look at it as ”Yay! We’re all going to live!” You know? We’re all here right now realizing and recognizing that there’s an issue, and we have the answers, and we have the power and the resolve and the ability to change it. And make it go in our favor. And that’s exciting. How great is it that we’re going to be proactive in our lives and create a better world? This is not a farewell concert — this is a celebration as far as I’m concerned.
For more information on getting tickets or tuning in to the Live Earth concert (as well as tips on taking action and greening your lifestyle), see www.liveearth.org. The concert here in the U.S. will be held at the Giants Stadium and include performers such as such as The Police, John Mayer, Roger Waters, Bon Jovi, the Dave Matthews Band, Kanye West, and Kelly Clarkson, and just a small sampling from the eclectic acts coming out to support the cause in other cities around the globe include Madonna, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Black Eyed Peas in London; Crowded House in Sydney; Snoop Dogg, Chris Cornell and Shakira in Hamburg; Lenny Kravitz and Macy Gray in Brazil; and Linkin Park and Rihanna in Tokyo. (If you can’t attend in person, there are other ways to get educated or tune into the show via radio, television as well as online — see www.liveearth.org for details. The concert will be streamed live by MSN at liveearth.msn.com.)