Green Consumer Guide -- ‘Crash’ star Thandie Newton has written to a host of fellow celebrities in the US and UK to urge them to follow her lead and change their cars from 4x4s to more eco-friendly alternatives.
BAFTA winner Thandie made the switch from a BMW X5 to a hybrid Toyota Prius after Greenpeace campaigners left a sticker on her 4x4 explaining the environmental impact of driving SUVs. As part of the awareness-raising campaign from the environmental group, which has been ongoing for several months, cardboard clamps, fake tax discs and information leaflets are left attached to 4x4s.
"My concerns for the environment had been growing for a long time but I had not connected them with the car I drove. When I saw the sticker it just connected all the dots up," said Thandie Newton.
"We didn't know it was Thandie Newton's car when we did it. To us it would have been just another massive 4x4,” explained Cat Dorey, the Greenpeace activist who left the sticker on Thandie’s X5. ”We've talked to a lot of 4x4 owners through our campaign, and most do understand our view - they have just never thought about how much CO2 their cars are pumping out. The saddest thing I hear is that people buy these huge cars to keep their kids safe, as if climate change is going to be good news for anyone's kids!"
"I think it's fantastic that Thandie sold her 4x4 to buy a Prius. Some of these 4x4s pump out two or three times their own body weight in CO2 every year, but hybrids have a much better fuel efficiency. Hopefully some of the other famous people she's written to will do the same. Celebrities have such a big influence on public fashions and they have to realise that when they are pictured in Hello magazine clambering out of these climate wreckers it sends out a really bad message,” added Cat Dorey.
Recipients of Thandie’s letter included fellow actors Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron, musicians Chris Martin, Michael Jackson and Ozzy Osbourne, and football stars David Beckham, Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, among others.
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The 2006 Champions of the Earth are:
- Tewolde Gebre Egziabher of Ethiopia, who campaigns for community rights in Africa and against the patenting of life forms.
- Tommy Koh of Singapore, who chaired the Earth Summit and the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea.
- Mikhail Gorbachev of the Russian Federation, who is prominent in the field of international environmental politics.
- Rosa Elena Simeon Negrin of Cuba, a champion of small island developing states.
- The Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), which promotes women’s economic, social and gender rights within sustainable development.
- Mohamed El-Ashry of Egypt, former head of the Global Environment Facility, which helps developing countries with sustainable development.
- Massoumeh Ebtekar, Iran’s first female vice-president and a champion of cleaner production in the petrochemical industry.