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Celebrities for a Cause

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Celebrities are often idolized for their position within society: these well-known, handsome or beautiful faces and bodies, whose per-movie pay check is often more than many of us will make in a lifetime. Ashley Summers writes for Blue & Green.

Somehow Hollywood has ‘captured’ the current generations and everyone wants to be an actor, model, or musician when they “grow up”. There is a lot of pressure put on people all over the world to maintain a youthful appearance, to look, buy, and be like many of the celebrities that plaster all forms of mass media. It’s almost impossible to escape these images, the ideals, or the nagging sense that the rest of us aren’t “good enough.”

As someone who enjoys movies, but hasn’t owned a TV in over a decade, I find the celebrity fascination to be an interesting, albeit concerning, social and cultural phenomenon. When I look through the news headlines, I tend to skim over things about anything relating to pop-culture, not only because it doesn’t impact me personally in any way, shape, or form, but mostly because I don’t see the point in bothering to pry into another’s personal business.


There are the unique exceptions to this, however, and these celebrities have bridged the “look at me” gap and have stepped into the political, economic, environmental, or humanistic limelight.

Leonardo DiCaprio is undeniably a talented actor. Of all the movies I’ve seen him in, I only further appreciate his dedication to portraying a character. As a writer, I have a hard enough time fashioning characters to be life-like, but when I witness him take a written character and make him real—well, suffice it to say, I can respect that.

What’s more, is that Leo is a caring, conscious, and outspoken advocate for the more important things—the life or death measures that are not fictionalized or part of some script. He is a passionate voice for tackling climate change and altering the progress of humanity as he sees that things are only going to deteriorate in the coming years.

Last year, he has addressed the UN summit meeting on climate change, pleading for swift action as an appointed UN Messenger of Peace. “I stand before you not as an expert, but as a concerned citizen,” he starts. “Every week we’re seeing new and undeniable climate events, evidence that accelerated climate change is here right now.”


He goes on to state [that] “none of this is rhetoric and none of it is hysteria; it is fact.” The rest of his address can be found online here. He is an anomaly in the world of Hollywood’s most aesthetically-pleasing, and a refreshing breath of awareness in a dense pool of egotism.

Another A-lister who has made strides to address inequality and global human concerns is Angelina Jolie. She is famous for multiple roles in movie appearances and is from a notably famous family. This hasn’t hindered her care for the less-fortunate. She has travelled the world, often crossing into danger zones to be with people who live in these extremes on a daily basis.

Since initially witnessing the stresses of war for people in Cambodia in 2001, she has committed much of her time and effort to visiting refugees and people all over the globe including, but not limited to: Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Thailand, Ecuador, Kosovo, Kenya, Namibia, Sri Lanka, North Caucasus, Jordan, Egypt, India, Costa Rica, Chad, Syria, Iraq, and Haiti.

In addition to these first-hand experiences, she has brought peoples’ stories back to The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She acts as an international voice for people who can’t speak for themselves; those whose horrific experiences with oppression, violence, and human need must be addressed by the international community. She is quoted as saying that she wants to see an “awareness of the plight of these people. I think they should be commended for what they have survived, not looked down upon.”

Life can be a difficult thing even for the most fortunate, but there are unimaginable things that others go through on a daily basis. It’s imperative that all individuals, communities, and nations are aware of the stresses and struggles of other peoples, ecosystems, and the planet as a shared home.

If we don’t increase the dissemination of information through honest, forward, and factual discourse, we are going to lose more people and parts of the planetary ecology to the effects of war, disease, climate change, and other preventable atrocities. It is up to each of us—daily—to choose wisely and make decisions as they will directly or indirectly impact other peoples and the world as a whole.

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.


While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.


One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.


1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.


4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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