3 Eco-Friendly Moments From Sunday’s Academy Awards
The Academy followed this year's Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards in embracing plant-based menus, while stars spoke up for animal rights and recycled past red carpet gowns.
"The Academy is an organization of storytellers from around the world, and we owe our global membership a commitment to supporting the planet," the group wrote in a Jan. 27 statement reported by The Independent. "For the past decade, the Academy has been committed to reducing its carbon footprint. For the past seven years, the Oscars show has had a net zero carbon imprint. We continue to expand our sustainability plan with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral."
Here’s the plant-based menu for today’s Oscar Nominees Luncheon. #oscars https://t.co/02NQtYp2ls— George Pennacchio (@George Pennacchio)1580157317.0
No dinner is served at the Oscars itself, but the Academy committed to serving only plant-based snacks in the lobby before the show, as well as at annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon in January.
The menu at the Governors Ball after-party, meanwhile, was 70 percent vegan and 30 percent vegetarian, meat and fish. But the Academy was mindful of the environment when selecting its animal-based dishes.
"All food served will be responsibly sourced and sustainably farmed. All fish served are listed on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommendation list," the Academy wrote in its statement.
"For a long time, vegans were seen as weirdos," Turnball said. "But now, with a ton of amazing documentaries, books, and media it has become more widely understood that being vegan or eating a plant-based diet is beneficial to the environment, our own health, and of course the animals."
The Academy considered other environmental concerns as well: It also pledged to eliminate plastic bottles at all of its events.
Joaquin Phoenix Speaks for the Cows
Joaquin Phoenix, who continued his awards-season sweep when he won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Joker Sunday, has also been victorious in encouraging various award shows this year to go vegan. He has been credited with proposing the idea to the Screen Actors Guild and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which organizes the Golden Globes, according to Salon. And he also convinced the Hollywood agency WME to give up animal products at its pre-Oscar party, Page Six reported.
In addition to his behind-the-scenes lobbying, Phoenix has used his acceptance speeches this year to highlight environmental issues. At the Golden Globes, he thanked the HFPA for "recognizing and acknowledging the link between animal agriculture and climate change."
In his Oscar speech Sunday, Phoenix said he was grateful for the opportunity people in the entertainment industry had to "use our voice for the voiceless," as The Guardian reported. He then went on to give an impassioned defense of human and animal rights:
JAW DROP. Sending a HUGE congratulations to #vegan Joaquin Phoenix for winning Best Actor! Joaquin has dedicated… https://t.co/cwCnB5QxOI— PETA (@PETA)1581308631.0
I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we're talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we're talking about the fight against injustice.His words won him the praise of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which retweeted his speech.
We're talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, one species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity.
I think we've become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe that we're the centre of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable. Then we take her milk that's intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.
Not all Oscar guests used words to make a statement.
Glamour writer Talia Abbas named sustainable fashion the "red carpet's best trend."
Actress Saoirse Ronan recycled the black part of her Gucci dress from another dress she had worn at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards last week. And actress Elizabeth Banks wore a red Badgley Mischka dress she had donned for the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in 2004.
"It's gorgeous and it fits…so why not wear it again?!" she wrote in an Instagram post, going on to explain that she was trying to raise awareness about "the importance of sustainability in fashion and consumerism as it relates to climate change, production & consumption, ocean pollution, labor & women."
Actresses Kaitlyn Dever and Léa Seydoux wore new Louis Vuitton gowns that were nevertheless ethically made as part of the Red Carpet Green Dress initiative, which has been promoting ethical, sustainable fashion at the Oscars for 11 years.
In a dramatic rescue captured on camera, a Florida man ran into a pond and pried open an alligator's mouth in order to rescue his beloved puppy, all without dropping his cigar.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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