Greening Hollywood: Rosario Dawson Takes Home EMA’s Futures Awards

by Paige Donner
[All photos Copyright Paige Donner]
Best host of the Environmental Media Association’s Awards night goes to Jeffrey Tambor who joked after introducing both Toyota, title sponsors of the evening and Tiffany & Co., EMA Corporate Responsibility Award Recipient…

“….and what they forgot to mention is that we’re all going home with a Lexus hybrid…,” and a bit later, “…and what Mike Kowalski [Tiffany’s CEO] forgot to mention is that we’re all going home with Tiffany jewels in our gift bags…”

Disappointingly, none of the NFL Eagles, also EMA Awards recipients, were offered up either…

Rosario Dawson took home the Futures Award and remembered her days as a child when she had no choice but to compost. Wilmer Valderrama presented her the award, “The Futures Award is not an annual award. It’s chosen only in those years when an outstanding candidate emerges.” He also highlighted Dawson’s participation in cell phone recycling programs and the canvas bag she designed for EMA.

Set design was a collage of e-waste — computers, monitors, electronics — painted a uniform, set to be staged in L.A.’s Exposition Park on Earth Day, was given a shout out during the program.

Debbie Levin and Amy Smart, EMA Awards ’08

Amy Smart is an EMA Board Member and comedic actress best known for her hilarious turn as a spoiled diva opposite Ryan Reynolds in Just Friends.

Paige Donner: How impactful do you think the EMAs are?

Amy Smart: This is my first time participating…but I think any time you’re drawing attention to something that’s this positive it’s a good thing. So, I think it probably has a big impact.

Paige Donner: How do we make the message cool?

Amy Smart: I think it already is cool. I’m really pleasantly surprised at how involved people are getting. I think just making fun products and making really cool cars that people want to drive that use less resources is easy enough and it’s fun. It’s already very trendy and I think that it’s going to snowball, hopefully.

Hart Bochner was a nominee for Best Feature and is an EMA Board Member. Just Add Water was the 2008 film that launched the Green Seal Certification. Time magazine named Bochner the “Greenest man in Hollywood,” this year.

Bochner can also be seen on Starter Wife, as Debra Messing’s love-interest.


Hart Bochner: Just Add Water is a movie [featuring Danny DeVito] I wrote and directed. It takes place in the most toxic community in America which is about three hours from here and is a town called Trona, California. I found it about 10 years ago and I couldn’t get it out of my head. This community, which is surrounded by incredible natural beauty, is so toxic; It has the worst air and water quality in America.So I wrote this fable about a common man living in this horrible place, trying to do the right thing for his family and save the community in the process.

Paige Donner: How urgent an issue is this trend towards privatization of water?

Hart Bochner: I think it’s really urgent. If you look at what we’re doing to the aquifers, and the communities that live in these cultures where their water is effectively being stolen from them. It’s despicable. Water should be like air. It should be a public resource that should be accessible to everybody.In my movie I identified that this company comes into a place that’s sustainable and pristine and for the quick buck, you know, come hell or high water, just kind of decimates it, and with no concern for its residents or the long-term.

Paige Donner: As a board member of EMA what have you been involved with?

Hart Bochner: One of the things I came up with is the Green Seal which targets film and television productions to green sets as a way of conserving energy and getting the word out behind the scenes as well as through content and in the story. We were given the first ever green seal last year — the year the film was in production.

Debbie Levin, President of the EMA, spoke to Greening Hollywood about the evolution of the Environmental Media Association:

The last eight, nine years there has been a tremendous change and shift in awareness. I think the Hollywood community has fully embraced how powerful their voices are for the environmental movement. Because it’s really a lifestyle choice, it’s not political.When you’re dealing with an issue, that is relatable and is not loaded, celebrities are the perfect voice for that because celebrities really lead in trends and I think that when you see celebrities driving hybrid cars and carrying canvas bags, it becomes cool. And that makes the entire thing evolve and then it becomes the norm rather than radical- thinking people. So I think it has definitely permeated the way we all live right now, and I do think celebrity has a lot to do with it.

EMA Awards Presenter, Wilmer Valderrama

Paige Donner: “Permeated,” seems to be the operative word. Do you think there will be a time when “green” becomes invisible?

Debbie Levin: My hope is that we don’t need to exist anymore, honestly. My hope is that the message is just there. The whole idea is that there shouldn’t be a green lifestyle, it should just be how we live. And I don’t think that we’re that far away. Maybe another ten years or so.

Todd Biermann,nominated for his show, Red, Hot & Green: I do all green bulidng. I think I’m one of the few people who actually does Green Building on all the shows that we do. Red, Hot & Green is a show where we showcase that you can be cool, you can be hip and you can also be eco-friendly. I’m also presenting the responsibility award tonight to Toyota.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mike Kowalski, Tiffany’s CEO

Christina and Jeffrey Lurie, owners of the NFL Eagles, were honored with the EMA Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award.

Paige Donner: How can other teams follow your lead?

Christina Lurie: The NFL is putting together an NFL Dream Team. They’re going to put together a how-to for all the different teams. Hopefully a lot of the teams will follow suit. Each team is on an individual basis but more and more they’re all aware of the implications of what we need to do for the environment, for the planet. They’ll be using energy that is way more efficient and more recycled materials. The main thing is being more efficient.

Paige Donner: Is it necessary as a team owner to interface with your local city government to get a lot of these things done?

Jeffrey Lurie: Not really. It starts with just a daily commitment that you want to try to limit your impact. That when you own a sports team, a 70,000-seat stadium… and you think of all the cars and everything that goes into games… it makes you realize you have to really take responsibility for your carbon footprint. We take into consideration on a daily basis our office complex, our stadium operations, everything we purchase, everything we do, realizing we’re just trying to reduce our negative imprints.Christina Lurie: We also have a huge network of vendors. We, as a team, can ask a vendor to use corn-based products and then they realize that, yes, that’s possible. They will then go to other stadiums and schools and such. Aramark is one of our vendor-partners and they have a huge network of stadiums, hospitals, prisons… it’s a roller-coaster I think. It starts with one and then it keeps growing.

Shondrella Avery is best-known for her “Lafonda” character in Napoleon Dynamite where she played Kip’s visiting girlfriend. Recently she was in The Secret Life of Bees.

Paige Donner: How do we make the message cool?

Shondrella Avery: Well, I’m the girl from Napoleon Dynamite, which is a cool movie. So if Lafonda from the movie tells you green is cool, and Lafonda is the girl who pimped out Kip in the movie, then why wouldn’t you do it?I mean, that’s just one thing, utilizing your celebrity to really bridge the gap so that the young people who are getting out there have good values to follow. It helps that I’m from the world of film and TV comedy…just seeing me here makes it cool. I think that when people see that the environment is important to me, that it might cause them to stop and consider that maybe it should be important to them, too. Seeing celebrities speaking out on behalf of the environment, wearing t-shirts and stuff, it will beome more hip as time progresses.

It’s cool. Because Lafonda said so. That’s what makes it cool. [said with a laugh.

Nicole Richie, EMA Awards ’08

Liz Earle Naturally Active Skin Care, first U.K. sponsor of EMA Awards.

Liz Earle,

” We started in the U.K. fifteen years ago. We were green before we knew we were green. Back then green was the color of an eyeshadow. it wasn’t a way of life.

We started our line based on natural plant ingredients because we genuinely thought they were the best ingredients for the skin. And now it’s all about being beautiful, sustainable and using plant-based materials which is the best thing for the environment and the best thing for your skin.

Our organic cotton muslin cloth gently buffs away the dead skin cells…it’s really simple. And I think that’s why it has captured people’s imaginations because it really works and it doesn’t cost the earth, either. It’s not expensive and it’s not costing the resources of the planet.

We believe there’s a great synergy between Liz Earle Skin Care and the EMA because skin is so much about who you are, isn’t it? We all have skin. And we all have to look after it. “

Paige Donner: How do we make the message cool?

Darren Moore: We just keep doing what we’re doing. You know, make it fashionable. Just keep moving down that path. I think that it’s going to have to be a mainstream approach. It’s not going to be showing the granola side of things. People have seen that, they know that. We gotta make this look cool first…and fun. And then the rest will follow.

EMA Awards

The Environmental Media Association awarded six films and television programs with an Environmental Media Award. The event also honored actress/producer Rosario Dawson, the Philadelphia Eagles, and Tiffany & Co. for their dedication to environmental causes. For Tiffany & Co. it was for their “dirty gold” and “too prescious to wear” campaigns and the award was presented by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

The winners for 2008 Environmental Media Awards are:

Feature Film
Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage)

Planet in Peril (CNN)

Television Episodic Drama
Boston Legal: “Green Christmas” (ABC)

Television Episodic Comedy
30 Rock: “Greenzo” (NBC)

Reality Program
Mobile Home Disaster: “The Fricks” (CMT)

Children’s Live Action/Animated
Handy Manny: “Sculptor Manny/Manny Goes Solar” (Disney)


The Environmental Media Association (EMA) is a Non-Profit 501(c)3 Organization founded in 1989 by Cindy and Alan Horn and Lyn and Norman Lear.

EMA is dedicated to harnessing the power of celebrity and the media to promote sustainable lifestyles.

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