Posted on July 21, 2010 by
Ed Begley Jr., Leonardo DeCaprio, Ed Norton (easy on the eyes and the environment!), Robert Redford, and Daryl Hannah, and Cate Blanchett (swoon!) are just some of the celebrities that put their money and their environmentalism where their famous mouths are. Kudos for using your fame and status to do good things. Some other celebs have put their money and their fame where their feet are, which also just happens to also be their mouths.
Take Jennifer Aniston, the girl the tabloids love to hate. Hey, I admit that I was into Friends back when it was relevant for those three highly affable days in the late nineties. And although I am not into the whole “Why can’t she keep a man?” angst that seems to plague poor Jennifer, I do have an idea why both men and women might shun her in spite of her radiant smile: body odor. Jennifer, if you’re reading this — and I know you are — take a nice, long shower. No really. It’s okay, the environment wants for you to be thoroughly defunked when you step out of the shower. The whole world wants for you to be thoroughly defunked when you step out of the shower, including the men of the world. If you had any real friends, they’d tell you that all the cool kids are clean and odor-free. Here’s the deal, Innernetz: Jennifer Aniston is saving the planet by taking three-minute showers because “every two minutes in the shower uses as much water as a person in Africa uses for everything in their life for a whole day.” That’s admirable.
Saving water is a good thing and is good for the environment. The problem is that Jennifer claims that she even brushes her teeth while in the shower. Now, dentists say that to completely clean your teeth you need to brush for two minutes. I’m no mathematician but the math here is pretty simple. Two minutes to brush leaves only one minute to play with the water to get it to the right temperature, shave, wash, rinse, repeat, condition, and belt out Take Another Little Piece of My Heart. How much time does that leave Jennifer to scrub the paparazzi funk off her body? Pretty much zero minutes. Jen, ur doin it rong. Three minute showers are not helping people in Africa get clean water. Aside from that, even if you have a fabulous low-flow showerhead, you are wasting five gallons of water (2.5 gallons per minute) brushing your teeth while in the shower. If, instead, you brushed your teeth in the sink, you could use a fraction of that amount. And let’s face it: there is no way you’re able to pay proper attention to your pits and cracks in the minute you have left in the shower. So, come on, Jennifer. If you really want to do some green good give to The Water Project and help build a community well in an African village that really needs it.
What is it with celebrities and their bathroom habits as a force for green? Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz were trippin’ in Trippin’, a look-at-me-I’m-so-green-pseudo-eco-tour through the rain forests of Chile and Honduras, hosted, of course, by the disposable pop culture network MTV. Color me surprised that the brightest thing on the tours was the sunlight reflecting off their toothy veneers. Dana Stevens from Slate was kind enough to shovel through the piles of dung that is Trippin’ for this gem:
(During a canoe trip after a campout):
Barrymore: I took a poo in the woods hunched over like an animal … awesome.
Diaz: (laughing) I’m so jealous right now. I’m going to the woods tomorrow.
Barrymore: It was awesome.
Because, you know, that’s what being green is all about. Pooping in the woods like an animal. Here’s some news for you, Drew: some people still poop in the woods. They just don’t have toilets and abundant water to waste. Also, ecotourism may do more harm than good for the environment. After all, how many celebrities can poop in the woods before all that celebrity poop alters the environment it pretends to cherish? For the rest of us, if you actually want to help save the rainforest, talk to Sting and Trudie Styler about how it’s done.
And finally, there’s Sheryl Crow with her proposal for one square of toilet paper per bathroom visit.
Together with Jennifer Aniston’s hypersonic showers, this seems like a great way to ensure that nobody sits next to you when you use public transportation. But it’s just a little too green for most of us, if green is even the right color for this suggestion.
What do we take away from all this? Besides the desire to carry cruelty-free hand sanitizer the next time I have lunch with Jennifer Aniston or Sheryl Crow? Some celebrities use their high visibility and vast resources to do a lot of good for the environment. But, just like corporations, some other celebrities engage in their own green-washing, most likely for the same reasons: public perception and profit. And, surprisingly, a lot of the time, celebrity green-washing involves actual washing, or at least going to the bathroom. While I hope that all celebrities offering examples of their environmental awareness are sincerely devoted to the cause, I fear that some may simply be pooping on the green bandwagon.