Five Celebrities Making the Environment Their Business

What do a Lincoln Continental, a Victoria Secret model and Kevin Costner have to do with each other? Environmentalism. Duh.

The future of renewable energy may depend on solar power, but in the here and now, don't discount the importance of star power. Here are five celebs who are bridging entertainment and the environment.

Neil Young's LincVolt
Longtime environmental advocate Neil Young funded development of the LincVolt, a 1959 Lincoln Continental Mark IV reconfigured to run on battery power. The 2.5-ton, 19.5-foot Mark IV was a notorious gas guzzler. Post-makeover, the LincVolt closes in on 100 miles per gallon. Unfortunately, the LincVolt's image took a hit in November 2010, when the car's charging system caused a fire in the warehouse where it was contained. It's doubtful that's what Young had in mind when he sang "It's better to burn out than to fade away."

Kevin Costner's Ocean Therapy Solutions
Kevin Costner threatened the serenity of the Earth with his megaflop Waterworld, but in 2010 he got the chance to atone for his cinematic sins. BP turned to his Ocean Therapy Solutions to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Costner spent more than 15 years developing a centrifuge that can extract 2,000 barrels of oil from water per day. BP spent $16 million to deploy 32 of the machines--a bargain next to the $80 million Warner Bros. blew on Costner's The Postman. We're still waiting for you to make up for that one, Kev.

Miranda Kerr's Kora Organics
When you're as gorgeous as Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr, you probably could create products made from kitten tails and unicorn tears and no one would call you out. But Kerr took the high road, using plant-derived ingredients to launch her Kora Organics skincare line in late 2009. Kora products are infused with antioxidant-rich Noni, essential fatty acids, herbal extracts and vitamins. That means none of the warning labels associated with inorganic, chemical-based products--although in the interest of full disclosure, Kora products should carry a heads-up stating "Using this item will not make you as hot as Miranda Kerr."

Bob Marley's Marley & Co.
Late reggae great Bob Marley's music has long been integral to the green lifestyle. So it was probably inevitable that Marley's children would launch Marley & Co. to lend his name and image to eco-friendly merch (like in-ear headphones made from soybeans and--wait for it--hemp, and Marley Mellow Moods, a "relaxation drink" created exclusively from natural ingredients). The Marley family is also planning a sustainable Jamaican farm to grow environmentally friendly coffee. So where are the biodegradable "No Woman, No Cry" tissues?

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino's GTL Green Garmento
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino's allegiance to the holy trinity of "gym, tan, laundry" on MTV's Jersey Shore makes him the perfect pitchman for Green Garmento, the startup behind a line of reusable dry-cleaning bags. According to the company's website, 300 million pounds of single-use dry cleaning bags clog U.S. landfills and waterways each year. Let's hope another startup is targeting an even more dangerous ecological threat: The unholy petri dish that is the Jersey Shore house's Jacuzzi.

Chicago-based writer Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of Fiercemobile content, a daily electronic newsletter dedicated to mobile media, applications and marketing.

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This article was originally published in the April 2011 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Green Idols.

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