With evidence of climate change all around us, activists and changemakers across the world have taken on the mantle to educate people on ways they could make a difference. Joining them is a crop of celebrities who use their platform and stardom to turn the spotlight on environmental issues.
While some of these star eco-warriors work to protect the oceans, others hope to develop a culture of recycling and reusing.
Here are five of Bollywood’s favorite leading ladies who are using their star status to bring attention to various environmental causes.
Actor, producer, entrepreneur, and environmentalist Dia Mirza was appointed the United Nations Environment’s Goodwill Ambassador for India in 2017. Recently, Mirza represented India at the UNi Climate Action Summit 2019 where she met UN General Secretary António Guterres as an advocate of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
In a Twitter chat—called the #SDGsImpactChat—that she hosted on sustainable development, she underscored the value in drawing inspiration from the Vedas, which promoted a life of harmony with nature.
In her consistent efforts towards conserving the environment, Mirza’s campaigns advocate against single-use plastic. One such campaign, #CleanSeas, launched on Valentine's Day 2018, saw the actor promoting the end of a toxic relationship with single-use plastic, by replacing it with sustainable alternatives.
Leading by example, she has campaigned with the UN on #BeatPlasticPollution as well. Another major global campaign run by her was the #BreatheLife campaign on air quality, one that is particularly relevant to India in recent times.
Actor and director Nandita Das is a world citizen who is actively working towards the cause of water conservation. Known for her protests against advertisement of fairness products in the country, she is also an environmental activist in her own right.
In 2003, Nandita collaborated with a Delhi-based NGO, called Centre for Science and Environment, to spread awareness on water conservation as well as harvesting. She used her skills behind the camera to produce educational short films for children on rainwater harvesting, using a lyrical approach to communicate an environmental solution.
"Rainwater harvesting must capture people’s imagination for it to work," Nandita Das has said. Her 90-second short film was released as a public service advertisement in her attempt towards bringing about environmental awareness.
Priyanka Chopra juggles many roles from that of being an actor, singer, and international movie star, to a humanitarian and green crusader. Known for highlighting initiatives to preserving the environment, Priyanka became the green ambassador for NDTV-Toyota's environment campaign Greenathon in 2010.
She also became the national green ambassador to initiate eco-friendly campaigns in India then. As one of the earliest Indian environmentalists, she had said, "I would never want for my children or grandchildren to not see forests or go for picnics in gardens. People should not throw tissues and garbage on the streets. Small things do make a difference."
Thank you @gretathunberg for giving us the much needed punch in the face, for bringing your generation together and showing us that we need to know better, do more to save what is most critical. At the end of the day, we only have this one planet. #HowDareYou https://t.co/IiQ5NUavpD— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) September 24, 2019
Priyanka's Marathi production Paani was awarded the National Award for Best Feature Film on Environment Conservation. Earlier this year, she took to social media to acknowledge the speech of 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Summit 2019.
An animal lover and an environmentalist, actor Raveena Tandon has been vocal about her concerns for the environment on Twitter and has pointed out how every individual, from government officials to citizens, is responsible for the decline of the planet. In a tweet, she urged everyone to practice recycling and preserving to help save the planet.
While speaking at the #SwachhIndia Cleanathon 2017, Raveena advocated figuring out alternatives to manage the waste in a more eco-friendly manner as well as opt for safe sanitation practices. On festivals being the cause of pollution, she said, “Even our gods would not want us to pollute this planet Earth the way we are doing so.”
A sad day indeed. Wildlife , environment,citizens and mumbai city loses again against political stupidity and environmental hara kiri. #aareylost #habitatloss #leopardhabitat On its way to become a gas chamber . #mumbaisgreenlungs— Raveena Tandon (@TandonRaveena) August 30, 2019
In 2018, Raveena became the new brand ambassador for the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. To further her efforts towards the environment, she even wrote to the Minister of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change to impose a ‘complete and immediate end’ to the use of all animals in circuses in her support for the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), an organisation that has been campaigning for the freedom of abused animals.
Alia Bhat is one of India’s most celebrated stars and youth icon with a great fan following. She also uses her platform to influence her followers to develop an eco-friendly lifestyle. In 2018, she took the pledge to ban plastic entirely from her life and passed on this message to all her fans following by urging them to make the switch as well.
She used her social media accounts to spread an important message on World Environment Day 2018 - “#BeatPlasticPollution by switching to steel or glass bottles today! Plastic bottles take 450 years or more to decompose, harming us and our environment. I’m now one step closer towards purging plastic from my life. Hope you guys will make the switch too!”
This movement took social media by storm with many personalities such as Saina Nehwal, Arjun Kapoor, and Ranbir Kapoor joining this campaign.