JUST so you know, Leonardo DiCaprio is not the only celebrity environmentalist in the world.
Yes, we often hear about how he’s working on getting water supply in rural African villages, or working on a new documentary on the environment, or re-using old girlfriends. Er… scratch that last one.
However, that doesn’t mean he’s the only one around who cares about the environment now.
If fact, Asia has its own group of celebrity environmentalists, and in conjuction with last week’s World Environment Day, it’s only right that we celebrate these activists as well. They may be a little low profile compared to Leonardo, Al Gore and the guys of U2, but trust me, they do exist.
Fast-talking and self-professed ”loud mouth” Asha Gill, whom many of us would still remember from her Channel [V] days, is one of these activists.
The former television host, model, deejay and producer has added another feather to her already illustrious cap — she is now an author, too.
The EcoKids books follow young environmental warriors Eco Girl and Eco Boy on their fun and magical adventures as they learn how small actions can help save the planet.
”We wrote the book because it is the best way to teach children the importance of conserving Earth. When they learn the lessons at a young age, they can help spread the word to their parents, family and friends,” said Asha.
Each EcoKids books — Wasteful Water Worry, Gas Guzzler Gaffe and Plastic Bag Pickle — highlight some of the world’s major environmental problems, and in each book there is a vital lesson to be learnt.
”I think that our education system is not a holistic one, and that our skill sets have changed from years ago. We should teach the kids to look at the environment on a bigger scale and tell them what they really ought to know,” said Asha.
Another celebrity who has been lending her support in educating children regarding the importance of conserving the enviroment is Maya Karin. In 2009, Maya conducted an environmental campaign with 4,000 children in schools around the nation, educating them about plastic bags and the advantages of using re-usable bags. She plans to continue the campaign in eight schools this year.
Maya also attended Al Gore’s The Climate Project training in Melbourne, Australia, last year, where she learned how to educate the public and to raise awareness about climate change.
”On a personal level, I’ve upgraded my home to be more eco-friendly. We’ve installed a rainwater catchment system, switched to energy-saving light bulbs and have improved the ventilation around the house so we don’t have to use air-conditioners,” said Maya in an interview with The Star.
Other local celebrities like Jaclyn Victor, Yasmin Hani, Aishah Sinclair as well as beauty queens such as Soo Wincci and Deborah Henry have also lent their name, time and energy to support various environmental causes across the country.
They promote Earth Hour, support no-plastic bag shopping days and even get together to clean rivers and forests, and plant trees. These celebrities use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to spread knowledge and create awareness when it comes to environmental issues, too.
Jaclyn once said that it is crucial for Malaysians to learn about ways to protect the environment, and start practising it at a young age.
Asha couldn’t agree more: ”We shouldn’t just teach the children how to protect the environment. We should show them that we too are doing it, so that there’s a continuity in this process.”