By Candice Marie Litchfield
Cate Blanchett has played many roles, from Queen Elizabeth I to the Queen of the Elves in the Lord of the Rings. But perhaps her biggest role is that of eco-friendly mom.
Pledging to transform her home into an eco-friendly haven for her family, the Oscar winner has spent a whopping $1.5 million ‘Greenovating’ the family mansion with such eco-friendly accessories as a 20,000-litre water tank, energy-saving lights, grey water recycling and solar panelling. Talking about her green transformation Cate said, “I was horrified to see how uncommon greening practices for the home are. We’ve had solar panels installed, but they’re still seen as a left-field idea. We’ve also got rainwater tanks and we’re using natural air flow to cool the house.”
As well as competing for an Oscar, Cate is constantly competing with herself to be green and says, “I actually have little races with myself, thinking, `Oh no, I’m not washing my hair, I only need to have a two-minute shower.’ The actress is a red carpet favourite, but usually chooses to wear the greenest couture options, including Valentino (who recently got the thumbs up by Greenpeace for their transparent production processes) and Chopard, who have created several lines made from Fair Trade gold.
Still, Cate has been criticised for her frequent travel from Australia to the USA, but she ensures that her family take eco taxis from the airport for the drive to the family’s home and states: “Look, I live in the modern world as much as anyone else. I use a car and, in the last two years, I’ve been flying far more than I’m comfortable with. So it’s been really important for me to offset my flights, which I do.”
Like any mother, Cate fears for her children’s future and recently said, “I’m extremely concerned about climate change as a mother, because I want to ensure for my children a very safe and sustainable future.”
To help this along, she backs the Australian Conservation Foundation‘s ‘Who On Earth Cares’ project, and she is also making her working environment a little more eco-friendly. When she and hubby Andrew Upton last year took the throne as artistic co-directors for the Sydney Theatre Company, the pair impressed all, not only with their record ticket sales, but with their whizz-bang loo system which helped STC cut its water use by 40 percent. The pair has confirmed their plans to make the company green, with new works set to reflect those at their home.
“We intend to initiate discussions with companies with the aim of making the building self-sufficient, to green the building. We are talking solar panels, rainwater, the works,” Upton told a press conference. “This would ideally generate enough power to do a whole season off the grid. This would be the first theatre company in the world to do that.” On using the arts to help the environment Cate had this to say, “One of the roles of art is to imagine the future. To do this effectively, it must be both visionary and practical.”
The Indiana Jones star seems to be on a push to eco-overhaul everything she touches; from catching eco-friendly taxis to publicly announcing her eco-political views. Ever the optimist, Cate has high hopes for the future and will continue on her green crusade. She recently said, “I firmly believe we all have the capacity to think big thoughts and are ripe to be inspired. I’m an optimist. I believe we’re ready as a generation to seize this opportunity to make profound environmental changes for the better. After all, what’s the alternative?”
All images: Wikicommons. Main image: Chopard