By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
We all know how gorgeous Olivia Wilde is. Some are also aware that she has an exceptional sense of humour. And others may also be acquainted with her wonderful eco-heart.
The 30 year old actress has never ceased to be active environmentally, and even her career choices demonstrate this: she interpreted an eco-terrorist when she was guest starring on the hit IFC comedy show ‘Portlandia,’ where her character ganged up with Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein to fight against animal testing at a make-up company.
The animal lover and activist is an avid supporter of green living, and stated she aims to leave the planet “a little better than she found it”. This explains why she launched a website, Wilde Things, that serves as a forum for her thoughts on the environment, and most importantly why she teamed up with Barbara “Babs” Burchfield for “Conscious Commerce.” The pair defines this project as “an experiment in living (and shopping) with a conscience.”
Both spent years in the non-profit world trying to scrape together funds for incredible causes, and decided to create an alternative form of fund raising they could handle firsthand. The way it works is that Olivia & Babs select the purposeful products that they consider worthwhile buying and that are obviously gentle on Mother Earth.
Babs and Olivia co-conceived Conscious Commerce three years ago after many extended aid trips to earthquake ravaged Haiti. Galvanised by the desire to make a difference and seeing the short-term affect of traditional fundraising, they resolved to create a new model. The Conscious Commerce mission is to create a guide for conscious living by promoting the causes, brands, people and lifestyles that are forging a new paragon of living.
Moreover, Wilde worked in Senegal with Jeffrey Sachs’ ‘Millennium Development Project,’ and is on the board of Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis’ organisation Artists for Peace and Justice, a locally run educational organisation serving the poorest neighbourhoods in Haiti. The eco-actress also spent time in Kenya to host a part of Nicholas Kristof’s PBS documentary, ‘Half the Sky,’ based on his Pulitzer prize winning book of the same name, and is a strong PETA supporter.
But the utmost amusing and powerful combination of her career as an actor in service of the environment is the outrageous commencement speech she delivered from the future (2089). Actress Olivia Wilde is now 104 – but her family knows her only as Gram-O Hot Pants. She dies in a tragic break-dancing accident, and her tricky youth in the year 2014 is accounted, when “it was a rough era for the planet too, when humans still used plastic materials (even to eat and drink out of!) and discarded waste into the oceans, creating giant islands of trash.”
Junk food is highly criticised in her speech as well: “Gram-O was adamant that ‘fast food’ (processed food served in bags and consumed mostly in moving vehicles) was sometimes too delicious to resist, but I cannot imagine anything more disgusting and sad. People sacrificed wellness for convenience and then spent billions of dollars on the Medical Industrial Complex, leaving preventive care solely for the wealthiest few.” Fortunately, in the course of the decades the eco-revolution takes over also thanks to Gram-O’s contribution: “Gram-O went on to invent spinning bikes that would provide power for entire cities when operated simultaneously and feverishly by sweaty SoulCyclers. This, of course, is the technology we now know as Soul Power.”
Ultimately, Olivia Wilde’s fictional amusing alter-ego may offers a hopeful message: “She knew our society would evolve, and 75 years later I am glad to say she was right.”
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