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Association Marks 20 Years of Greening Hollywood

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Association Marks 20 Years of Greening Hollywood
LOS ANGELES – With local, organic food, minimal electricity use and on-site composting, the Environmental Media Association's 20th anniversary party might be the green standard for future Hollywood awards shows.

The awards-show dinner, held Sunday on the Paramount lot, modeled its message — recognizing the industry's efforts to go green with an organic, low-waste, environmentally friendly event.

"It's such a great example to have an elegant Hollywood party that's sustainable," said EMA president Debbie Levin. "It's extremely easy if you just think about what you're doing."

Founded by Norman and Lyn Lear and Alan and Cindy Horn, the Environmental Media Association encourages Hollywood to spread the word about going green.

Twenty years later, the group counts the Endangered Species Coalition, the Alaska Rainforest Campaign, the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund among its partners. It has been honored by the White House and praised by Al Gore — years before "An Inconvenient Truth."

The group has met with hundreds of Hollywood writers, directors and producers, helping them incorporate green themes into their films and TV shows and encouraging them to make those productions more environmentally friendly.

"If we can help the populace know as much about climate problems as they know today about Balloon Boy, we will have succeeded," the 87-year-old writer-producer said.

EMA's latest efforts include assembling a group of young celebrity ambassadors to encourage green behavior among their fans and launching an organic garden program in public schools.

One of those ambassadors, actress Amy Smart, said she drives a hybrid car, recycles and eats organic.

Actress Olivia Wilde, who also drives a hybrid, said Hollywood sets tend to be "very wasteful places," but things are changing.

"We can try to waste less paper and have scripts distributed more responsibly. We can use corn-based products for craft services and we can go as far as solar-powered trailers," she said. "It's not overwhelming if you take it step by step."

EMA has worked with the Screen Actors Guild to make its annual awards gala more green and consults with writers, producers and directors on making Hollywood sets and story lines more environmentally conscious.

The group celebrated its 20th anniversary with an awards ceremony honoring individuals and organizations that help increase public awareness of environmental issues.

Honorees included entrepreneur Richard Branson, who pledged to invest all proceeds from his Virgin Airlines toward developing clean fuels and renewable energy; the National Geographic Society, which supports environmental education through various programs and grants; Centropolis Entertainment, the production company led by director Roland Emmerich and producer Michael Wimer that released the first carbon-neutral film in Hollywood history, "The Day After Tomorrow"; and singer Jason Mraz, who has committed to green touring and using sustainable textiles.

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