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Hayden Panettiere, Mischa Barton, Ellen Page— everyone’s going green these days, but saving the environment is a large task for anyone to take on, especially a teenager. Yet the everyday green girls profiled here have a passion—to do just that. They’ve stepped up, taken the initiative, and made their voices heard, and in doing so, they have helped to effect change—from creating a cosmetics line free of toxic chemicals to trying to conquer global warming to encouraging the use of wind power. Filled with stories from real girls who made a difference, plus lots of celebrity green girls who are doing their part to help out, Girls Gone Green gives girls everywhere the inspiration to do something to help their world. It doesn’t matter how small the change is—it only matters that you make the effort to bring about that change.
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Lynn Hirshfield is the author of Sassafras: True Confessions of a Poodle Princess and Sassafras Goes to Hollywood and was inspired to write this book as a result of her work on the award-winning film An Inconvenient Truth. Lynn currently runs publishing for Participant Media, the producers of such socially relevant films as The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, The Soloist, Good Night, and Good Luck, and Syriana. She lives in Venice Beach, California. To learn more about Girls Gone Green, please visit pyv.org.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Excerpts from Girls Gone Green, by Lynn Hirshfield
Foreword by Hayden Panettiere
For actress and activist Hayden Panettiere, being green means looking below the surface.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love animals and how passionate I am about protecting them. So when Jeff Pantukhoff, president and founder of the Whaleman Foundation, approached me about being their spokesperson five years ago, I jumped at the opportunity!
The Whaleman Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to raise public awareness of the issues that affect cetaceans (dolphins, whales, and porpoises) and their ocean habitats through their research, films, and public outreach campaigns. When I heard about the plight of the whales and the work the Whaleman Foundation was doing, getting involved was a no-brainer for me.
I’ve learned so much since becoming a part of the foundation’s efforts. Soon after I agreed to help, Jeff took my mother, Lesley, and me on our very first trip to San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja Mexico, the only undeveloped mating and birthing ground for the California gray whale. It was a truly amazing experience. Along with seeing all of the beautiful gray whales and their newborns firsthand, I also learned about the threats that they face along with other whales and dolphins, such as loss of habitat, entanglement in fishing nets, toxic and noise pollution, global warming, increasing and expanding whaling—the list goes on and on. It was on this trip that Jeff showed me a short film and explained to me his vision and goals for the Save the Whales Again! campaign.
The goals of our campaign are to end whaling worldwide while raising awareness to the other threats whales and dolphins face. There is a brutal practice in Japan that has unnecessarily and painfully taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of dolphins and other small whales. They blind and frighten these helpless animals by hammering on metal poles in the water, driving them into small coves where they are trapped in nets and then killed. I experienced this firsthand on a trip with our team to Taiji, Japan, in 2007. There we paddled out into the bloodred waters of the killing cove, where over thirty pilot whales had already been slaughtered. With fellow activists, I honored the beautiful animals that had lost their lives there while unveiling the truth to the world. During our peaceful ceremony, the Japanese fisherman, unprovoked, became violent and physically aggressive toward us. After being hit with large poles and threatened with spinning boat propellers, which came inches from us, we held our ground. The media attention generated by the incident was massive, and it became one of the largest steps toward victory since the whaling moratorium was put in place in 1986. I am aware this fight will not end overnight, but I am committed to seeing this battle through until the very end.
My tip to you is to take action on a cause that is important to you. Use the stories of the green girls in this book as your inspiration. They are taking action on so many different causes and making amazing progress on behalf of our planet. And so can you! You can help me protect the whales and dolphins that call our oceans their home. With your help, these beautiful and intelligent creatures will be saved.
For more information, please visit www.savethewhalesagain.org and learn how you can get involved.
Note from the Author
I used to think I was a pretty green person—I recycled, supported green groups, bought organic, checked for fair-trade certification, didn’t let the water run when I brushed my teeth, and always, always, always turned out lights. . . but I had never come across any carbon footprints, a term that kept coming up during meetings at my new job at Participant Media. In late 2005, I was hired to work on the early pre-theatrical release campaign for the film An Inconvenient Truth. Mystified, I went to the resident green expert on the team, Lisa Day (who is so green that even her shoes are made out of hemp!), and asked her where I could pick up a pair of these carbon footprints, which, in my mind, were some kind of super-eco odor-eating shoe insoles that absorbed heat and pollution. Thank God they didn’t throw me out to the curb right then and there.
With great patience, Lisa explained to me the green basics and helped me calculate my carbon footprint. In doing so, I had a good overview of the impact (numerically) I was personally making on the planet. I changed some of my habits, got a hybrid car, adjusted the thermostat, took canvas bags to the market, and cut out plastic bottles, but being green was still a daunting jumble of facts and figures, and the idea of ME having the ability to curb global warming by my little behavioral changes was also still too abstract. It was too scary to think about the responsibility of saving the whole planet and much easier to feel all gloom and doom about the situation. I didn’t feel confident that my individual actions really made any difference at all.
Ironically, one of my duties was to manage outreach to teachers and students to see the film and get them involved in our social action programs. It was at the first of these high school field trips to a special screening of the film that the calculations translated into real actions. Hundreds of students streamed out of the theater, totally psyched to take action. They bombarded me with questions and asked for resources and had so many great ideas and such enthusiasm. They wanted to DO SOMETHING, and, for the most part, do something is exactly what they did. These passionate young environmentalists became my teachers. And they didn’t wait for adults to tell them what to do or how to do it. They were not scared or intimidated by the task of saving the planet. There was work to do, all kinds of ways to help, and every little bit of effort was needed and appreciated.
Over the last four years, I have had the honor and pleasure of meeting so many young people working on a vast spectrum of environmental initiatives, and a majority of these young green activists are girls. Perhaps it is natural for girls, who may one day be mothers, as well as working professionals, to feel especially nurturing. Some of the young women profiled in this handbook have earned national recognition for their achievements, while others are making strides on more local levels. Some are packing up for college, while others are still packing their lunches for elementary school. Each and every one of the girls profiled in this book is an eco hero who offers hope and direction for her generation.
I would like to thank all the green girls and experts who shared their stories within these pages, with a special thank-you to Hayden Panettiere for her inspiring foreword, and also the following people for their contributions toward the creation of this book.
Story Editors: I am grateful to Jenny Mancino and Diana Mendez, my main green girl guides throughout this process, without whose help this book would not be possible. Thank you for your diligent research, creative support, and most of all, patience!
Editorial Assistants: Ariana Gadd, Chris Eggertsen, Sarah Newman, EK Peyton, Ashley Doyle, and Rachel Stratman for all their hard work keeping facts, details, and ME on track. You guys are amazing!
Interns: Camilla Savoia, Jake Gissy, Lindsay Weller, Paulina Bolinski, and Glenna Moran for their unbridled enthusiasm. Awesome!
Green Publishing Pros: Merrilee Heifetz of Writers House; Penguin’s Eileen Kreit, Doug Whiteman, Karen Chaplin, Kristin Gilson, and Alaina Wong; and Nancy Cushing-Jones, Barbara Weller, and Cynthia Cleveland of Broadthink. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Special thanks to my colleagues at Participant Media, with a great big green shout-out to Ricky Strauss for being the first in line to support my idea for this book years before I really knew what it was about. To my two amazing mentors, Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones, who always seem to know what’s best for me and who constantly surprise me by never saying no to my harebrained schemes. Thank you to Jeff Skoll for now having inspired me to write THREE books. His mission to create socially conscious media that inspires and compels social change is something I try to emulate. I’m grateful to Jim Berk, our head honcho, for his leadership and his vision. Thanks also to Jeff Ivers, Bob Murphy, and Gabriel Brakin for their investment in and continued support for my adventures in publishing. A great big hug to my dear marketing partners-in-crime Karen “Ariel The Mermaid” Frankel, Amanda “Gossip Girl” Garrison, Jeff “Brussels Griffon 3X” Sakson, and Youtchi “Dior” von Lintel. A tip of the hat to our social action team for the good work they do every day: Bonnie Abaunza, Christina Lindstrom, John Schreiber, Liana Schwarz, and Daniel Maree. A salute to our “AIT” mavens: Diane Weyerman, Courtney Sexton, Bryan Stamp, and Yelena Rachitsky. A nod to our digital wizards: Fonda Berosini, Wendy Cohen, Joshua Tremblay, and Chris Gebhardt. A green wave to Analiza Gonzales, Laurie Luh, and Mai Imai for always keeping an eye out for me.
Connectors: Jeff Pantukhoff, Claire Jones, Kelly Bush, Tara Walls, Danica Krislovich, Susan Paley, Alice Markowitz, Carmelle Druchniak, Aileen Zerrudo, Iris Yen, Delphia Duckens, Thameenah Muhammad, Michelle Tompkins, Sandey Kang, Michelle Kydd Lee, Maureen Harrington, Jane Berk, Amy Chendar, Brian Gerber, Michelle Kleinert Bader, Michael Donkis, Sue Patricola, Randy Smith, Michelle Ferguson, Jennifer DeVito, Andrew Barker, Lori Tabb, Jill Calcaterra, Robert Jigarjian, Jennifer Bubalo Sloan, Archie Drury, Tom Rielly, Gary Hirshberg, Jack Merrill, Nathalie Harewood, Livia Firth, Pat and Nigel Sinclair, Sharon Lawrence, and my fellow WIFF Trustees.
Family and Friends: Pola Hirshfield, Burton Hirshfield, Suzanne Hirshfield, and Eli Pearl; Susan Cartsonis, Andy Cohen, Ian Corson, Jay Corson, Laura Edwards, Margi English, Nana Greenwald, Aline Grunwald, Jesse and Stephen Nathan, Jackie Papier, Barbara Perlin, and Gina and Chris Shelton.
My green tip to readers: Please consider spaying or neutering your pets! Help control pet overpopulation and please consider adopting your next dog from a shelter. I support K-9 Connection, an organization that brings the magic of dogs and kids together. At-risk teens ages fourteen to eighteen train homeless shelter dogs in basic obedience, assisting the dogs to develop the skills to become adoptable. For more information, please visit www.k9connection.org.
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