Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored for Environmental Activism During Oscar Week
After years of using their platforms to protect the environment, Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen will both be honored next month at the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability‘s annual Hollywood for Science Gala.
Bündchen, who was designated a Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations Environment Program in 2009, became a strong advocate in raising funds and awareness for environmental causes after visiting an Indian tribe on the Xingu River in the Amazon Rainforest.
“I started paying attention to what was happening with the environment when I had a visit to the Xingu area of the Amazon in 2003. I spent a week with an Indian tribe and everyone was complaining they were getting sick because the waters were polluted,” she previously revealed.
“All these pesticides were going into the rivers because there were no trees to protect the rivers. The fish were sick. The water was polluted. I was like, ‘Who is doing something about this?’“
She decided to take action, blogging her green tips on her website and creating a charity, Agua Limpa, which aims to plant trees along the Amazon to help purify the water.
“We are all connected and without nature we would cease to exist. Our planet needs our care now more than ever,” Bündchen tells PEOPLE in a statement. “We need to listen to the signs she has been giving us and work together to protect her; our actions will prevent us from harming ourselves and future generations.”
Streisand, who has helped raise awareness for global warming, is also a noted environmental activist and started the Streisand Foundation to advocate for the environment, women’s rights and other issues.
Among the organizations she supports, the Union of Concerned Scientists is one that is aiming to pass landmark emissions and fuel efficiency standards that will cut in half the global warming emissions of new cars and light trucks by 2025.
“When I moved to L.A., the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in Ohio,” says Streisand. “Then public support and a number of farsighted politicians passed legislation to clean up our air and water. Now we face a planetary crisis of climate change. It is imperative for all humanity that we act now.”
She urged those in attendance at UCLA’s award ceremony that it was a “moral and ethical imperative for all who share the Earth to think of the future of humanity and the planet.”
“I recently became a grandma,” she said to applause. “I can’t help but wonder what kind of planet will be left for my granddaughter, and yours, after unrestrained climate change.”
She added, “I believe in the power of one voice. And if we speak out, especially about climate change, we can make a difference. I think we all need to make our voices heard, shout it, sing it, write it, whatever you have to do to stop it. Stop this insanity of denying proven science.”
Hosted by IoES Global Fundraising Chairman Milutin Gatsby, with event co-hosts Lawrence Bender and Alexandria Jackson, this year’s event will take place on Feb. 21 at the private Bel Air estate of Jeanne and Tony Pritzker and will feature a curated auction. Proceeds from the gala will support IoES and all of their initiatives.
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“Each year, Hollywood for Science honors environmental game changers whose bold voices act as a catalyst to move science to action,” says Gatsby. “This year we are thrilled to present that honor to Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for the incredible work they have done to raise awareness on the necessity to take action in order to keep our planet healthy.”
Adds Bender: “We need to stop living in this inconvenient truth. Future generations may well have the occasion to ask themselves: why did our parents not wake up when they had a chance? We have to hear that question from them now.”