Eco-Activist Actress Takes Steps that Make a Difference
From Veronica Mars to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, her face is unmistakable. Thanks to the worldwide popularity of Frozen, her voice is now unforgettable, as well. Kristen Bell, though, believes the greatest contribution she can make is embodying an eco-friendly lifestyle together with her husband, actor Dax Shepard, and their two daughters, finding ways to help the planet survive and thrive for generations to come.
Which core beliefs catalyze your passion for consciously stewarding the environment?
I wholeheartedly believe: Every problem has a solution. We are all global citizens. Kindness is always in fashion. We have to laugh at ourselves. There is strength in forgiveness. Honesty without tact is cruelty. No one can make me feel inferior without my consent. Ultimately, we are responsible for one another and for the creatures and places around us.
I felt good about caring for the world around me before I had kids, but now I also derive a ton of self-esteem from being a good example for them.
How has celebrity supported your role in speaking out on behalf of your favorite causes?
I have the rare gift of a public platform, which is amazing to me, since I felt so small and unheard as a child. Social media can be a megaphone, so I use it to be a conduit to support causes I believe in. People don’t have to listen… but when they do, helpful things happen.
My approach is to spotlight an issue while also shedding light on a solution. I particularly like talking about childhood malnutrition and telling people about ThisBarSavesLives (ThisBarSavesLives.com), which donates a life-saving nutritional packet to a child in need every time we buy this organic, gluten-free snack bar. I love their motto, “We eat together.”
What Earth-friendly actions do you and your family embrace in day-to-day living?
Our fun time revolves around being active outdoors. We love hiking as a family, walking a mile to dinner or biking along the river. We often go exploring and make up outdoor games such as: How far can you jump? How far can I throw this? and Let’s race! The kids like to get dirty and my husband and I like to breathe fresh air at the end of a workday. We have a garden where the girls and I are learning about growing and caring for edible plants and how to cook what we grow. Our thumbs aren’t very green just yet but we are trying.
As PETA’s “Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities” of 2013, why are you and Dax convinced that healthy vibrancy doesn’t rely on eating meat?
I have been a vegetarian since I was 11. I have never wanted to eat meat, even before I knew the positive environmental effects of a vegetarian diet. People need to be conscious of what they are eating. Most edible supermarket items aren’t real food. I like knowing where my meal comes from and who handles it. It makes both my mind and body feel better.
How did the animated film Frozen enable you to reach a larger young audience than ever before?
My goal with the character Anna was to play an imperfect princess, giving voice to the heroine I had been searching for when I was young: Someone who was awkward, clumsy, optimistic, too talkative, caring and didn’t have perfect posture. I wanted girls that feel like they don’t always fit in to have a fearless heroine to identify with. I want to be a real-life Anna, someone who doesn’t apologize for her flaws and stands up for herself and others because she’s strong.
Thanks to Frozen, I have been invited to do more projects that reach young people. I hope to extend my voice as a trustworthy source supporting projects that can benefit them.
You are passionate about the universal need for water conservation. What steps has your own family taken to be water-conscious?
Living in California and dealing with drought firsthand teaches about water conservation by necessity. We carefully consider how the food we eat directly impacts water use; we all understand that producing meat and dairy is water intensive. Replacing our lawn with AstroTurf cut our household water bill dramatically. We never run water from the tap when we are brushing our teeth, and always ‘let it mellow if it’s yellow’, that is, flush selectively. We even reuse the water used to sterilize baby bottles to water houseplants.
Gerry Strauss is a freelance writer in Hamilton, NJ. Connect at GerryStrauss@aol.com.