Monday, November 27, 2006


In the state of Russia. How does a radioactive isotope that is produced in quantities of less than 100 grams a year wind up in an anti-Putin activist’s sushi? (Or rice wine vinegar more likely, since the isotope Polonium likes dilute acids) Named by Ms. Curie for her native Poland, not Polonius – though Hamlet’s over-verbose courtier might as well have been its namesake. And it was a hidden draught of poison poured in his ear that killed the elder Ham, and wasn’t Fortinbras on his way to Poland?

In any case, what kind of control of radioactive by-products, let alone government apparatchiks, is exercised in the former Soviet states these days?


More less than savory eco-news in this next item… Garbage in, diesel out, was the idea… Green Power, a company funded by private investors, was set to build an $82 million plant in Fife, Washington to convert hundreds of tons of garbage each day into high-grade diesel fuel. But now the Securities Division of that state’s Department of Financial Institutions is investigating the company after an investor complaint, former employees say paychecks have bounced and the company is in a dispute with the garbage-to-diesel plant’s inventor over Green Power’s rights to the technology… Green Power CEO Michael Spitzauer is listed as a defendant in more than a dozen lawsuits in this country. Spitzauer and Christian Koch, the German inventor behind the technology, rolled into Fife last July with a small-scale, mobile garbage-to-diesel plant they used for a public demonstration. Workers fed shredded garbage mixed with motor oil into a shiny, silver machine. Minutes later golden diesel poured from a spigot. Spitzauer then took the bucket and poured the fuel into the tank of a black SUV… Spitzauer, however, it turns out was convicted of fraud in Austria in 1992 and served three years of a six-year sentence. The Austrian government later tried to extradite him from the United States on additional fraud charges.

Details can be found at

If this all sounds like an updated version of Music Man meets The Rainmaker the saddest part of this con is the likelihood the technology is bogus. Check Alphakat Gmbh’s website, the German company that claims ownership of the process and if you’re an engineer tell us what you think…

Meanwhile, the reactionary right, presumably afraid the spreading awareness of the overheating biosphere might hurt the bottom line of their corporate leash-holders, is attacking what?… Penguins?.. Disney’s animated feature Happy Feet, this Turkey Day weekend’s biggest box office hit, has gotten bitch-slapped by a dubious trio of "journalists" in the run up to its opening weekend.

Neal Cavuto: "My biggest thing was, you can make a political statement all you want in an adult movie and all. I just think it's a little tacky and big-time objectionable when you start foisting it on kids..."

Really, Neal? And who but the kids will inherit this global mess?

Glenn Beck: "If you're going to include those (environmental) themes, the least you could do is tell me, a parent. Tell me about it first, OK, so I know I'm walking into propaganda."

’Propaganda?’.. Okay, admittedly Glenn Beck is not only not a journalist, CNN is likely daily weighing what costs less, buying him out or letting his contract run out while audience share spirals hellward. He’d set fire to his hair if it would get him a tenth of a ratings point… Then there’s the always reliably loathsome...

Michael Medved: "I'm particularly annoyed at the big new animated film about tap-dancing penguins…The marketing suggests a feel-good frolic for kids… but the reality is dark, disturbing and deeply political… The penguins -with voices from Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman and others - face a menace from evil "aliens": human beings."
BLow Job
"Particularly annoyed"? How do you feel about Global Warming, Michael? Yeah, I thought so.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS, BUT JUST BARELY (given this darn new beta program for posting)

Comic Relief celebrated its 20th Anniversary by Raising Funds to Assist Families in the Rebirth of New Orleans on Saturday night, November 18th... The three hour show aired on HBO and its sister station, TBS... Hosted by its original trio of Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams,. it was filled with hot, rising comedy talent and live segments from New Orleans. If you missed it it’s available On Demand…

Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan
, pictured here hurriedly changing out of leather pants and a leopard-skin pillbox hat... Has reportedly just given up fur after learning that she was just days away from being named by PETA as this year's Worst Dressed Celebrity…
OJ Britney
But no laughing matter is this news item: the Washington State Department of Ecology has fined Celebrity Cruises $100,000 for dumping untreated wastewater into state waters in the fall of 2005 from its ship, the (aptly or unfortunately named) Mercury. The company blamed the spill on confusion about whether the ship was in state-governed waters...
Kobe Bryant Lebron
...Wait, does that mean outside of state waters it’s assumed it's okay to dump?! Oh, my…

Friday night at the United Nations, American rap star Jay-Z premiered his new video diary, ‘Water For Life’, which captures his journey into areas affected by the ongoing global water crisis... Touring several developing countries, Jay-Z is shone travelling children along the roads they take every day to fetch water for their families and schools, water that is often unsafe and inadequate to local needs... UNICEF is working to improve water and sanitation conditions – with an eye toward the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without access to safe water or basic sanitation by 2015…

… More sweet music to globally over-heated ears, rock luminaries Green Day and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced a major new campaign Friday. Move America Beyond Oil will mobilize and empower music fans to demand clean, renewable energy solutions that break our dangerous dependence on oil -- a fuel that threatens both our security and our environment…

The pairing unites one of the world's most popular and socially conscious rock groups with one of the nation's most effective environmental action groups… The online hub for the Move America Beyond Oil campaign is where visitors can see exclusive video messages from the band and send personal messages directly to political leaders straight from the site. Visitors will also be able to send text messages directly from their cell phones to lawmakers and corporate leaders, a development the NRDC sees as ushering in a new age of ‘Cell Phone Activism’… Fine with me, as long as you’re not driving… The NRDC, long known for the work of its lawyers and scientists, has gained prominence by virtue of it collaborations with well known conservationists such as Robert Redford, James Taylor, Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurie David, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz and Ben Harper...

Readers will want to take a look at Elizabeth Kolbert’s most recent article, "The Darkening Ocean," in this week’s New Yorker. Following on her fabulous, three-parter last year on global climate change -- far more detailed and frightening than even the admirable An Inconvenient Truth -- this piece gives the particulars of a newly identified phenomenon known as "ocean acidification" which is nearly irreversible and the result of carbon emissions.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Me, "Bobby" & Ira G.

Yesterday's article in the LA Times Calendar Section by Sandy Banks, They Never Needed to Reimagine 'Bobby', brought that era, the era of the assassinations, back. In it, Ms. Banks catches up with the other victims of the shooting the night Robert F. Kennedy was killed, those who were collateral damage in Sirhan Sirhan's shooting spree. That their recollections in some cases differ greatly from the depiction in Emilio Estevez's new movie is the gist of Ms. Banks' article:,0,4263649.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Among those mentioned as having been shot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel that night, however, was one Ira Goldstein, then 19, or so it says, who caught a bullet in his left buttocks.
No one who lived those days of assassination from '63 to '68 ever quite puts it completely behind them. (Except perhaps maybe Ira.) But as one of those people, the reason I'm not a conspiracy buff, for all my 'paranoid' predispositions, I believe has to do with the real 'untold' story behind Ira, or of Ira's behind.

The Ira Goldstein story is elided in Ms. Banks retelling of events that night. It always has been in every L.A. Times version. (See? Catch a hint of my naturally conspiratorial bent?) In fact, Mr. Goldstein is characterized in Ms. Banks article today as living in welcome obscurity with no wish to relive those memories. But, given the age we live in, where security issues are all the rage, the 'real' story is something of a cautionary tale. A comic note in a tragic text. And may go some ways toward explaining why Ira isn't keen on dredging up the details.

That's because Ira Goldstein got shot in the ass in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, June 5th, 1968, playing sidekick to a valley high school kid playing boy reporter. A 17 year-old classmate of mine named Jeff... what was Jeff's name again, Kent, Kemp… Brent! (Speak, Memory!)

As I remember him, Jeff was a 'character', one of those socially-awkward late adolescents (no 'hippy', Jeff was more a London Fog raincoated Sinatra-manque) whose rebellion took the shape of a passion for premature acceptance as an 'adult'. He was hellbent to be taken seriously.

In love with ham radio, in 11th Grade he printed up business cards and, wielding them, a flashy tape recorder and a big professional-looking padded mike, he and Ira chased around town crashing their way into events. (In fact, Jeff might have even gone so far as to put a panel on his car's door identifying it, too, as part of his "news" operation. To not denigrate it, they did manage to feed some stories to the wire services and local radio.)

I'd love to learn what ever became of him. What I do know, however, is in the myriad official reports, the hundreds of deadly earnest articles on RFK's murder, amid speculations of additional gunmen, impossible bullet angles, police conspiracies, links to JFK's assassination, Ira is always identified, when they bother to do so, portentously, as "19, an employee of the Continental News Service." (See, e.g.,"DAY OF MOURNING" American Experience, PBS, primary sources:

Never, ever have I seen it mentioned that Ira and Jeff were two underage valley kids who'd managed to weasel their way into the kitchen of the Ambassador with homemade credentials.

Sirhan Sirhan was not the only guy that night who had no business being there. But Jeff's bonafides were never susbsequently looked into and Ira, having been shot in the ass, has always, far as I am aware, been allowed to glide over the matter. But a paid employee of a legitimate news service? Give my jealous, 17 year-old ego a break.

So one should hardly carp over poetic license being taken with events in Mr. Estevez's 'Bobby'. Here's wishing him well with his new film. Among their many acts of good will toward the planet, he and his father, Martin Sheen, endorsed the Heritage Tree Preservation Act in 2002 which banned the cutting of Heritage trees, trees alive in the year California became a state (1850), on non-federally owned forestlands. Heritage trees can be over 16 feet in diameter, are resistant to forest fires because of their size, and provide crucial habitat for numerous endangered and threatened species. Unfortunately the act did NOT pass.

For the absolutely most inspiring read about California's ancient Sequoias, I recommend Richard Preston's "Climbing Redwoods" articles in the New Yorker which are to be found collected in The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring due out in April, 2007.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What You Get Is No Tomorrow

"Fame… What you want is in the limo..."

Hello, Sports Fans! Which, in fact, was the column I set out to write today when, lo and behold, I discovered to my dismay that there simply aren’t a whole helluvalot of athletes, high profile American professionals, on the frontlines of environmental work.
Hot Pussy
I’m not saying there isn’t a single tree hugger in Major League Baseball -- tho, please, tell me his name -- or a Prius-owner in the NFL (a place-kick holder, most likely), but when it comes to sports this fan fears Shaq’s carbon footprint completely dwarfs his legendary feets.
OJ Simpson Nancy Pelosi Richard Powers Trent Lott
"Fame… What is it good for?… Absolutely nothing!" --David Bowie, FAME

Wait, not so fast, David. And the NFL does have it’s NFL Environmental program which has been on-going since 1992. It works with host communities of the Superbowl and Probowl to mitigate their impact, attempting comprehensive solid waste management, recycling, collection and donation of extra ‘prepared food,’ and it has a "Carbon Neutral" initiative that "seeks to plant hundreds of seedling trees to offset the greenhouse gas emissions." It'll be there once again in South Florida on February 4th when Superbowl XLI is held.
Michigan vs. Ohio State
Sure, it’s mostly public relations, but it is laudable.

So, is working to limit the adverse effects of humongous sporting events, but having few star athletes involved in green causes better than the reverse?
Girls Zune Youtube
For example, yesterday a UCLA Institute of the Environment report claimed Hollywood production is responsible for 140,000 tons of particulate pollution a year in Los Angeles. Despite individual producers and studios attempts at minimizing that raging waste, the variety of sub-contractors, of tradespeople, gaffers, teamsters, caterers, all of whom are employed job to job make it next to impossible to impose uniform standards and therefore to control it.

But it’s Hollywood celebrities first and foremost who are out front, putting their names and faces, their time and their voices, to making the public aware of the precarious state of the planet’s health and of an increasing number of green alternatives.

Frankly, in the short and even medium run, I’d prefer that situation – that ‘double-standard’ if you will -- of burning a little extra gas getting people aware of our choice to what’s going on in the sports world. True, Athletes in this media-conscious age are giving of their time to their communities, to campaigns to help eradicate disease, to reach inner city kids, to a wide range of charitable endeavors. To suggest anything less would be churlish. And, after all, all these things are interconnected.

But there’s something troubling, and misplaced, maybe even a bit of deep denial at work when the heroes who earn their fame racing over broad swatches of mown grass, breathing deep lungfuls of fresh air, swatting little balls into stands of tall trees or over far distant fences, or arching larger balls up for the shell of a peach basket, have so little care, so little time for the causes that would preserve the sunlight and open spaces that gave birth to these games.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"I trust a good deal to common fame... If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards… If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap… you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1855

Sunday, November 12, 2006

So Much Good To Do, So Little Time

As I write three marathoners are attempting to cross the Sahara, 4000 miles in 80 days, by running roughly 2 marathons a day. LivePlanet, Matt Damon’s production company, is filming the race as a documentary. But a major aim of RUNNING THE SAHARA, which Damon will narrate, is to raise awareness for H2O Africa, the project’s Clean Water initiative. H2O Africa hopes to raise awareness of the water crisis in Africa and gather support for clean water programs in critical areas since clean water, or the lack thereof, is one of the core challenges facing Africa– from health, to education, to human rights...
Meanwhile, on Sunday, November 26th The Miss Earth 2006: Beauties for a Cause pageant will take place in Manila. The pageant focuses on this year’s hot topic: Global warming. Like traditional beauty pageants, contestants will compete in swimwear, talent, and long gown competitions. But the new Miss Earth will participate in various environmental campaigns and the runners up will be crowned Miss Earth Fire, Miss Earth Water, and Miss Earth Air respectively. How primitively elemental… Leonardo DiCaprio, widely regarded as the most active and effective eco celebrity activist, is rumored to be pitching "E-topia", a reality-based project that would chronicle a down-and-out town being rebuilt into an eco-friendly community…
Sacha Baron Cohen britney spears Sex tape Jude Law Sienna Gils
At the Environmental Media Awards -
Actresses Marla Sokoloff, left, and Wendie Malick and actor Chris Kattan, at right, present an award during the 16th annual Environmental Media Awards at Ebell Club of Los Angeles on Nov. 8. Oops, they forgot to invite T. Lief!... Which is too bad since this writer knows the value of award shows in incentivizing writers. But the EMA does a nice job calling attention to film and television work that raises environmental awareness. Winners this year included AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, Boston Legal for "Finding Nimmo" and the Simpson’s episode: "Bonfire Of The Manatees"…
Bush Rumsfeld Pelosi Borat
Angelina Jolie promised as much as $1.3 million over five years to Cambodian Vision in Development. According to an AP report, the Academy Award-winning actress voided her contract to fund the forest conservation program when hundreds of thousands of dollars went missing, allegedly stolen by the organization’s director. Now she’s started her own Cambodian conservation project, the Maddox Jolie Project, named for her 5-year-old son…
Tom Cruise private jet
Paris Hilton is supposedly close to signing a deal with an eco-friendly accessories company, but the amount of private air travel she indulges in makes her an 'amber' rather than a 'deep green' celeb. She, however, is merely one of numerous celebs, some bona fide Eco Warriors among them, who’ve been taken to task worldwide...
Yahoo James Baker Iraq Study Group
It’s a growing concern, first raised in the British press,,1939492,00.html that many of our favorites, while busy working green causes, blithely board private jets and wing across the world burning and spewing ungodly amounts of fossil fuel. Among those chided for their careless globetrotting is green campaigner George Clooney who recently flew privately from LA to Tokyo and Julia Roberts for taking a private jet from LA to Chicago… A double standard? Perhaps we’ll take it up in the next installment.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Hello, Children Of The Ocean!

Last night, on a hilltop near Mulholland, the Oceana Awards produced some inspiringly memorable moments. On hand to accept his Ocean Hero Award, recipient JAMES CAMERON gave the glamorous gathered Oceana fundraisers a glimpse into his aqueous soul. And, perhaps, the best explanation to date for all his rapturously liquid movies. He’s been a scuba diver from the age of sixteen. Introduced by the ever-effervescent JAMIE LEE CURTIS, who lovingly described her TRUE LIES director as 'a geek', Cameron ("Hey, Jamie, 'Geeks' are the guys who tear the heads off chickens?!") spoke from the heart, off-the-cuff and, not surprisingly, quite eloquently. What became as clear as the blue glass sculptures of wafting bubbles that framed the presenters and honorees was Mr. Cameron's abiding love for the sea and for Oceana’s work to restore its abundance. "The next ten years will decide the fate of the oceans," he predicted, going on to explain that at the very least we will be deciding whether it will contain anything like the rich diversity that first drew him to explore its vastness and that is, sadly, no longer there.

TED DANSON emceed with the effortless grace and charm he’s shown since his dancing Assistant D.A. debut in BODY HEAT. He deftly gave way at the podium for NICK CAGE to do the honors and, in his inimitable way, Mr. Cage, another devoted son of the sea, stirred us all with a gentle post-election call for "An Ocean Revolution". He presented an Oceana Partners Award to publicist ANNETT WOLF who’s been a tireless supporter of its work. SALMA HAYEK then stirred hearts and souls in presenting another of the three Oceana Partner Awards to ABC Prexy STEVE MCPHERSON. Holy Aqualung, the ravishing Ms. Hayek also revealed roots to the briny deep. Her love affair with the blue fathoms also began with scuba diving -- at the tender age of 12! If there were any lingering doubts about the sense and sensibility of this actress, they were scattered in the chill hilltop breezes which kept many from investigating the pool-decked plateau where Esquire House 360 is stunningly sited. And Mr. McPherson disarmed and delighted all with his remarks, claiming that the extent of his ocean activism had to date been no more than to stop eating Chilean Sea Bass!

What was great – and there was a lot of gilded glitz and gaucherie to the Esquire Housed affair: wall screens in nearly every room, Luis Vuitton straps on the bookshelves in his "signature suite" – was this frank admission. This is the purpose of celebrity. You are called upon to be honored as a means of lending your name, your notoriety, your circle of friends (and your rolodex!) to a worthy cause. And it is a far, far better thing that you do, if it is no more than having not eaten an endangered species, that you give of your public estate, your good name, to saving the planet.

Doing this, and more, were the night’s two other Partner recipients, PIERCE BROSNAN and his wife, KEELY. Afterward, both a silent and not-so-silent auction was held as guests mingled and wandered through the many-roomed mansion.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Tonight! And T. Lief Tepper and The Weekly Green can't wait to get there on the red carpet to attend the festivities and post all the hot eco-celebrity-news that's fit to print.

The event, which is also a benefit fundraiser for Oceana, an organization that campaigns to protect and restore the world's oceans, is honoring James Cameron, director/ creator of TERMINATOR, THE ABYSS and TITANIC. Mr. Cameron is set to receive the Ted Danson Ocean Hero Award; and honoring PIERCE BROSNAN and his wife KEELY BROSNAN with the Partners Award for their work on behalf of the ocean environment.

On hand as presenters, NICOLAS CAGE and FELICITY HUFFMAN

The star-studded event is hosted by Esquire at their just recently-christened bachelor palace, a 17,000 sq. foot designer pad, the Esquire 360 House. With views that span from the ocean to the mountains, it promises to generate almost as much attention to Oceana's environmental efforts as the planet-conscious celebrities lending their time and names to the cause.

Oceana is a fairly new environmental protection charity whose campaigns have brought pressure to bear on the cruise ship industry to stop them treating our seas as outhouses, and Oceana's teams of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates have won specific, concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life.

Global in scope, Oceana has campaigners based in North America (Washington, DC; Juneau, AK; Los Angeles, CA), Europe (Madrid, Spain; Brussels, Belgium) and South America (Santiago, Chile).

For more about them go to

Announcing The Weekly Green Planet

Announcing ~ THE WEEKLY GREEN PLANET ~ the first column devoted to celebrity aid to the global environment.

Modeled on Army Archerd's famous "Just For Variety," THE WEEKLY GREENPLANET will be fast-paced, three-dot journalism informing readers of therapidly expanding world of environmental news.

Fax, phone or email us your press items. We'll get your clients andtheir causes attention.
Phone or Fax: 310 828-9582


THE WEEKLY GREEN kicks off November 11th, 2006 with a new installment appearing once a week here and at

(Deadline for inclusion for the following week is noon Sunday)

Eco-Celebrity-News is a non-proprietary site promoting people and causesseeking an ecologically-sustainable future. Bringing internet eyeballsand awareness to that quest by trumpeting celebrity associations with"green" causes.

From electric cars to greenhouse gas-reducing technologies, from eco-friendly resorts to anti-climate change initiatives, don't hesitateto send us news of your clients "green" promotions: what won't work for the column we'll find a place for.

Enter this email address in your electronic rolodex. Fwd it to the proper press contact.
Let your office know of our existence.

If it promotes an environmentally friendly project, we're interested.