Five Bollywood actors who are making the Earth’s cause their own
Bollywood’s favourite stars are often in the news for their roles in films. The fame that the industry showers upon these actors for their histrionics often overshadows some of their other valuable contributions, for instance, in the area of environmental sustainability.
To celebrate these substantial efforts, let’s talk about five actors, who are putting their best foot forward to help planet Earth.
Bollywood’s National Award-winning actor Akshay Kumar has been doing his bit for the environment in various ways. Through his 2017 outing in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, he raised the issue of poor sanitation in India. With his role, he spearheaded the task of building toilets for better hygiene and health in the country. He was appointed the face of the initiative ‘Swachhata hi Seva’ by the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments.
In Mumbai, Akshay is the face of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ‘Swachh Sarvekshan’ drive through which Mumbaikars are encouraged to maintain the city’s cleanliness. Akshay is also the brand ambassador of the Government of India’s road safety campaign that hopes to bring about a behavioural change in people with regard to traffic and road safety. In 2018, he took to social media to share three videos in which he plays the role of a traffic cop urging people to follow the rules.
John Abraham has shown his support for several social causes in recent years. For instance, he has associated himself with ‘PowerLight A Village’, a 2013 initiative to provide solar electricity to remote villages across India. This social campaign launched by Garnier Men stayed true to its tagline ‘Take care’, with John encouraging his fans to join him in the cause.
The actor is also an avenger of the abuse against animals in India’s circuses. He joined the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 2005 and has since been a supporter of the foundation. In 2013, he urged the Ministry of Environment and Forests to come to the aid of animals held captive and used for human entertainment in circuses. In his appeal, he pointed out, “no animal – no matter the species – wants to be chained, caged, hit or psychologically abused.” In 2016, as the owner of the Indian Super League’s football team NorthEast United FC, John put up autographed jerseys for auction, with the entire proceeds going to the welfare group ‘Animal Rahat’, PETA India’s US affiliate.
Bollywood’s ‘Shahenshah’ Amitabh Bachchan has been an unceasing activist for climate change. In 2007, he launched the Global Cool campaign along with Sienna Miller, to raise awareness in India about global warming. In 2008, Amitabh showed his support for the United Nations’ Billion Tree Campaign by planting a tree at the UN’s Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Bangkok.
Speaking about the campaign then, he had said,
“All of us can play a role in helping our planet and doing our part for the earth, and, often, this involves simple actions that each of us can take.”
In support of Earth Hour 2016, he took to Twitter to urge his followers to participate in the global initiative and shared his views about climate change and its adverse effects on the environment. For the 45th World Environment Day celebrations in 2018, the star joined hands with the environment ministry to lend support to the #BeatPlasticPollution campaign. He also raised his voice for the Green Good Deeds Campaign, aimed at bringing about small behavioural changes in everyday life to make a larger impact on the environment’s health. As the ambassador of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ campaign, Amitabh continues to sensitise people about doing their bit for a better environment.
In support of all causes that are environment-friendly, Ajay Devgn met with Narendra Modi in 2012 and expressed his desire to set up a solar energy power project in Gujarat, post which he announced the completion of a 25MW solar plant through a joint venture in Gujarat’s solar park at Charanka. The actor has also expressed his keenness to further the cause of power-saving in filmmaking, suggesting that solar-powered generators be used for electricity on sets.
Ajay has also joined WWF-India and had pledged his support to ‘Earth Hour 2013’, WWF’s global campaign to raise awareness and bring about action on climate change.
Actor and social activist Rahul Bose served as the Ambassador for Oxfam. He gained recognition as a social activist when he was appointed as one of the twelve international thinkers, politicians, economists, and social activists to inaugurate the ‘In My Name’ initiative against global poverty in 2008. In India, he launched an initiative on climate change in 2009 which focused on government policy at the highest level and advocacy for the cause through talks with various international bodies such as the United Nations.
In fact, he is Oxfam’s first Global Ambassador from the Eastern hemisphere. At the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Rahul joined tens of thousands of demonstrators at a mass rally and candlelight vigil outside the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen. He was one of the 10 speakers to speak at the Global Day of Action for Climate Change rally in Copenhagen.
(Edited by Athirupa Geetha Manichandar)