Earth Day Poseurs

Happy Earth Day! It’s time for everyone—especially celebrities—to preach about earth consciousness. But who will live up to their hype and really live a green lifestyle? Check out if environmental big talkers from Prince Charles to Al Gore practice what they preach.

Evan Agostini / AP Photo

Evan Agostini / AP Photo

Brad Pitt

After Hurricane Katrina, Brad Pitt led a major effort to build environmentally sound houses in the damaged areas of New Orleans. Yet, he and Angelina Jolie frequently jet around the world. One of his trips between Los Angeles and New York reportedly carried a carbon footprint of 1.814 tons, and a trip between Los Angeles to Namibia carried a carbon footprint of 3.569 tons.

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Chris Martin

Coldplay front man, Chris Martin regularly flies home between performances, despite singing about global warming and environmental responsibility. Martin’s personal carbon footprint is apparently much larger than that of the average Brit. Studies show that pollution from air travel is expected to account for 25 percent of the U.K.’s greenhouse gases over the next decades and that it would be best for environmentally conscious Britons to give up unnecessary short-haul flights to help the environment.

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Trudie Styler

Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler, runs the Rainforest Foundation, which helps to preserve and protect the world’s rainforests. But she has homes in New York, Los Angeles, and London and travels frequently. She once flew her entourage by private jet from New York to Washington to go to a party. Styler does recognize the contradiction and says, "I get a lot of mud slung at me and yes, I do take planes but I feel that's my life. My life is to travel and my life is also to speak out about the horrors of an environment that is being abused at the hands of a very irresponsible oil company. I can't think of a cleverer answer than that."

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Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage was honored in 2010 for his efforts with Heal the Bay in Santa Monica, and has also been known for extravagant donations to cleanup efforts in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, he teamed up with Amnesty International to call for support for the victims of the BP Gulf Coast oil spill. But his large-scale contributions are matched (and then some) by his large-scale spending. Before Cage hit a financial wall and was forced to sell much of what he had accumulated, his lifestyle was less than environmentally friendly: He owned a dozen houses, two private islands and that classic celebrity environmental no-no, a car collection. Cage also claimed solidarity with the victims of the oil spill, yet he has trouble having the same empathy for his wife. He was arrested on April 16 in New Orleans for domestic abuse.

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TomKat's Triple Order of Private Jets

Tom Cruise may have played a sports agent who gets a conscience in Jerry Maguire, but it looks like he hasn't yet grown an environmental conscience. Cruise owns three private jets, one of which was purchased as a gift for wife Katie Holmes—and she once reportedly used the private jet for grocery shopping. Their environmental record is so bad, they are reportedly known as " Emissions Impossible" in Hollywood. But those days might be over for the couple: congressional candidate Marcy Winograd has petitioned to end private jet traffic at Santa Monica airport, a move that could cripple stars' jet use.

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Leaving (Daily) on a Jet Plane

Simon Cowell stood as one of the Fox stars in their 2010 "Green It. Mean It." campaign for Earth Day, but his environmental record is not so great. While pulling double duty as the host of American Idol and Britain's Got Talent, Cowell took weekly U.K.-to-L.A. flights. Why private planes? "The champagne's better and you can smoke," Cowell said. But making his carbon emissions' record even more egregious were his cars—a gas guzzling Bugatti Veyron, a Ferrari and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.

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Prince Charles, Royal Fraud?

One of Prince Charles' trademark causes has been the environment—he famously told an interviewer that he talks to his plants—but is the British heir apparent's earth love for real? During a 2009 environmental tour of South America, Prince Charles traveled 16,400 miles by private jet, causing an uproar among carbon-emissions number crunches (he used 322 tons, if you're counting). The controversy hasn't stopped Charles from writing an adult and children's book called Harmony: A New Way of Looking at the Environment, about restoring " the lost balance between Man and nature."

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Not So Funny Figures

Barbra Streisand donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation in 2008 to focus on climate change. But maybe she should have started in her own backyard. Watering the lawn at her Malibu mansion costs a reported $22,000 a year, and she reportedly has a 12,000-square-foot backyard barn air conditioned.

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Madonna's Plastic Overdose

Madonna's commitment to Malawi has been under fire lately, but the Material Girl is no stranger to having her charitable causes criticized. She posed on the cover of Vanity Fair's 2008 Green Issue, but it was revealed shortly afterward that Madonna spends a whopping $120,000 on bottled water—a special Kabbalah-blessed brand that costs $5 a plastic bottle.

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Private Jet Fever

Pulp Fiction star John Travolta doesn't apologize for loving his airplanes—but does he really need five private jets? The personal runway outside his Florida home may be convenient for him and his Gulfstream and Boeing 707s, but now, in environmentalist circles, he has fewer fans than his megaflop Battlefield Earth. It's calculated that Travolta puts out 800 tons of carbon emissions every year, or 100 times the norm per person. But that hasn't stopped him from preaching about climate change: In 2007, he said that everyone should "do their bit" to stop the crisis.

Bernat Armangue / AP Photo

Al's Inconvenient Power Use

The godfather of all things green had a slight PR snafu a few years ago when it was revealed that his 10,000-square-foot carbon-neutral mansion used nearly 221,000 kilowatt hours of energy. He was hit again a year later when the Tennessee Center for Policy Research called him out for actually having increased energy use by 10 percent—using the same amount of energy as 232 homes. Gore responded to the allegations by saying that his home uses green power, which is defined by the Tennessee Valley Authority as creating "less waste and pollution" than standard electricity. But the public relations debacle has hardly caused Al Gore to go into hiding: in 2008 alone, he called on everyone in the U.S. to commit to producing all electricity from renewable sources and created the Repower America project to attain this goal in the next 10 years.