Many celebrities are not just famous for their talent. In fact, they use their fame and influence to reach out to the rest of world who are in need and make a difference in terms of disaster relief and humanitarian work. Oftentimes, their involvement is met with skepticism and controversy - people wonder whether it is for real or just a show to draw more attention. The negative notion may well be eschewed because which celebrity in his or her right mind is willing to get humiliated? Getting involved with environmental and social issues can be taxing and requires dedication. But here they are, openly embracing the challenges for a good cause.
Other celebrities have followed suit, and here are the top 10 celebrities who are active in disaster relief and humanitarian work – including the promotion of environmental awareness.
11 Hayden Panettiere
She may be young but she sure knows how to show her love for the environment. She even made a bold move by handing a letter of protest against whale hunting to the ambassadors of Norway and Japan. Due to this, she was issued an arrest warrant in Japan for her interference. The documentary film The Cove notably captured the confrontation scene she had between Japanese fishermen and five surfers from the U.S. and Australia. Other than fighting for animal rights, Panettiere is an ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation whose mission is to stop teen pregnancy.
Recently, together with fellow young actresses Vanessa Hudgens and Miranda Cosgrove, Panettiere kicked off a fundraising and awareness project with Neutrogena for disaster relief, environment and education.
10 Selena Gomez
In the ninth spot is Selena Gomez. As young as she is, she’s already actively involved in different campaigns. She was one among those who donated to the Celebrity Charity Sandy Relief Auction. Among her humanitarian involvement is Raise Hope for Congo which raises awareness against violence on Congolese women. Selena is the ambassador for DoSomething.org, and spokesperson both for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and Borden Milk.
9 Leonardo DiCaprio
He’s got the looks and fame, alright. But that doesn’t stop him from establishing his own foundation called The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which raises environmental awareness. He donated 1 million dollars as a response to help those afflicted by the 2010 Haiti earthquake. DiCaprio is a member of the board of three environmental agencies: Natural Resources Defense Council, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Global Green U.S.A. He also produced the documentary called the 11th Hour.
8 Michael J. Fox
This Back To The Future star kept his struggle with Parkinson’s disease a secret for seven years. He took a big leap when he came out in the open to bravely inform the whole world that he has the crippling disease. He then founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000 which is committed to raise money and awareness to find a cure for the disease. Fox, is also one of the celebrities who are heavily involved in disaster relief.
7 Angelina & Brad
Their efforts for environmental and humanitarian causes are known world-wide. Hollywood’s power couple have contributed millions to charities and humanitarian efforts. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt established the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which has donated millions globally. Jolie, herself, is a UN Goodwill Ambassador and has been on field missions in different parts of the world personally meeting with refugees. Pitt, on the other hand, works with Global Green U.S.A.
5 George Clooney
Number five on the list Oscar-winning actor George Clooney. His humanitarian efforts in Darfur, Sudan caught the world’s attention. Along with his producer and co-stars in the movie Ocean’s 11 namely Jerry Weintraub, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle and Matt Damon, he founded the organization Not On Our Watch. In 2012, he travelled to the Sudanese Nuba Mountains and documented his trip and named it A Journey to Darfur. The documentary was released on DVD on 2008 and the proceeds were donated to the International Rescue Committee.
After the destructive Haiti earthquake, together with MTV, George Clooney hosted a two-hour telethon to raise donations for the affected Haitians.
4 Sir Elton John
Sir Elton John ranks fourth on the list. He is known for his hard work in raising funds to support AIDS awareness and find a cure for the disease which claimed the lives of his dear friends like Freddy Mercury and Ryan White, to name a few. In 1992, he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
He gets himself involved in fundraising projects and the contributions collected from these are donated to different global charities as a support to different relief programs.
U2’s main man Bono hits the third spot. Since 1999, he has tirelessly campaigned for the third-world debt, and raised global awareness on the sad plight of Africa as well as the AIDS pandemic. Due to his personal and generous involvement in various humanitarian and social issues, he is known to be the world’s most philanthropic musician. Bono also is the music industry’s most steadfast artist to work for different causes, most especially those involving disaster relief programs.
2 Al Gore
Since 1976 and even after his active days as a politician, Al Gore continues to be involved with the environment. His documentary film An Inconvenient Truth tells about the threat of global warming and the solutions to the problem, which stirred global awareness. He made trips in many countries to share and educate people about the detrimental changes in the environment. Gore founded other organizations like the We Campaign, the Generation Investment Management and Alliance for Climate Protection.
1 Oprah Winfrey
Landing in the top spot is Oprah Winfrey. Her organization called Oprah’s Angel Network supports many global charitable projects and nonprofit organizations. It also helped raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and raised awareness on the issues and problems in Africa. Other organizations which she founded include the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and the Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation. The goal is to raise awareness and support many causes concerning different issues like the environment, AIDS and HIV, and those that affect women and children all over the world. Due to her humanitarian efforts, she received an honorary Oscar in 2011.
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