Celebrities raise awareness of California drought Morning traffic makes its way toward downtown Los Angeles along the Hollywood Freeway past an electronic sign warning of severe drought (AP photos)
Celebrities raise awareness of California drought
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Willing or not, celebrities are playing a role in raising awareness about California's debilitating drought.

Stars whose homes boast lush, green lawns at a time when residents have been asked to cut back on water may be drought-shamed on social media. Meanwhile, entertainers hoping to take the lead on water conservation talk proudly of their drought-friendly gardens.

"We're all in this together," said actress Wendie Malick. She relies on well water at her home in the Santa Monica Mountains. "Unfortunately, it had to come to this crisis moment to get us all on board."

At celebrity enclave Beverly Hills, many lawns remain bright green. But the neighborhood has approved new water restrictions and penalties for violating them. Enforcement is set to begin this month.

Beachside Malibu has long had water restrictions in place. That is according to the city's environmental programs specialist, Casey Zweig. While she says the city would never engage in drought-shaming, it does offer a website where residents can anonymously report their water-wasting neighbors. Zweig said her team visits the offending properties personally.

"Once you reach people with this information, they tend to really want to do the right thing and figure out what the best solution is," she said. "People who live in Malibu love the natural aspect. They want to coexist in a lot of ways with these beautiful natural surroundings that they're paying top dollar to live in."

Offenders in the city, though, have multiple chances to make things right before facing fines, Zweig said.

Barbra Streisand is a past drought-shaming target. She said she and husband James Brolin have let most of the lawns go brown at their Malibu compound. The couple is also working with a water-reuse company to install a graywater system and rainwater cisterns, she said. That is, "should California be lucky enough to get some rain," she said.

Cher is another Malibu resident. She has let her grass go brown. She has talked about the water shortage on Twitter. In a post last month, she complained California used fresh water for fracking.

"WE'RE IN A CATASTROPHIC DROUGHT, WATER MEANS LIFE??" she wrote. "WE CANT DRINK OIL."

Kelly Osbourne drought-shamed herself on Instagram. She shared her guilt over taking a bath. And she said she planned to re-use the water.

Malick, who serves on the board of the Environmental Media Association, said "making green cool" is part of the organization's mission statement.

"If people emulate those that they're fans of... why not show them some behavior that is great for the planet?" she said.

Being eco-conscious "is the way to be trendy in Hollywood," EMA president Debbie Levin said. Levin added that studios are also keen on the effort. Some have replaced lawns with artificial turf.

Industry-watcher Michael Levine said it's important that celebrities make the same cutbacks as other Californians. It's because "people care about a sense of fairness."

"They think, 'I'm not going to sacrifice if Brad Pitt doesn't sacrifice,'" Levine said.

Both Levine and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton think concern about the drought hasn't reached a tipping point yet in Hollywood. It is a place where it's often socially obligatory to be on board with conscientious trends.

"It's an issue that doesn't trigger an emotional response in a lot of people," Hilton said. "Or maybe they're afraid to speak out because they might be branded hypocrites."

Still, he says only the most publicly eco-aware stars could be damaged by drought-shaming.

"For someone like Kim Kardashian," he said, "people would probably expect her to be watering her lawn and breaking the rules."

Critical thinking challenge: What is drought-shaming?

Assigned 35 times


COMMENTS (40)
  • Estella-Par
    6/04/2015 - 08:51 a.m.

    In this story they talk about a drought in California and celebrities roles on this drought. I read the ' Critical Thinking Challenge ' and here is my answer: Based on what I have read 'drought-shaming' is when celebrities use a lot of water during a drought. Since they are rich, they can buy lots of things like water. Drought-shaming is when people find out and 'drought-shame' them. That is my answer to 'What is "drought-shaming" '.

  • kaylie.latham53
    6/04/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    That is cool that celebrities are helping the drought, even though the drought is not good, it is good we have help. In the text and in my research it kind of said that the celebrities were only helping because they need the water for their own needs. Probably some of them actually want to help, I think the author was being a little bit critical about them helping. I also know that the drought can make fruit sweeter.

  • DC1024Kaiser
    6/04/2015 - 01:09 p.m.

    Drought shaming is the drought and everyone did nothing to prevent it. also people that have pol use that water to drink not to swim in . ALL that celebrates want to be notice.

  • Fardine-Der
    6/04/2015 - 02:02 p.m.

    Who: Celebrities who try to save the drought.
    What: The drought made there no water.
    Where: It happened in California.
    When: It was posted on June 4 2015.
    Why: to tell people That not to use a lot of water in California.
    How: Celebrities try to save the drought by reusing the shower water.

  • Courtneyc-Der
    6/04/2015 - 02:21 p.m.

    Who: Celebrities in California.
    What: There is a big drought in California and celebrities are trying to conserve water.
    Where: The article takes place in the state of California.
    When: I read this on June 4.
    Why: This article was written so people can read about how celebrities are helping with the drought
    How: Celebrities are conserving water by letting their grass dry or pay fines if they use the water to much.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    6/04/2015 - 06:29 p.m.

    I think that this might be bad for California to become in danger of a severe drought that is still here in California, but I think that it might be even harder if we are trying to save water at home or even somewhere else to save water. Well if it is harder to save water someplace else, I think that it might be easy is we just save water at home.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    6/04/2015 - 09:02 p.m.

    California has been in a drought for kind of a long time. Southern California sometimes have been stealing water from northern California. People use too much water when they shower or wash their hands. Some people have one hour or one hour and thirty minute long showers. There is no need to use that much water to shower. Some people also leave the water on when they brush their teeth. I hope that California won't run out of water because if it did then we would be in a lot of trouble. We wouldn't be able to filter water for the toilets, wash ourselves, or drink water. Water is an important resource and we there would be a lot of difficulty without it.

  • ConnorK-2
    6/04/2015 - 11:40 p.m.

    The stars of California, have finally come to the waters below, well all the water that we have. Hollywood actors, and pop sensations have begun raising awareness on the drought crisis that is currently plaguing California. Many of these celebrities have cut back on their water usage, and have been letting their beautiful lawns go brown. Celebrities have been limiting their water usage to show a fair example to California, they believe that just because their celebrities, doesn't mean that they don't have to be wary about the drought. Big public icons may also help to bring the drought to people's attention because these people are very influential. I am glad that celebrities are also taking a stand against the drought.

  • ChaseG-5
    6/05/2015 - 12:26 a.m.

    This article is about the drought in California. Many celebrities have begun to be green. It is the new trend in Hollywood. They speak out again water wasters on social media. I think this is a great thing because it is raising awareness for the drought in California. Many people need to be on board with being eco friendly to eliminate the drought.

  • BeckettN-2
    6/05/2015 - 12:36 a.m.

    This article is about how some celebrities are going drought friendly and encouraging others to do so too. Some are buying artificial turf r having drought friendly plants in their gardens. I think its great that they're going drought friendly.

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