The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, is the biggest annual event in the world of motion pictures. First held in 1929, the ceremony is a huge undertaking that wasn’t always known for being environmentally friendly. But in recent years, Academy Awards have made eco news headlines with their efforts to save the planet.

The Academy&r squo;s efforts to produce a green show started in 2007, when producer Laura Ziskin enlisted the help of the National Resources Defense Council (or NRDC for short) to reduce the ceremony’s impact on the environment. The organization purchased renewable energy credits to offset a quarter of a million pounds of CO2 emissions that year. They arranged for transportation of the show’s presenters and staff in hybrid vehicles, used eco-friendly paper materials and served an environmentally responsible meal at the Governor’s Ball.

The initiative was a hit in its first year, and each year thereafter has seen more efforts by the Academy to save the planet. They now use recycled materials as much as possible to create the show’s sets, and the red carpet is cleaned and reused each year. In 2010, Academy''s staff started using zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells to power metal detectors, construction lights and other portable items.

In 2012, the Academy made eco news again by using a synchronous UPS system instead of a backup generator. This provided a continuous power source throughout the show that used power already generated by the utility company rather than using fossil fuels to generate more power. They also started work on an electronic voting system that would eliminate the need for paper ballots and mail delivery.

Even the gift bags given to nominees are now designed to help save the planet. In 2012, they included sustainable kitchen products such as produce bags, stainless steel snack containers and bamboo utensils from Essential Safe Products. They also received gift boxes from Green PolkaDot Box, a company that sells organic and non-GMO foods and other natural products.

Even the Stars are Going Green

All the eco news surrounding the Oscars has certainly had a positive effect. It has influenced many celebrities to become more eco-conscious, both in their Academy Award activities and their everyday lives. Actor Colin Firth’s wife Livia has become a major proponent for the cause, and she has led by example by wearing eco-friendly gowns to the ceremony for the past several years. Other stars that have made eco news with their wardrobe choices include Missi Pyle and Meryl Streep. Sophia Bush showed up for the 2012 pre-show party in a Chevy Volt, a hybrid vehicle that operates entirely on electricity until battery capacity drops to a level where gasoline is required.

The Academy Awards’ actions may not save the planet on their own, but they are a big help. If other big events were to follow their example, it could make a major impact. The 85th Academy Awards air Sunday, February 24th on ABC

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