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The Environmental Media Association (EMA) held its 26th annual awards on the Warner Bros. back lot on Saturday. GMOs and electric vehicles were among the talking points, but the big topic of the night was EMA honoree Shailene Woodley’s warrior spirit and her Oct. 10 arrest in North Dakota for “peacefully protesting,” she said, against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“I had a Facebook Live feed going with 40,000 people watching, and I was the only person out of 300 people who got arrested,” she said. “So there is obviously a big desire to keep this silent.” [Woodley noted that 26 others eventually were arrested that day.]
“It’s important to go green,” she added. “But what’s really important is standing up and making our voices so loud that they have no choice to ignore us.”
Producer Deia Schlosberg, who, along with director Josh Fox received an EMA Award for their doc How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, also spoke about her own recent arrest in North Dakota while she was “documenting the Shut It Down action to stop all [tar sands] oil from Canada coming into the U.S.,” she said. “I didn’t want to be out speaking about First Amendment rights. I didn’t think that would be a necessity. If journalists aren’t allowed into those places to tell those stories, it denies everybody their right to know what is going on and to be informed citizens.”
The Smith family arrived on the green carpet just before the show got underway. Will Smith began repeating the deafening yells from photographers who were screaming “Jada!” and “Jaden!” as he, wife Jada Pinkett Smith and their brood made their way into the event. Jaden Smith was the Male EMA Futures Award recipient for his work in responsibly sourced and packaged water with his entrepreneurial venture JUST Water.
The show itself proved to be a mix of emotional calls to action as well as a few light self-deprecating jabs — from longtime EMA board members including Ed Begley Jr. and Wendie Malick — and solemn moments of song and prayer onstage.
As attendees dug into their vegetarian dinner courtesy of L.A. chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (ironically known for their carnivorous restaurant Animal), event host Nicole Richie started off the proceedings with some Donald Trump-style rallying: “Are we all ready to make America green again?” She called for “a total and complete ban on climate-change deniers.”
Channeling Trump, she added, “Nobody loves the environment more than Richie does. Before me, no one drove a Prius, no one took their bags to the market. In fact, I’m pretty sure I invented the concept of smoking weed out of a pen. That’s why nobody has a better relationship with the greens than I do.”
Moby closed out the show with acoustic songs after accepting his EMA Award and suggesting, “One thing that we collectively, as a nation and species, could do to really address most of our environmental concerns is stop supporting animal agriculture. [It] contributes up to 50 percent of climate change, according to the U.N. and Worldwatch; 75 percent of antibiotic resistance, 90 percent of rainforest deforestation and probably 75 percent of erectile dysfunction …”
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