Orange Pop: For a long time, celebrities from the music, cinema, fashion or entrepreneurship have been getting involved (to various extents) with ecology, preservation of animal species, forests, resources, and so on.
Do you think their involvement; speeches and overall actions have become a necessity to environmental awareness and to respond to this major challenge?
Laurence VEYNE: Celebrities definitely have a role to play in alerting the general public about global issues, protection of the environment and the climate or the defense of fundamental human rights. Thanks to their media visibility, they can shed light on subjects that are usually forgotten and allow to reach audiences that are not traditionally those of the associations. They are complementary to the awareness raising work carried out by organizations via actions on the web, social networks or the media.
However, this work can be a double-edged sword for celebrities, as for associations: the collaboration has to be about an issue that means something deep and personal to both parties so that they all benefit from it.A famous spokesperson could harm the reputation of the association if their words or behavior went against what the NGO that they support stands for.
On the other hand, social networks would also point be the first to point out the potential inconsistencies, exposing the artist to criticism, as it has been the case in the past.
O.Pop: As an international NGO for the protection of the environment, accustomed to high-profile campaigns, how do you convince celebrities to join you and help the planet (like Marion Cotillard addressing the deforestation in the Congo and more recently Ludivico Einaudi’s performance for the “Save The Arctic” campaign?)
L.V.: We usually create lasting collaborations with celebrities; they are based on a genuine need for them to get involved. Ever since the start of her career, Marion Cotillard has always been a true ecologist so she has accepted quite naturally to support our campaigns, especially those about the preservation of forests, a subject she feels strongly about. Tryo, Mélanie Laurent and Lambert Wilson also support our actions and have gotten involved with oceans preservations works too. Furthermore, we must adapt to their schedules and make sure we’re not going against what they put on display in their career.
We’re very open to any form of collaboration with artists, as long as their motivations are heartfelt and they are in agreement with our demands, our values and our no-violence policy.
O. Pop: Does popularity mean greater responsibilities ? Is using you success, your fame, your wealth and your talent for an environmental cause fundamental in this day and age ?
L.V.: Yes, something like that. It is important that every one contributes somehow to building a better tomorrow, a « greener » and more peaceful one. Having said that, that commitment has to rely on profound and genuine convictions to be legitimate and credible. At Greenpeace, we try to raise awareness for ecology for the largest amount of people, hoping that they will do the same one-day. It is also the case for celebs that have what it takes to bring our actions to the next level, if they are willing to take the time to understand, invest and fight when it comes to environmental issues.
Laurence VEYNE, head of communication at Greenpeace France © L.V.