Green cred: Oregon native Matt Groening attended “hippie haven” Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. When Groening moved to Los Angeles, he had a tough time getting used to the smog and the minimalls. He persevered and eventually created “The Simpsons,” where week after week he incorporated environmental messages in every episode.
Focus: Through Lisa Simpson, Groening has focused on vegetarianism, smoking, pollution and other health issues. “Lisa has a very simple philosophy,” Groening has said. “Whatever you see her father Homer do, eat, or drink — don’t try this at home. I made sure that Homer worked in a nuclear power plant, because then we can keep returning to that and making a point about the environment.”
Latest battle: “The Simpsons Movie” will bring Groening’s environmental message to the bigscreen in July, 2007. The plot involves Homer accidentally leaking toxic waste into the river from the nuclear power plant, forcing all the Springfield residents to evacuate. Erin Brockovich makes a cameo.
Eco mantra: “I have a secret motto which is, ‘To entertain and subvert.’ If we can point out that teachers, political leaders, religious leaders, your parents, or your peers may be foolish, that’s a good lesson. Think for yourself.”