Causes are serious business for comedy actress

Getting a laugh is tough business, but for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, it’s not as important as protecting the environment.

The comic actress has become a prominent advocate for pro-environmental orgs, serving on the Natural Resource Defense Council’s executive forum, the board of directors of Heal the Bay and the honorary board of Heal the Ocean. She also is a featured marcher in the Stop Global Warming Virtual March and has earned such honors as the NRDC’s Forces for Nature Award and Global Green’s Entertainment Industry Environmental Leadership Award.

It was becoming a mother that inspired Louis-Dreyfus to get involved, motivating her “to sort of cash in my celebrity for environmental issues, in addition to giving my time and money and energy to environmental organizations,” she says.

While some actors shy away from causes that are controversial or political, Louis-Dreyfus says he has no problem speaking out for the environment, as long as she’s not portrayed as having any kind of scientific expertise on the topic.

“I leave that to the professionals,” she says. “If I could just sort of subtly take the attention off of me and put it on to them, then I feel that maybe I’ve done a good thing.”

Louis-Dreyfus has lent her celebrity to campaigns urging elected officials to enact environmental protections and championed a 2003 California law requiring the state to make its fleet of vehicles as fuel-efficient as possible. She also was front and center in the 2004 campaign to pass Proposition O and clean up the water supply in Los Angeles.

She and her husband of 23 years, writer and actor Brad Hall, have committed to live their lives in as eco-friendly a fashion as possible. They drive only electric and hybrid vehicles and live with their sons, Henry and Charles, in a home built from sustainable materials and run with solar power.

“I’m hoping that I have raised two boys to become two men who are staunch environmentalists,” she says. “If I’ve done that, then I’ll feel pretty good.”

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