Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Hollywood dream factory is a nightmare for animals

Yesterday a very famous bear caused a very big tragedy. Rocky, most recently seen wrestling Will Ferrell in the movie “Semi-Pro”, killed one of his trainers with a quick bite to the neck.

Stephan Miller was a skilled and experienced trainer, and Rocky was a skilled and experienced bear. But there is one huge difference between the two: Rocky is a wild animal whose actions cannot be predicted like those of humans.

Stephan’s death is extremely tragic; there is no disputing that. But there are other tragedies here. One is that Rocky is kept for human amusement and a big paycheck for Randy Miller, who owns the training facility where Rocky resides. One is that there is a very real possibility that Rocky will be put to death for doing something instinctual. Another is that Rocky has never lived a free life in the wild of the sort that bears are meant to have.

Virginia McKenna, founder of the wildlife charity Born Free, said it best:

"The movie industry urgently needs to use its technological and creative imagination to put an end to the use of live wild animals in commercials and movies. Hollywood is a dream factory -- this time the dream has become a nightmare."

A nightmare for everyone involved -- for Stephan Miller, for his cousin Randy and the rest of Miller’s family, for Rocky, whose short life will also probably come to an end soon, and for all wild animals kept in captivity for non-conservation purposes.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Leo DiCaprio buys a green NYC condo

Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t just tout green causes -- he walks the walk. In addition to driving a Prius, having solar panels placed on his LA home and serving on the board of directors of Global Green USA, Leo just purchased a green condo in NYC’s Riverhouse.

Riverhouse, an eco-friendly community overlooking the Hudson River in the Battery Park City area of Manhattan, is slated for occupancy this summer. The complex features a 264-unit condominium glass tower overlooking the river and a park, low emission paints, a 24-hour fresh filtered air system, a water treatment facility and rotating solar panels.

According to the property’s website, residents receive the following green benefits:

1. Clean air - Fresh air is filtered twice before entering residences. Indoor humidity levels are adjusted seasonally.
2. Pure water - Water purification is provided by an on-site filtration system.
3. Healthy interiors - Local, renewable materials and non-toxic, low- or non-pollutant paints, sealants and adhesives are used throughout the buildings.
4. Solar energy - A custom photovoltaic grid caps each building, maximizing the amount of energy captured for clean, usable energy.
5. Green roofs - 75% of roof space will be planted with greenery, creating parks in the sky.

But green doesn’t come cheap, at least not on this property. Prices start at $895,000.