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Joaquin Phoenix accepts the award for best actor in a motion picture drama for his role in "Joker" at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Jan. 5, 2020.
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Environment

Joaquin Phoenix Urges Celebrities to Forgo Private Jets in Golden Globe Speech

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Air travel is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Forgoing a flight, or flying economy, is an effective way to reduce your personal carbon footprint, in line with the United Nations Global Goals. You can join us in taking action on this issue here

Actor Joaquin Phoenix called on the audience at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday to make personal changes to their own lives to send a message that they’re serious about climate change. 

“Hopefully we can be united and make some changes,” he said during his acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama. “It’s great to vote but sometimes we have to take that responsibility on ourselves and make sacrifices changes in our own lives and I hope we can do that.

“We don’t have to take private jets to Palm Springs to the awards and back,” he added. 

Phoenix accepted the Best Actor award for his role as the eponymous character in Joker, which explores the origin story of the infamous comic-book villain. 

The actor is a long-time vegan and animal rights activist who supports various wildlife organizations. He praised the awards show’s decision to serve guests a plant-based meal.  

“I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press for recognizing and acknowledging the link between animal agriculture and climate change as a very bold move,” he said. “Making tonight plant-based — it sends a powerful message.”

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Animal agriculture around the world is a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also a leading cause of deforestation, soil degradation, water pollution, water consumption, and more. Scientists and environmental advocates have long urged people to reduce their meat consumption to protect the environment

Celebrities are increasingly championing the plant-based movement. Queen’s guitarist Brian May recently embarked on “Veganuary” to start the New Year plant-based. 

Phoenix also took aim at Ricky Gervais, the host of the Golden Globes, who harangued the guests earlier in the evening to avoid political speeches. 

“Contrary to popular belief, I don’t want to rock the boat,” he said. “But the boat is fucking rocked.”

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“It’s really nice that so many people have come up and sent their well wishes to Australia but we have to do more than that,” Phoenix said, and went on to encourage his fellow celebrities to live sustainably. 

Air travel releases a disportionate amount of carbon and other emissions within the transportation sector. People who fly on private jets, and those who take several round-trip flights per year, meanwhile, are disportionately responsible for these emissions

In fact, the 12% of Americans who take six or more round-trip flights per year are responsible for two-thirds of all aviation-related emissions in the US. Skipping a flight and choosing an alternative is an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint

Phoenix’s plea to think twice about private jet travel, therefore, is a plea to fully incorporate climate awareness into everyday life. 

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