Michelle Pfeiffer has joined the board of directors at Environmental Working Group, adding celebrity firepower to one of the country’s most powerful consumer research and advocacy groups.
The “Batman Returns” star is the first Hollywood celebrity to lead the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, which focuses on farm subsidies and the health effects of toxic chemicals used in food, cosmetics and fossil fuel drilling and mining. The group, which pulled in $13.6 million in revenue last year, regularly releases consumer guides on food, makeup and sunscreen, and publishes an annual list of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables with the highest amounts of pesticide residue.
“Like millions of parents, I’ve relied on EWG research for many years to help my family avoid toxic chemicals and lead a healthier life,” Pfeiffer, 58, said in a statement. “And now more than ever, we need EWG to lead the fight for a clean environment in Washington.”
EWG certainly has its work cut out for it. President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed cabinet picks so far seem set to roll back years of progress on environmental policy. His pick for commerce secretary is a billionaire coal baron. His pick for transportation secretary has longstanding links to the coal industry. His pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is a climate science denier with deep ties to oil and gas companies. And his pick for secretary of state is the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, which is under investigation by state attorneys general for covering up evidence of global warming for decades.
Trump, for his part, has repeatedly dismissed climate change as a “hoax” and vowed to shred President Barack Obama’s signature legislation for cutting carbon emissions.
“Donald Trump has made it clear that he intends to wage war on clean air and clean water,” Benjamin Schreiber, climate and energy program director at the nonprofit Friends of the Earth, said in a statement last week. “Trump has also put our climate in peril and shown he is out of step with the American people.”
Environmental advocacy has long been a cause célèbre for Hollywood actors and musicians. But Pfeiffer joins a handful of A-list movie stars who have begun devoting serious time and resources to combatting climate change and environmental destruction.
“Spotlight” star Mark Ruffalo, who runs a water access nonprofit, emerged as a major advocate for residents in Flint, Michigan, where corroded lead pipes poisoned the city’s tap water. Leonardo DiCaprio released a documentary on global warming in October that some have called the “new ‘Inconvenient Truth’” ― a reference to Al Gore’s 2006 film that mainstreamed the issue of climate change. “Ghostbusters” actor Ed Begley Jr., who sits on the board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, hosts a web series about his solar-powered house in Los Angeles on the streaming network Evox Television.