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Environmental Media Awards laud green media and its moguls

October 17, 2010 | 10:56 am

Olivia Munn in her green dress at the Environmental Media Awards Ed Begley Jr., one of the first Hollywood celebs to promote environmental causes, didn't seem at all surprised that Saturday's Environmental Media Awards ceremony had mushroomed over the last 20 years from a casual event at an old L.A. club into an elaborate cocktail party and roving dinner at Warner Bros. Studios backlot.

Fresh off the green carpet, the board member and former chairman of the Environmental Media Assn., which recognizes film and television that spreads an environmental message, was chatting with friends while he waited for the ceremony to begin.

"When you see people dying on an oil rig and there are environmental disasters in the gulf, people want to do something," he told the Ministry. "It's like World War II, when people planted victory gardens. People want to do something because they see the writing on the wall. Why don't we subsidize renewable energy like China? Gandhi said, 'People lead and governments follow.' We vote with our dollars."

With Begley's passion for environmentalism, it wasn't surprising that his Planet Green reality show, "Living With Ed," picked up an EMA later that evening.

Another slam dunk was "Avatar," which won yet another feature-film award. Filmmaker James Cameron talked about how his efforts to save the environment had continued after the film left theaters.

EMA-gallery-promo "The film resonated with environmental groups and activists and indigenous groups, which came to me and said, 'We're fighting the bulldozers every day,' " he said, referring to the movie's battle between a native people and commercial development. "We've been to the Amazon twice, to India and Canada, and realized how big the challenge is."

The evening's biggest awards went to Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, which made such prominent environmental films as the Oscar-winning "An Inconvenient Truth" and "The Cove," and media mogul Ted Turner, who was warmly introduced by Jane Fonda as "my favorite ex-husband."

Jane fonda rosario dawson "He puts his money where his mouth is," Fonda said, moments before Turner received the evening's only standing ovation. His car has "a bumper sticker that says, 'Save the Humans,' because he knows if we don't save the planet, it's us who will die."

Young Hollywood (and a little older) turned out in droves for the event, including hosts Jason Ritter ("The Event") and Olivia Munn ("The Daily Show") -- who sported "rain forest couture," a dress made of vines, feathers and a frog (don't ask, just look above) -- as well as "Parks & Recreation's" Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza, Rosario Dawson, Eva Mendes, Mark-Paul Gosselaar ("Raising the Bar"), Erika Christensen ("Parenthood"), "Cold Case's" Kathryn Morris, Jessalyn Gilsig ("Glee") and Lance Bass. Also presenting or performing were longtime supporters Wendie Malick, Jane Leeves, Francis Fisher and Kenny Loggins.

-- Irene Lacher

Photos, from top: The night's host Olivia Munn, in a themed dress, at the 20th annual Environmental Media Awards in Burbank on Oct. 16, 2010. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images.  Actress Joanna García and recording artist Lance Bass. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images. Jane Fonda, left, and Rosario Dawson. Credit: WireImage