In my first celebrity environmentalist profile, the spotlight was on one of my favorite musicians, Jason Mraz. Hopefully you got to see the world as he does and were inspired by his environmentalism. As I mentioned before, many celebrities have a great deal of power and influence because of their worldwide recognition, and I would hope that they use it in a positive way, encouraging others to make good choices. Some do this all the time. Some don’t. Some are just awesome at everything. Case in point: Justin Timberlake.
JT: singer, actor, entertainer, philanthropist…environmentalist. He’s won Grammys for his music, Emmys for his work on Saturday Night Live, and in 2011, was awarded the “Futures Award” at the Environmental Media Awards as well as the Kids’ Choice Awards’ “Big Help Award” for his charity work and commitment to the environment. After receiving the “Big Help Award” for his work, he was quoted saying, “I was inspired at a young age by my parents and family to do everything possible to give back to the world around us.”
Getting on the Green
At the 21st Annual EMAs, one of JT’s movies, Yogi Bear, won an EMA for “Feature Film.” The more important reason for his attendance, however, was that he was to be honored for his personal environmental work. While on a concert tour in 2011, Timberlake actually hired a company to calculate the carbon footprint generated by his world tour. Taking a page from Mraz’s book, JT proceeded to plant enough trees and bushes in the cities he visited to erase his tour footprint. Timberlake also happens to have a very green golf course, no pun intended. His golf course, Mirimichi, is located near Memphis, Tennessee, and was reopened in 2009 after Timberlake made renovations to the property. The course is special to Timberlake not only because he loves to play golf with his family, but also because it is where his dad first taught him how to hit a ball. So when JT and his dad heard that the old course was going to be auctioned off for development purposes, they decided to make the investment.
The Timberlake’s money went a long way, because they now own one of the most eco-friendly courses in the world. Not only was it the first golf course in the U.S. to receive Audubon International Classic Sanctuary certification, but it was also the first course in America (1 of 10 in the world) to receive Golf Environment Organization (GEO) certified status. The GEO certification means that the course “met comprehensive and advanced sustainability requirements and uses them to drive continual improvement.”
Cry Me a River – Enhancing Golf Course Water Use
Mirimichi is a Native American expression that means “A place of happy retreat.” As stated on the course’s website:
“The Cherokee Indians say when we show respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us. This simple yet powerful creed embodies the philosophy that brought Mirimichi to life—to honor the land and the living ecosystem that Mirimichi shares with nature.”
This is exactly what the course does. Using ecologically conscious methods, some of the features that Mirimichi offers include:
- Irrigation & drainage systems that collect, filter, and reuse rain water
- Re-circulating streams and lakes to support and conserve wildlife
- Native grasses and waste bunkers that reduce maintenance requirements
The course has also been working on providing a fleet of electric golf carts powered by solar panels, products made of recycled and biodegradable materials, and a clubhouse built to LEED standards. I’m not surprised by any of this based on the ambition, devotion, and success that JT has given to all of his other projects.
So that’s that. Just another reason to be on Team Justin. Now go out and enjoy the outdoors…maybe play a round of golf! I’ve included below JT’s speech from the 2001 EMAs, and you can check out an ESPN segment featuring Justin and his course HERE. Until next time, Bye Bye Bye.