Friday, December 9, 2022

Billie Eilish, Maggie Baird Honored At 32nd Annual Environmental Media Awards

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Billie Eilish and her mom Maggie Baird were recognized at the 32nd annual Environmental Media Awards in Los Angeles last night for their work with Support + Feed and the Overheated climate festival.

Over the summer, thousands of Billie Eilish fans joined the singer for the inaugural six-day Overheated climate event that took place at the O2 Arena in London. The event took its name from Eilish’s song OverHeated, but it was also an apropos nod to the current climate crisis. The event, which featured panels, brands, and performances, was co-presented along with Support + Feed, the nonprofit started by Eilish’s mom Maggie Baird that works to deliver plant-based food to communities most in need, and green music event producer, Reverb.

Eilish also featured Support + Feed along her recent world tour and has been one of a growing number of musicians committed to reducing the climate impact of touring. Eilish’s shows at venues like Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena exceeded expectations on sustainability metrics, offering guests plant-based food and achieving more than 92 percent waste diversion.

Billie Eilish on the EMA Green Carpet
Billie Eilish on the EMA Green Carpet | Photo by Jill Ettinger for Ethos

These efforts earned Eilish and Baird the Environmental Media Association (EMA) Missions in Music Award at the ceremony held in Los Angeles last night.

“It’s hard to have a party, it’s hard to dress up when you’re thinking about what’s going on all over the world,” Baird told Ethos during the event. “But I also remind myself that it’s super important to focus on the people who are doing good things and encourage that.”

For Eilish, Baird is a prime example of one of those people doing good things. “My mom has been the person that is always thinking about it, in this way that I’m just so in awe of,” Eilish said during her acceptance speech.

Billie Eilish EMA
(L-R) Billie Eilish and Maggie Baird speak onstage during the 32nd Annual EMA Awards Gala (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Environmental Media Association)

“I’m always just trying to do what I think my mom would want me to do, and she’s always thinking ahead and cares so much about the world and people and animals and beings. I love my mom, and she’s really the reason that I give a fuck,” the singer said.

Baird came to the podium with Frances Moore Lappé’s seminal 1971 book, Diet for a Small Planet, in her hands. “[W]e’ve been incredibly slow to address the disaster which is animal agriculture,” she said.

“And it’s time—we don’t have any time left.” Baird, who raised Eilish and her brother Finneas vegetarian, said plant-based food is not the only solution to climate change, but that “there’s no solution without it.” Animal agriculture is responsible for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a leading cause of deforestation, biodiversity loss, wastewater, and pollution.

Maggie Baird on the EMA Green Carpet
Maggie Baird on the EMA Green Carpet | Photo by Jill Ettinger for Ethos

The night, co-hosted by the former Just Shoot Me co-stars Wendie Malick and David Spade, who also co-hosted 22 years ago, put an emphasis on EMA’s new Gen-Z Activist Board members. The young leaders helped present awards throughout the evening. Baird and Eilish were honored by Board chair Wanjiku “Wawa” Gatheru and board member Isaias Hernandez, both of whom also participated in the Overheated event.

“The impact this year was so wonderful because we had so many young activists who just cut through all the bullshit,” Malick told Ethos. “It’s really wonderful to see because we try to be diplomatic and they’re saying ‘you know what, we’re running out of time. You guys have really screwed up and we need to make a change here, and you’ve got to help us.'”

EMA board member and Twilight star Nikki Reed was the EMA Innovator Award recipient for BaYou With Love, her sustainable lifestyle and jewelry brand.

“Change takes commitment, but it’s time to knock it down — every door, every business, every home,” Reed said during her acceptance speech. “If there isn’t a triple ‘P’ built-in—planet, people, profit—it can go, every business model can go.”

Other honorees for the evening included the Oscar-nominated Adam McKay-directed feature film Don’t Look Up, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, and Meryl Streep; comedy series Abbott Elementary; drama series Yellowstone; children’s television show Kid Correspondent; documentary film Eating Our Way to Extinction; documentary series, America the Beautiful; reality television series, Bill Nye’s The End Is Nye; and for variety television, The Problem With Jon Stewart.

don't look up
Courtesy Don’t Look Up

Upcycled and recycled fashion were also on the green carpet; presenter and EMA board member Lance Bass wore rhinestone-studded Prada shoes borrowed from his husband. Baird’s skirt was a retooled custom Benedetti Life piece made from Tencel that she wore earlier this year to the Oscars. Eilish re-wore a silky Gucci brocade trousers and top that she debuted in 2020 at the Billboard Awards.

During her speech, Eilish touched on the fashion industry and the need to make bigger changes. The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters and a leading cause of wastewater. It’s also an industry rife with humanitarian and labor issues. Eilish’s recent collaborations include Nike; the pair is dropping a new co-branded collection next week. Last year, she partnered with Oscar de la Renta, which agreed to completely drop fur from its designs when the singer wore the label’s dress to the 2021 Met Gala.

“I feel that people aren’t thinking about it as much as I want them to, especially when I work with brands and we make things—and just the fashion industry, which I’m such a big fan of and really involved with,” Eilish said. “It’s just horribly upsetting the way people aren’t really thinking about [climate change] first.”

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