Tod Brilliant, Celebrity Activist


But you say you haven’t heard of Tod Brilliant? Well, neither had I until yesterday. Nonetheless, Tod has not let name recognition get in the way, and simply chose to declare himself a celebrity (damn — wish I’d thought of that!). Now, you’re probably thinking “another self-promoting as**ole pulling a stunt to get his name in the news,” but in this case you’d be wrong. Rather, Brilliant’s engaging in an experiment to study the nature of celebrity, and, particularly, why some folks like, let’s say, Paris Hilton become famous for doing… well, nothing, while people like the Earth Policy Institute‘s Lester Brown devote their life to critical work while receiving little credit or attention outside the circle of others interested in that work. Brilliant plans to use his new-found status to promote Brown’s work:

Brilliant’s first post-fame project will promote the work of Earth Policy Institute and World Watch Institute founder Lester R. Brown. Specifically Brilliant will seek to deliver Brown’s latest book, Β“Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet in Stress and a Civilization in TroubleΒ”, to anyone requesting a copy. Brilliant finds this book to be a realistic blueprint for battling many of the immediate global crises, including HIV/AIDS, poverty, food and water shortages, education and energy concerns.

While many (ok, probably not many yet) may write Brilliant’s strategy off as bizarre, he has attracted one person’s attention: Lester Brown. They will partner to distribute copies of Plan B 2.0, and to create a documentary film about it. You can follow the developments of this project on Tod’s site, as well as read his growing collection of press releases — celebrities have got to have those, after all…

As another celebrity activist, Bono, once said, “Fuc*in’ brilliant…” He had no idea…

PS: Lester Brown’s certainly a celebrity to treehuggers, so we’re really glad to have him on board writing a biweekly column at Treehugger. Come take a look at his first offering

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