Amber Valletta Dishes On Her New Documentary, How She Practices Green Living & What Fashion Brands Are Doing Eco Right

AV Matt and MercusPhoto Credit: Matt and Mercus

Green is a very important color to Amber Valletta. The supermodel, actor and eco-warrior debuted her new documentary, “Reinventing Power: America’s Renewable Energy Boom,” which highlights clean energy’s true backstory by focusing on the people advancing it, in Beverly Hills Tuesday night. We caught up with Valletta before she attended the world premiere of the Sierra Club and Transit Pictures, Tony Valentino-directed film about what she learned making the film, how she personally practices green living and which fashion brands are making the chic, environmentally-friendly duds we all need to wear. 

A view of the Amazon Wind Farm in North Carolina.
A view of the Amazon Wind Farm in North Carolina.

Photo Credit: Transit Pictures/Sierra Club

Tell us how you became involved in the film.

I’ve been a Sierra Club ambassador for two years, and when they asked me to get involved, it felt like a natural fit. I grew up in Oklahoma and every weekend, I spent time at my grandparents farm. Spending so much time outdoors gave me a deep appreciation for nature. My mother was a nature lover and activist: I watched her help fight and stop a nuclear power plant from being built. The power each individual has to make change was instilled in me from a very early age and this film inspired me all over again. We’re all in this together—real people from communities across the country are working toward a brighter future for all. These stories need to be heard.

Why is sustainability and clean energy more important now than ever?

For a few reasons. From an economic standpoint, the clean energy industry can keep people working. There are 8,000 pieces in a wind turbine and every piece can be made in America… and that’s just wind. From a justice standpoint, rebuilding our energy sector allows us to really think through who is benefitting from energy and who isn’t. It’s an opportunity to bring equity to communities who have long been left out of the conservation around our energy choices. We need it now more than ever because are already feeling the effects of climate change. Investing in clean energy is the best way to fight climate change, keep the lights on and support our economy.

Did you learn anything in the making of the film? What, if so?

There’s not just one way to protect our planet. Depending on who you are and where you live, solutions come in different forms. Each of these people and businesses come from such different backgrounds, yet they’re all working towards strengthening our economy while protecting our natural resources. We don’t have to choose anymore. The solutions are here and ready!

What is the most important takeaway from this film?

Think globally, act locally. Whatever may be happening on a federal level, it is people like you and me who are driving us forward through our everyday decisions. Do what you can and also support organizations like Sierra Club. Grassroots organizing is where they are so powerful: they mobilize at the local level to stand up for people and communities in the face of very powerful interesting… and they’re winning!

Solar panel installation on a home in Missouri.

Photo Credit: Transit Pictures/Sierra Club

What personal story struck you the most and why?

Every story is special and unique. It’s really hard to pick a favorite. The story I relate to the most is the story of the native Americans from Montana. I’m from Oklahoma, and know first hand how hard it is to be an American Indian and have your land taken from you or have little means of income for the tribe. When things are good, they’re good. But when they’re bad, it’s devastating. Wind brings a steady income to a very volatile industry. This industry is already doing a lot for families where I grew up.

How do you practice green living in your own life?

I do everything I can in my personal life. I am working at educating and bringing awareness to the fashion industry about innovating our industry to be a leader in sustainability and circularity. At the moment, fashion and textile productions is the 2nd or 3rd dirtiest industry next to oil. I try to remember everything I buy or consume goes back to the planet, so make the best choices possible. I drive an electric car, use healthy products at home, shop wise, petition leaders to protect our environment and just try to be a positive role model for others. We are also working on a film to help bring awareness and educate the consumer and brands about these big issues in a fun and interesting way.

What and who is doing sustainability right in the fashion industry, and how?

There are many companies trying to become more sustainable in fashion. It is difficult and quite challenging to make shifts like this, but it’s happening. There are companies and brands like Patagonia, Stella McCartney, Target, Kerring Group, Levis, Nike and lots of smaller fashion labels who are trying to be sustainable. SVLU, Prabal Gurung, Amur, Amore Vert, Maison de Mode, Reformation are all doing really cool, contemporary clothing and work to be ethical and mindful. We still have a long way to go in fashion, but the word is out that sustainability is the coolest and most important luxury you’ll ever buy!