Joaquin Phoenix: The ‘Joker’ Who Wants To Save The Planet

As the rich and famous of Hollywood celebrate their successes of awards season, stars are taking their turn to use their moment in the spotlight to promote causes which are close to their heart. None more so than Joaquin Phoenix.

Having picked up four major Best Actor gongs (or variations of) for his portrayal of the title role in ‘Joker‘, the Puerto Rico-born actor has been telling the world about the importance of meat reduction.

Golden Globes goes plant-based

The vegan actor took to the stage at the Golden Globes at the start of January to praise organisers for serving a fully plant-based meal to its guests for the first time. An appetiser of chilled golden beet soup was followed by king oyster mushroom scallops, mushroom risotto, sprouts, globe carrots and pea tendrils. Dessert served up up a mouthwatering vegan opera dome with praline Gunaja crumble and caremelised hazlenuts.

“I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for recognising and acknowledging the link between animal agriculture and climate change. It sends a powerful message,” Phoenix said at the 77th Golden Globes.

Prior to the show he had shared a statement on his sister’s Instagram page stating that HFPA was showing “great leadership” in going plant-based and that it was “boldly taking measures to do its part to reduce harm” caused to the planet by intensive animal agriculture.

Finding the balance

Awards season often comes with a side serving of scepticism around those in glamour-filled industries using their position to preach about climate change, mainly due to their frequent flights and high carbon footprints. However, Phoenix is quick to admit that celebrities also “make mistakes”.

“We are all hypocrites in some ways. The industry does consume a lot of power and a lot of resources so the way to mitigate that for me is to maintain a vegan lifestyle.”

And it’s this approach which saw him be the key driver behind the HFPA serving a vegan meal.

“I think that is part of our appeal to the award ceremonies because there are so many people flying in to the awards and the cars they use – the one thing they can do is to make the meal plant-based.

In a message which Meatless Farm would stand by, Phoenix added: “We just have to try and find that balance. Nobody is perfect but we are all trying to figure it out.

“Instead of being judgemental and attacking each other, we should try to help each other and educate each other about how we can change. There are many improvements I can make in my own life and I am trying to do that.”

Offsetting carbon footprint with plant-based

A week later and Phoenix was up on stage again to take the plaudits for his performance in Joker at the Critics Choice Awards (CCA).

The awards organisation followed in the Golden Globes footsteps and chose to serve an all-plant-based menu.

Making the link between the effect of meat consumption on the planet, Phoenix said: “I would like to thank the awards for going plant-based and trying to offset our carbon footprint. I think that’s a really amazing message. I deeply appreciate that.”

More urgency required on planetary “emergency”

While Phoenix’s BAFTA-winning speech focused on ‘systemic racism’ in the film industry, he spent the previous day urging people to eat plant-based as he led an animal rights protest in London.

A banner was dropped from Tower Bridge declaring: ‘Factory farming destroys our planet. Go vegan!’.

Having been vegan since the age of three, Phoenix is no stranger to protest campaigns and animal rights. He told Sky News that there needs to be more urgency about the future of the planet.

“People are not in a panic in the way they should be. These are very dire times and so I felt like I had to do something. We have a personal responsibility to take action right now.

“One way we can mitigate climate change is by adjusting our consumption and by going plant-based,” adding that talking about meat reduction is something that’s not being talked about enough.

“This is an emergency. We have to do everything we can to try to cut down our impact on climate change.”

Fighting against inequality

True to form, Phoenix was also crowned Best Actor at the 92nd Academy Awards. He picked up an Oscar and delivered an impassioned speech about how being a film-star has enabled him to “use his voice for the voiceless” in the fight against inequality.

Touching on gender inequality, racism and animal rights, Phoenix said: “I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world.

“Many of us are guilty of an egocentric view, and we believe that we’re the centre of the universe. We go into the natural world and plunder it for its resources,” he added, touching on the dairy industry.

He urged people to embrace change for the better by taking steps to reduce our effect on the planet, animals and each other.

“We fear the idea of personal change, because we think we need to sacrifice something; to give something up. But human beings at our best are so creative and inventive, and we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment.”

Support. Education. Redemption. This Joker is serious about saving the planet.


Joaquin Phoenix: 2020 Roll Of Honour

Golden Globes – Best Performance By An Actor In a Motion Picture (Drama) – Joker

Critics’ Choice Movie Awards – Best Actor – Joker

British Academy Film Awards – Leading Actor – Joker

Screen Actors Guild Awards – Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role – Joker

Academy Awards – Actor In a Leading Role – Joker