Because being awesome doesn’t have to cost the Earth…
By Rebecca Sellitti
As 2014 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect upon all the many celebrities who spent the year trying valiantly to make their carbon footprints as small as possible.
I had the distinct pleasure of writing about those superstars who, in one way or another, placed the needs of the planet ahead of his or her own. No small number of A-listers traded in their fuel-funneling Range Rovers for Teslas. Other famous folks said sayonara to sirloin and adopted an eco-friendly meatless diet.
But, there is no superstar out there who put forth more of an effort to preserve the thin layer of Earth that we live in than Vampire Diaries actor, Ian Somerhalder.
For those who mistakenly think I’m playing favorites with Ol’ Blue Eyes, I’m about to make you eat crow. The timeline that follows will prove exactly why Sir Somerhalder deserves the honor of being named 2014’s Top Global Cool Eco Saint…
Only seven days into the new year, while the rest of us were focused on shedding those extra holiday pounds, Ian was already getting down to eco business. The bodacious blood-sucker conducted an interview with the Executive Vice President of Conservation International, Greg Stone, in which the two discussed the importance of keeping our absolutely pristine and of making tuna fisheries less harmful to the environment.
The shortest month of the year marked one of the biggest achievements for The Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF). On Valentine’s Day, Mr. Smoulder himself posted this important bit of news: “Yes! It’s here! The Ian Somerhalder Foundation just launched our 1st grant program. Animal grants to help sick or injured rescues! I’m so stoked about this – so proud of this…”
February 14 will forever after be seen as the biggest Valentine’s gift ever to America’s four-legged friends.
A native of Louisiana, puppy-lover Ian traveled back to his boyhood bayou to lead the Twentieth Annual Mardi Paws Dog Parade, an event organised to draw much-needed attention to local animal charities. And while many celebs would’ve opted to travel the parade route in a motorised car, always a man of the people, the brooding Salvatore brother decided to walk the parade route with fans and furry friends right by his side!
On April 22, ‘Damon’ led an important Earth Day discussion at the University of Southern California in which the actor spoke at length about ISF and how his foundation differs from other environmental organisations in viewing young people as an as yet untapped resource.
As Mr. Somerhalder so eloquently put it: “You should use social media to create quantifiable change. If you can empower them with education, now they’re activated and they become a doer. This generation knows that, and what people and corporations aren’t realizing is that the most underutilized weapon in the world is youth — and they’re going to change the world.”
The month that Mother Nature put on her grandest show marked Ian’s debut as a correspondent for Showtime’s Emmy-award winning documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously. In the episode Ice and Brimstone, Somerhalder met with an evangelical minister whose fervent beliefs did not include climate change, and his daughter Anna, who on the contrary, had made it her life’s mission to educate fellow Christians about the very real threat of global warming.
By the end of the episode, Ian had helped to facilitate a dialogue between the preacher and his daughter, and managed to get the papa to concede that there was at least a POSSIBILITY that the earth was heating up. Great work!
Ian testified before a Congressional subcommittee on the issue of the U.S Ivory Ban in behalf of elephant conservation. Mr. Somerhalder’s passion for pachyderm perpetuity was apparent in his testimony:
“There’s really only one word that can describe the situation of elephants in the wild today; they are in crisis. The characteristics that make elephants so iconic around the world – their beauty, majesty, and power – are precisely what make them so desirable to poachers. Quite frankly, there’s no way to overstate how catastrophic the last few years have been for elephants.”
He’s definitely no ‘dumbo’ on this or any other eco-subject!
In July, Ian Somerhalder started going out with fellow earth-lover, Nikki Reed, who only seemed to further fuel Ian’s passion for preservation and conservation.
Since the two lovebirds began dating, ‘Nikkian’ (or ‘Somereed’, whichever works for you) have adopted several rescue animals together and are both working non-stop to ensure that every pet finds its forever home!
The creation of Nikkian was no accident, if you ask me. This eco-holy union was truly written in the Hollywood stars!
Took to Twitter to express his joy upon learning about the progress made at The Ian Somerhalder Foundation’s Spay-Neuter Clinic:
“WHOA-learning that our #ISF Spay/Neuter clinic prevented MILLIONS of homeless babies over a 5 yr span-MILLIONS! Excited to share what we did!”
By year’s end it was calculated that the ISF Spay-Neuter Clinic had prevented the birth of over 20 million unwanted animals who would’ve lived lives fully of cruelty and misery.
Ian promoted The Climate Reality Project and it’s 24 Hours of Reality, a movement meant to mark the beginning of 12 months of action to stop, or at least slow down, the progression of global warming.
September also saw the premiere of the environmental documentary Climate Heroes: Stories of Change, narrated by none other than The United Nations Environmental Programme Goodwill Ambassador, Ian…wait. Did I not already mention that this year Mr. Somerhalder was named a UN Goodwill Ambassador? It was KIND of a big deal.
Ian was the film’s star, and it’s no exaggeration to say that he truly embodied the essence of what a coral reef is. Ian, as the voice of Coral, explained to the viewer why it’s so very important to preserve and protect this delicate marine ecosystem.
Bravo, Ian! If you ever get tired of vamping it up, you’ll always have a job as an underwater ecosystem waiting for you!
Señor Somerhalder once again paid a visit to Louisiana, this time in order to attend a public hearing on fracking in St. Tammany Parish.
Naturally, Ian was vehemently opposed to the idea of placing fracking wells across St. Tammany and promised to do everything in his power to prevent this eco-atrocity from occurring. Sadly, life is not like the movies and there aren’t always happy endings.
The following month, Ian learned he had lost the battle. He’s not anywhere close to waving that white flag, however! Regarding the disappointing news, Ian posted: “Just found out that the Louisiana Department of natural resources issues the permit to Helis Oil to drill our aquifer to hydraulic fracture. St. Tammany Parish I am with you! We will not allow the destruction of our beautiful parish!!! I need the public behind me-please help.”
On the heels of that impassioned plea, it’s almost a given that sooner rather than later Helis Oil is gonnna be told, in no uncertain terms, to get the ‘frack’ out of St. Tammany Parish!
On December 8, the lovely Mr. Ian Somerhalder celebrated his thirty-sixth birthday (I refuse to believe this gorgeous man is a day over 25, but I’ll play along) and in lieu of gifts, asked only for donations to be made to the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.
That’s just the kind of selfless guy Ian is! It’s impossible not to love him. He’s an absolute good!
I’m not certain what 2015 has in store for Ian. An Emmy, an Oscar, perhaps even a Nobel Peace Prize. But, Smoulder isn’t in it for the accolades. He’s a man who loves Mother Earth beyond all else and I’m pleased as punch he’s out there on the front lines defending her!
Here comes the science bit…
GC articles show you one way (the one in bold) to live greener…
Image: PA Images.