Quantcast
Climate

Don Cheadle: 'Climate Change Is Real and We Must Act'

By Eric Pooley

In the studio of a Los Angeles radio station, host Tina Mastramico was kicking off another edition of her show Celebrity Chat. "We're here with Don Cheadle," she said, "to discuss the Environmental Defense Fund [EDF], his new movie."

Cheadle, the actor-director and climate activist, seemed taken aback. "Um, EDF isn't a movie. It's an organization that helps protect the planet."

Environmental Defense Fund

"Oooh … like an alliance of superheroes?"

Cheadle chuckled. "Sort of. They've found ways for both parties in Washington to make our air and water cleaner, and the products in our home safer."

"Interesting plot," Mastramico replied.

"It's not a movie."

It wasn't a radio interview, either. Cheadle and Mastramico were taping a public service announcement for EDF at KSWD, a Southern California classic rock station that's part of the Entercom radio network.

The nation's fourth-largest radio broadcasting company, Entercom Communications had given us a generous gift of free airtime on its network, which includes 124 stations in 25 markets around the U.S. (Our thanks to Entercom and all of the great people there who made this happen!)

The PSAs began airing across the network Thursday.

A Witness to the Impacts of Climate Change

We needed a celebrity voice and reached out to Cheadle who donated his time and talent to help more people learn about our work. (Thank you, Don!)

We'd long admired his own work in films from Boogie Nights to Miles Ahead and we also admired his stance on climate change, an issue highlighted in the new radio campaign.

As an on-air correspondent for the television news magazine Years of Living Dangerously, for example, Cheadle explored with great sensitivity how the people of Plainview, Texas, were coping with the crippling drought that shut down the town's biggest employer.

The show's second season, on the National Geographic channel, begins in October and will include a segment about EDF's climate work in China.

Cheadle told me that he'd first noticed the impacts of a changing climate during his high school years in Denver, "when we could only water our lawns on certain days because of the water shortage."

"I have been watching the steady increase in the effects of climate change ever since," he said. "I'm happy to have thrown my lot in with organizations like United Nations Environment Program, EDF and the Citizens Climate Lobby, as well as the people behind Years of Living Dangerously ... to wake people up and raise the alarm. Climate change is real and we must act."

'Hope Without Action Isn't Worth Much'

For Cheadle, there's a strong connection between acting and taking action.

His Oscar-nominated role in Hotel Rwanda, the true story of a Hutu hotel manager who saved Tutsi refugees from genocide, led Cheadle to become a leader in the campaign to end genocide in Darfur and Sudan.

And his work on Years of Living Dangerously, he said, "expanded my horizons with regard to climate and continues to open my eyes and introduce me to more soldiers in this fight."

I asked Cheadle how he stays hopeful while chronicling the harsh impacts of climate change.

"I do have hope," he replied, "but hope without action isn't worth much. We need leadership and follow-through. EDF is providing a blueprint. Let's all execute."

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
Joshua Tree National Park now has more unsafe ozone days than New York City. atramos / CC BY 2.0

Air Pollution in National Parks as Bad as 20 Largest U.S. Cities

A new study shows the importance of clean air regulations to prevent air pollution from reaching national parks.

A study published in Science Advances Wednesday found that, between 1990 and 2014, the ozone concentrations in 33 of the largest and most visited national parks were statistically indistinguishable from the ozone concentrations in the 20 largest U.S. cities.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Emilie Chen / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Against All Odds, Mountain Gorilla Numbers Are on the Rise

By Jason Bittel

The news coming out of East Africa's Virunga Mountains these days would have made the late (and legendary) conservationist Dian Fossey very happy. According to the most recent census, the mountain gorillas introduced to the world in Gorillas in the Mist, Fossey's book and the film about her work, have grown their ranks from 480 animals in 2010 to 604 as of June 2016. Add another couple hundred apes living in scattered habitats to the south, and their population as a whole totals more than 1,000. Believe it or not, this makes the mountain gorilla subspecies the only great apes known to be increasing in number.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Halliburton getting ready to frack in the Bakken formation, which underlies North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Joshua Doubek / CC BY-SA 3.0

Zinke’s Real Estate Deal With Halliburton Chair to Be Investigated

Ousted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt isn't the only polluter-friendly Trump appointee with sketchy ethics.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
"From 1992 to 2016, heat killed 783 workers in the U.S. and seriously injured nearly 70,000, according to a new report on heat risks." InsideClimateNews / USDA

Protect Workers From Extreme Heat, Advocates Urge OSHA

A broad coalition of worker advocacy, public health and environmental groups on Tuesday called on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create a workplace standard for heat stress.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Tjeerd Wiersma from Amsterdam, The Netherlands / CC BY 2.0

How Coca-Cola and Climate Change Created a Public Health Crisis in a Mexican Town

A lack of drinking water and a surplus of Coca-Cola are causing a public health crisis in the Mexican town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Some neighborhoods in the town only get running water a few times a week, so residents turn to soda, drinking more than half a gallon a day on average.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Plastic trash isn't safe for kids, whether human or bear. Kevin Morgans Wildlife Photography

Even Polar Bear Cubs Can’t Escape Plastic Pollution

By Allison Guy

Plastic bags are often stamped with an all-caps warning: This bag is not a toy. Unfortunately, polar bear moms don't have much control over their kids' playthings.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Insights
Sea level rise is a natural consequence of the warming of our planet. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

We Can’t Hide From Global Warming’s Consequences

Over the past few months, heat records have broken worldwide.

In early July, the temperature in Ouargla, Algeria, reached 51.3°C (124.34°F), the highest ever recorded in Africa! Temperatures in the eastern and southwestern U.S. and southeastern Canada have also hit record highs. In Montreal, people sweltered under temperatures of 36.6°C (97.88°F), the highest ever recorded there, as well as record-breaking extreme midnight heat and humidity, an unpleasant experience shared by people in Ottawa. Dozens of people have died from heat-related causes in Quebec alone.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Stacey_newman / Getty Images

More Than a Third of Schools Tested Have ‘Elevated Levels’ of Lead in Drinking Water

A troubling new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that more than a third of the nation's schools that tested their water for lead found "elevated levels" of the neurotoxin. But despite heightened concern in recent years about lead in drinking water, more than 40 percent of schools surveyed conducted no lead testing in 2016.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!