The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
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.
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."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A middle-aged married couple in China was diagnosed with pneumonic plague, a highly infectious disease similar to bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe in the middle ages, as CNN reported.
Dairy aisles have exploded with milk and milk alternative options over the past few years, and choosing the healthiest milk isn't just about the fat content.
Whether you're looking beyond cow's milk for health reasons or dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different options, you may wonder which type of milk is healthiest for you.
At least 1,688 dams across the U.S. are in such a hazardous condition that, if they fail, could force life-threatening floods on nearby homes, businesses, infrastructure or entire communities, according to an in-depth analysis of public records conducted by the the Associated Press.
By Sabrina Kessler
Far-reaching allegations about how a climate-sinning American multinational could shamelessly lie to the public about its wrongdoing mobilized a small group of New York students on a cold November morning. They stood in front of New York's Supreme Court last week to follow the unprecedented lawsuit against ExxonMobil.
By Alex Robinson
Leah Garcés used to hate poultry farmers.
The animal rights activist, who opposes factory farming, had an adversarial relationship with chicken farmers until around five years ago, when she sat down to listen to one. She met a poultry farmer called Craig Watts in rural North Carolina and learned that the problems stemming from factory farming extended beyond animal cruelty.