It’s no secret that along with portraying irresistible bloodsucker Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries, Ian Somerhalder is well-known for another pivotal role: tireless advocate for positive social change. As a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, founder of the incredible nonprofit organization ISF, and correspondent for Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously series (which explores issues of climate change), Ian is clearly a man on a mission. And what mission is that exactly? To protect the environment and all its creatures alike.
Despite having amassed legions of fans and having his handsome face splashed all over billboards, magazines, and campaigns (such as this Azzaro fragrance commercial), Ian doesn’t let allow his successes to cloud his true view of the world. He constantly educates himself on important global matters and always remembers his roots, like he did when the BP oil spill devastated the Gulf Coast and he returned to his home state of Louisiana to help out with the terrible catastrophe. Ergo, it’s no surprise that on Earth Day 2014, the former child model and talented actor is putting his fame to good use, namely to make the issue of climate change attractive to his younger fans. In fact, he will be joining Tavis Smiley on PBS to discuss the increasingly pressing issue!
“How do you make it cool? How do you make it sexy?” Ian says in reference to making an environmental documentary series appeal to younger viewers. “Well one cool thing about is that the most underdeveloped, underutilized, under-appreciated, undervalued people of the world are our youth. They make up half the population and they’re going to be running the world — so why wouldn’t we give them the tools ultimately to be able to do that?” He adds, “It all stems from a compassionate place. The biggest thing missing in life — the reason we don’t necessarily look through life in this more holistic framework — is that there’s such a lack of compassion for anything. If it takes me being a face of this one episode or component of this show to get young people watching, then so be it.”
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