Bridgetown, Barbados, 5 June 2014 – Ian Somerhalder – an actor best known for his work on the Warner Brothers international hit TV Series, “The Vampire Diaries,” and on the ABC critically acclaimed drama “Lost” – was designated as a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador today in Bridgetown, the capital of the small island nation of Barbados where he is today attending the global celebrations of World Environment Day.
Besides his formal designation as Goodwill Ambassador today, Ian Somerhalder will be taking part in a number of celebrations of the Barbadian culture and environment.
UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner said, “Ian Somerhalder is a committed environmentalist who has the capacity to inspire millions of fans worldwide to support conservation and green living.”
“We are proud of Ian Somerhalder’s affiliation with UNEP and we look forward to his active involvement in our initiatives and campaigns. By becoming a Goodwill Ambassador, he will join the ranks of a distinguished group of UNEP supporters, the likes of Gisele Bündchen, Don Cheadle and Yaya Touré, whose work has contributed to raising awareness about the importance of environmental sustainability and green practices worldwide, ” he added.
Part of Ian’s work with UNEP for World Environment Day 2014 is a challenge that he and three other UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors have issued to the world to combat climate change.
Ian is asking his team to “Connect to Go Greener.” His specific call is for communities – including businesses, organizations, schools and individuals – to connect their resources and skills for a more sustainable, resource-efficient way of living.
“Humans are currently consuming far more than our planet can provide or sustain. We are polluting our air with carbon emissions, destroying our forests and species, and filling our seas with plastic and waste,” he said, adding: “the time is now to go greener by making choices that are good for people and the planet.”
A Louisiana native, Ian represents a new generation of dedicated environmental activists. He says that his childhood in the delicate Gulf Coast ecosystem – and the horrific disaster of Hurricane Katrina – were part of his inspiration to work with UNEP against climate change.
The Ian Somerhalder Foundation makes up a large part of Ian’s philanthropic work. For example, it distributes funds and resources towards global conservation, green energy development/deployment and educational tools, raises awareness on deforestation and supports efforts to end animal cruelty.
Ian’s climate activism also includes his work on a ground-breaking new documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously, whose nine episodes are currently running on the SHOWTIME Network.
While in Barbados, Ian will narrate a short film that shines light on climate solutions underway around the world. The video, which will be released by the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat's Momentum for Change initiative in September 2014, aims to inspire others to take similar action.