A few days before Earth Day 2018, I had the good fortune of interviewing actor, environmentalist and humanitarian – Ian Somerhalder.
Ian is best known for his starring role as Damon Salvatore on CW’s hit television series THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. True confessions, I have never watched The Vampire Diaries! But, I have watched Ian and his wife Nikki Reed in the ground-breaking and Emmy award-winning climate change documentary series, YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY. Also, I loved Ian’s “Green Man on the street” for the Climate Reality Project and Ian’s participation in 24 Hours of Reality.
I AM A BIG Ian Somerhalder FAN.
With our Climate Mamas and Papas in mind, the first question I asked Ian was: “Did becoming a father changed your actions or commitments in any measurable or notable ways.” (Ian became a father for the first time in 2017.)
Ian’s answer: “The most notable and measurable main thing is that I recognize more honestly and clearly the sense of urgency; the sense of urgency means more to me then ever.”
Ian went on to share that he is approaching 40 and he is ever more aware of how quickly life goes and generations change and how 5 or 10 years goes so fast.
I know that I feel the very same way, and I imagine that most of our Climate Mamas and Papas feel the very same way too.
Ian stated that: “Looking from a climate perspective, quick change equal disaster and this effects us all.”
Our interview was set up so that Ian could tell us about a new initiative launched in California – Energy Upgrade California. The program’s focus is to help residents save energy, conserve natural resources, reduce demand on the energy grid and make informed energy management choices at home and work. It also is set up to help make it easier for individuals to incorporate technological advances and behavioral changes in their energy reduction plans.
Here are the 3 top things that Energy Upgrade California is promoting:
Unplug: Ian used this point to remind us about “energy vampires” (ha ha!). In fact, according to Ian, 23% of electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. So, we all DO need to be on the look out for energy vampires.
Upgrade: Upgrading to LED light bulbs will use at least 75% less energy, and last 25x longer.
Time of Use Change: Customers can cut bills if high energy devices like washing machines & dishwashers are used after 9 PM and before 5 PM.
Finally, Ian reminded us that small steps do make a difference. Moving forward and creating change as individuals and families helps empower us to demand the big government policy, actions and corporate changes that the urgency of our climate crisis requires.
Below are two questions we didn’t have time to ask Ian.
- A big focus of your foundation seems to be on youth empowerment, education and activation. As we have seen lately, young people are making their voices heard in powerful ways on gun safety and gun safe regulations, what would be your advice for young people to cut through the noise and partisanship on climate change action and use their powerful voices on climate change as well?
- Climate change will be with us for the rest of our lives, how do we encourage young people to stay motivated and involved?
- How do you stay so positive?
We’d love to learn your thoughts on all these questions. What would you like to ask Ian?