Don Cheadle in Rwanda on World Environment Day, June 5, 2010. Photo: Meaghan O'Neill.
Last Saturday, June 5, United Nations Environment Programme's World Environment Day was held in thousands of places worldwide, with official celebrations taking place in the host country of Rwanda. Among the dignitaries, celebrities, and politicians in attendance was actor Don Cheadle, who was named a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador during the festivities. Already well known for his humanitarian work on issues such as Darfur and his heart-piercing portrayal of a hotel manager during the Rwandan genocide, Cheadle has added environmentalist to his list of accolades. In a sincere speech to the crowd, he spoke about taking his family on safari (and a close encounter with a rhino), how being a parent has encouraged him to care about and for the Earth, and why our political leaders need to make environmental issues priority number one. I had a chance to catch up with Cheadle during the event, which was held in conjunction with Kwita Izina, the annual Rwandan tradition of naming wild-born baby mountain gorillas. (Check out a slideshow of the event here.) In the interview below, he talks about the critical state of Africa, why we need immediate political action on conservation and global warming, the Gulf oil spill, and the role film can play in protecting our natural resources.
Actor Don Cheadle became a United Nations Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador on World Environment Day in Rwanda, June 5, 2010. Here, he talks about his relationship to nature, the Gulf oil spill, and the political will of international leaders.
Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Environmental Program, talks about why UNEP chose Don Cheadle as a Goodwill Ambassador.
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More from Rwanda and World Environment Day 2010
Dispatch from Rwanda: Saving Endangered Baby Mountain Gorillas by Naming Them on World Environment Day (Slideshow)
Dispatch from World Environment Day in Rwanda: Looking at the Biodiversity Balance Sheet
UNEP Announces Winner of WED 2010 Blogging Contest!