Ian Somerhalder named Goodwill Ambassador for World Environment Day 2014

Ian Somerhalder Goodwill Ambassador for WED
© Margaret Badore. Ian Somerhalder and Achim Steiner at the World Environment Day celebrations in Barbados.

Today is World Environment Day, an event hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme and honored around the world by a multitude of different organizations and activities, all focused on raising awareness about protecting our environment and natural resources.

At today’s celebrations in Barbados, the UN Environment Programme named actor Ian Somerhalder the official Goodwill ambassador for this year’s events. The theme of this World Envrionment Day is small island developing nations, and Barbados served as the official host country.

Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme said Somerhalder is able to “reach people in a way that we cannot do with reports.”

Through the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, the actor is involved with raising awareness about a range of environmental issues, from plastic waste to food waste. He recently was a part of "Years of Living Dangerously," a Showtime documentary about climate change.

“Being from rural Louisiana, I spent all of my childhood completely engaged in the environment,” Somerhalder said during the designation ceremony, held at the Parliament of Barbados in Bridgetown. “When the gulf oil spill destroyed and massacred all of those bayous and waterways, I felt as if I had been attacked myself.” However, it spurred him to become an advocate for conservation.

“Today in particular, in beautiful Barbados, we celebrate World Environment Day,” he said. “The focus this year is on small island developing states, because we know that small islands are much more vulnerable to climate change, and right now we have to come up with creative solutions to adapt to those challenges.”

The slogan for this year’s event is “Raise your voice, not the sea level.” You can learn more about the event at www.unep.org/wed.

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