Leaders and Celebs Promote Programs to Preserve Environment & End Poverty

At a recent special event in NYC Angelique Kidjo, Al Gore, Rosario Dawson and Wyclef Jean joined world leaders and other celebs to support programs to preserve the environment as a means to help end poverty. Dinner and party took place Wednesday Sep. 16 at the Boathouse in Central Park. Former Fugees member Wyclef supplied the party tunes. The event was hosted by the Poverty-Environment Partnership, a network of organizations promoting U.N. goals to promote development and save the world's natural habitat. "Undermining and not understanding the environment is the problem," said Angelique Kidjo, who was born in the African country of Benin.

The singer explained that destruction of the environment creates natural disasters, leaving the poor stranded.

As guests dined, Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds announced that her country will invest $150 million in environmental protection for the poor.

The solution is not new for Scandinavian countries "who were conducting research in the early 1960s" on how poverty is affected by the environment, said Freivalds.

Media mogul Ted Turner, whose visit with leaders in North Korea last month included discussions over environmental issues, attended as a guest. "I'm only here to support the cause," Turner said.

Former Vice President Al Gore sat at a table near Turner. The president of Gambia, officials from Finland and Norway, and actresses Rosario Dawson, Sophia Bush and Kerry Washington were also in the audience.

Wyclef Jean was at the event endorsing a campaign to plant trees in areas of Haiti destroyed by Hurricane Jeanne.

Jean has also founded Yele Haiti, a nonprofit aid group that provides food and scholarships to his native country.

"Sometimes you don't have to wait for government to change before you make the change yourself," said Jean, who performed after dinner.
Story via AP