Hollywood Joins Politicians, Artists and Environmentalists in Hard-hitting UN Campaign to Combat Climate Change

by Joanna Benn

Climate change is here and threatens us all. That's the message from Hollywood actors, film directors, environmentalists and politicians in a new UN public service announcement series:

With less than 80 days to go until the crucial UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen, there is no time to lose in getting the message out.

The series is aimed a promoting public awareness and catalyzing action at the highest and humblest level to boost the prospects for a wide-ranging and transformative agreement in December's meeting.

Jeffrey Nachmanoff, co-writer of blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, an apocalypic science fiction film that depicts catastrophic effects of climate change has directed the series which urges viewers to sign the Climate Petition (www.sealthedeal2009.org)

Speaking about the project, Jeffrey Nachmanoff said: “Climate change is such a pervasive and persistent challenge that it's difficult to get people to focus on it constructively. The Copenhagen conference represents a specific moment in time, and is an opportunity for action. My hope is that this campaign will encourage people to increase public pressure on world leaders to seize that opportunity."

The videos feature President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives; Don Cheadle -Hollywood actor, film producer and author, Professor Wangari Maathai - Nobel Peace Prize Winner; Midori Goto - UN Messenger of Peace; Phillipe Cousteau - Animal Planet presenter and environmentalist; Saba Douglas-Hamilton – wildlife film maker.

The featured personalities said:

The Honourable Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives: "For the Maldives, climate change is no vague or distant irritation, but a clear and present danger. And what happens to the Maldives today happens to the rest of the world tomorrow. That’s why the Maldives is slashing emissions by shifting from foreign oil to renewable energy, aiming to become carbon neutral in a decade. It's time we all Seal the Deal!”

Midori Goto, UN Messenger of Peace: "I am happy to add my voice to those who are concerned about climate change, and I am extremely excited by the opportunities implicit in the commitment of the newly-appointed Prime Minister of Japan, Yukio Hatoyama. He and his government are advocating a substantial decrease in emissions. We can act together to bring meaningful changes to our lives and to our environment. Let's sign the climate petition and let our voices be heard."

Professor Wangari Maathai, Founder of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel Peace Prize winner: “Climate change is a matter of life and death. Something very serious is happening. Africans - and especially African women - will suffer most from climate change. It’s time to Seal the Deal! in Copenhagen."

Phillipe Cousteau, CEO EarthEcho International, Animal Planet host and environmentalist: “I’ve spent my life working to educate people about our environment and about how human actions have had a catastrophic effect on our planet. Now we have the chance to take action to make a positive difference and correct some of the damage caused in Copenhagen. It’s time to Seal the Deal!”

Saba Douglas-Hamilton, BBC wildlife presenter and conservationist: "For me it took a trip to the high Arctic filming polar bears to understand what was going on in my own back yard. In Kenya, we live or die by the grace of the Monsoon and when the rains fail, as they have this year, we suffer terrible drought. Climate change is the great leveler. No matter who or what you are - rich or poor, human or amphibian - it will affect us all. I want to be able to tell my daughter with an open heart that I tried to make a difference when I could. Help us Seal the Deal."

Joanna Benn is an information officer with UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme)

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