Yesterday in Rome, accompanied by my wife and artist Sibylle, we had the honor of briefly meeting with Pope Francis outside the Vatican.
Pope Francis has been an unlikely but vital voice in pushing the world to come to terms with our urgent need to protect and care for our planet, and all the miracles of life within it.
His moving encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home is written with practical resolve to act quickly and compassionately to protect everyone in the human race.
Sibylle and I are also personally inspired by his challenge to alter our inner spiritual relationship to the world around us; something so essential and sadly lost in today’s Modern World. …
Originally Published November 26, 2019 on NBC.com’s THINK Blog
We’re up against a crisis I never thought I’d see in my lifetime: a dictator-like attack by President Donald Trump on everything this country stands for. As last week’s impeachment hearings made clear, our shared tolerance and respect for the truth, our sacred rule of law, our essential freedom of the press and our precious freedoms of speech — all have been threatened by a single man.
It’s time for Trump to go — along with those in Congress who have chosen party loyalty over their oath to “solemnly affirm” their support for the Constitution of the United States. …
Originally Published November 8, 2019 CNN
Earlier this week, Donald Trump notified the United Nations of his intention to pull America out of the most significant climate effort in history, the now-famous Paris Accord. It’s a decision that has shocked millions with its short-sighted foolishness. That he chose to do this on the first day he could legally do so under the UN’s rules for withdrawal simply reveals his immoral dedication to isolating us from the world community by willfully ignoring the biggest, most urgent threat facing human civilization.
Now begins a possible one-year extrication countdown that could become final on November 4, 2020 — just one day after Americans decide whether to grant Trump another four years in office, or to hand the reins of government over to someone else (I’m rooting for the latter). …
Originally Published September 24, 2019 San Francisco Chronicle
John Muir came to San Francisco in l868. He stayed just a day. He wanted to go “somewhere wild,” and he took a couple of weeks and walked from the city to Yosemite. He fell in love with what he called California’s “range of light.” About a hundred years later, when I was a young actor, I took a couple of weeks and walked from San Francisco to Big Sur. I fell in love with California’s nature, too.
I’ve tried to be an environmental activist ever since.
A few years ago, I had the honor of narrating an Emmy Award-winning television series about the history of San Francisco Bay. Making that four-hour series taught me a lot. We had beautiful footage of the beauty and diversity of the wildlife that live around the bay. We told the history, from the Gold Rush days when the bay was filled with abandoned sailboats. We included the booming development and the filling of the bay. In the 1950s, the developers had bay fill plans that would have turned the bay into just a broad river. …
Originally Published September 26, 2019 The Washington Post
The real star of my 1992 movie, “A River Runs Through It,” was not supposed to be Brad Pitt. It was supposed to be Montana’s iconic Big Blackfoot River, which starts as a watery thread up near the Continental Divide and runs down to its confluence with the Clark Fork near Missoula, about 75 miles west. The Blackfoot was so badly degraded by decades of gold mining and logging waste, though, we shot the film instead mostly on the Gallatin River 200 miles away.
Today, the Blackfoot is on the mend, thanks to state and local action grounded in common-sense federal protections for clean water in our rivers, lakes, estuaries and bays. …
There seems to be an ill wind blowing, all around. A light in our country that rapidly began to fade the moment Trump entered the picture.
There are other leaders to blame, but none more than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He is stuck in an ideology of the past, narrow minded and bigoted, yet he is still in office, well past his expiration date.
The tables are turning on McConnell — giving us a chance to express what we have longed to say: that we as a country have no moral leadership. How can America go forward without a moral compass?
Voting him out now, would allow as Dylan Thomas said … rage, rage, against the dying of the light.
Today, I am cheering on tens of thousands of young people taking a hard stand against policies that have failed their generation time and time again. Tomorrow, they are rising up in coordinated protest and taking to the streets to demand change.
I share their feelings.
Though there were those in my generation — scientists, activists, and leaders — who tirelessly tried to sound the warning call for over 50 years, we couldn’t provoke the changes needed.
I’ve been an environmental advocate for more than four decades, speaking out on the urgency to take action on climate change.
The science surrounding climate change is clear. Humans are causing it. And after 40 years, climate change is finally being recognized as the single greatest environmental crisis and global challenge of our era.
While I have been speaking out for 40 years, this moment in time is what brought me to Paris this week.
Thank you Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, Ministers, ladies and gentleman, and fellow citizens.
I am here today as an environmental advocate, but also a father, grandfather, and a concerned citizen — one of billions around the world who are urging you, to take action now on climate change.
I am an actor by trade, but I’m an activist by nature. Someone who has always believed that we must find the balance between what we develop for our survival, and what we preserve for our survival.
Your mission is as simple as it is daunting: Save the world before it’s too late. …