Ian Somerhalder Talks Years of Living Dangerously, Crisis Of Climate Change

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This just in: Damon Salvatore has a few other passions besides blood and Elena Gilbert.

As more Vampire Diaries fans know well, Ian Somerhalder cares more than most about the environment!

Via the Ian Somerhalder Foundation the actor is a laeding conservation activist - and he appears on tonight’s installment of the Showtime's Years f Living Dangerously to discuss those efforts and a lot more.

On “Ice and Brimstone,” Somerhalder examines two people at opposing sides of the climate change debate – a father, who doesn’t believe in climate change at all; and his daughter, who has made it her life’s work to not only educate others ,but actually do something about fixing our world and its crisis in terms of the environment.

In Years Of Living Dangerously

During a recent Vampire Diaries screening, the star shared his reaction when he was first asked to be a part of the Showtime series.

"When your manager calls and tells you that James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger are producing a show for Showtime, and they want you in it with like Don Cheadle and Matt Damon and Harrison Ford and all these people, you freak out, first of all,” he said.

“But then you realize the weight that it actually holds.”

In explaining his half of the episode (the other half focuses on journalist’s Lesley Stahl and how climate change has impacted Greenland), the actor spoke of Rick Joyner, an Evangelical Minister (pictured above with Somerhalder).

“I don’t judge him. And I actually love the guy, but he has this massive voice and platform and he doesn’t believe in climate change. He thinks it’s all a bunch of bullshit.

"So it causes you to stop and think for a second and say, ‘Okay. Well, all right, sir, let’s talk about this. So 99 out of 100 scientists say climate change is real and it’s happening and it’s man-made.’"

On the other side of the debate is his daughter, Anna Jane, who Somerhalder talks with extensively in the segment.

“She works for the Sierra Club for the Beyond Coal campaign,” the actor shared. “And she works with this amazing woman named Mary Anne Hitt, who, literally, has shut down 158 coal-fired power plants, which it the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road. That’s insane. So these people are amazing. [Joyner’s] daughter works for that organization.”

While much of the story is about their differences, it also shows just how committed to the cause some people are despite the opposition which still very much exists.

However, despite all the evidence presented during the show, Joyner still didn’t believe in global warming and Somerhalder was determined to get through to him.

“So we go and visit this guy, Bob Inglis, who is like a six-time Congressman representing the most conservative district in the whole country. And even [he] realized climate change is happening. So we sit them down together. We sit [Joyner] down with all these people, and we still can’t convince him. But he’s just an amazing guy. He’s so smart and he’s so loving and he’s so good.”

That said, Somerhalder was able to explain why he thinks Joyner feels the way he does.

“Evangelicals, which are a very giant part of this country, believe that it’s really just in God’s hands. If God wanted to fix it, he would. It is what it is. So if I dump this 20 thousand gallons of toxic waste into this river, and it goes down, and it destroys two towns, and goes in the ocean, and kills an entire coral reef, well, it’s God’s will.

"He’ll fix it. People literally believe this. And they run their companies in their districts and they raise their families this way. I’m not judging anyone, but that’s not okay.”

Somerhalder was so sure he’d get Joyner to come around, he admitted to perhaps making an error in his commitment to the show.

“I made the huge mistake of promising David Nevins (President of Showtime) and Matt Blank (CEO of Showtime) and Jerry Weintraub (Exec Producer) that I would get him to turn on camera.” Even though he may not have gotten that to happen, the actor is still committed to changing Joyner’s mind. “When the show revs up another season, we’re going to make this happen.”

That determination is paired with the same drive of the younger generation, who Somerhalder marveled at what they’re capable of and how a television series such as The Vampire Diaries.

“Because of this show…and it is the most bizarre thing. I’m humbled by it. It makes me jump up out of bed every morning. There are 100 million people in China that see every episode of The Vampire Diaries. There’s like an additional 100 million people globally that see this show. That is an absurd amount of people.

"These young people are so engaged. They are so determined…but this has been the connective tissue between bringing massive social and climate issues together to create quantifiable change and action...

"I’ve been able to go out on this world stage with the biggest leaders, whether heads of state or businesses in the world and actually help them understand how to leverage entertainment value by using social media to create quantifiable global change. It’s happening. And it’s unbelievable.”

Years of Living Dangerously airs Sundays at 10pm on Showtime.

The Vampire Diaries Season 5 airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.


Why is it that every time climate change is mentioned and it is proposed that we do something about it because it is man-made, someone brings up the story of Noah and the flood and counters with God made climate changes. This is the answer that I get every time I mention that we...the humans who inhabit this earth...should do something to combat the effects of climate change. Does anyone else have this experience???:

@ Jean Kincaid

Jean the episode with Pastor Joyner suggested the oyster fishermen were suffering due to rising CO2. But that was bogus science. I have worked promoting environmental stewardship my whole career and the issue was water management that diverts freshwater. The system no longer handles natural droughts, and the NOAA Drought task force determined that the drought was caused by natural variations. The CO2 mania is misdirected us from the real causes and the real solutions. And you are the first person I have heard who evokes Noah as a defense. Pastor Joyner demonstrated how the ideal scientist should behave. To see references to the scientific literature supporting Pastor Joyner's skepticism Read http://wattsupwiththat.com/201... One episode simply exploited human tragedy from forest fires, and was based on one study that runs contrary to most of what fire ecologists know. I have worked to promote wise environmental stewardship in the Sierra Nevada and nearly lost our university research station to a human set forest fire. To study the regions ecology we must be very aware of the true nature of forest fires and this documentary is misleading. I posted my essay on the deceptive presentation on WUWT http://wattsupwiththat.com/201...


Pastor Joyner displayed admirable qualities that scientists should emulate. Read ‘Years of Living Dangerously’: Pastor Rick Joyner Models Feynman’s Ideal Scientist! http://wattsupwiththat.com/201...


There's going to be another season of this? Surely it will air on a regular cable channel. It's been such a disaster ratings-wise for Showtime.


Just shows religious people are a bunch of nutters, resistant to scientific
reasoning, only believing in their " Book Of Stories". Religion was and will always be for the feeble minded liking to be influenced by utter makebelieve.


Just shows religious people are a bunch of nutters, resistant to scientific
reasoning, only believing in their " Book Of Stories". Religion was and will always be for the feeble minded liking to be influenced by utter makebelieve.

Sarah silva

Ian seems like a phenomenal human being! I would love to meet him one day!


One major with any zealot is they believe the end justifies the means. Wind and solar are a scam on the resource of the world, with out storage they are a joke. In one part of the show a young lady states the a wind farm produced power at a lower cost the the Colstrip plants. Well seeing that most all wind farms receive 22$ a magawatt from the government and Colstrips power cost 19$ a megawatt all plants should beagle to claim this as a fact. NO! Lair They might produce power at 18$ over the 22$ MW form the Gov but that is 40$ a MW.


Yeah the planets going to look great. To bad kids don't have enough food, people are losing their jobs and homeless people are hungry and homeless. Get a grip. Seems like a lot of these celebrities like to jump on the band wagon when real "A" listers are doing stuff. Pathetic.

@ emma

Are you stupid? Don't tell me you don't know about the disastrous effects climate change has on people!
Climate change causes hurricanes, tsunamis, drought, fires, flash floods, increased diseases like malaria, which all will cause deaths and suffering of millions of people all because first world people want to live in unsustainable ways.
Really, tell me of a cause that's not more urgent! Also, at least he's doing something to help the world! What are you doing, Emma?


I can't wait for tonights episode, starting watching this because of Ian. Fantastic Series and Ian we are so proud of You for all that You do.


We can only tell our children to"believe" the certainty of scientists not a mob of you determined "believers".
The former "believer" voting majority know that climate blame consensus was an unsustainable; "32 years of 95% certainty".
Now you know.
Get up to date; The deniers won a long time ago:
*Occupywallstreet now does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded and corporate run carbon trading stock markets ruled by politicians.
*Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).

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