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It was, in fact, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in fall 2010 that prompted him to take matters into his own hands. In turn, the Louisiana native founded the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF), which “aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures,” on his 32nd birthday later that year.
“I realized as an adult it’s not me, or you, or anyone running this camera or anyone sitting in this room who is going to actively make people change their minds, it’s going to take a generation,” Somerhalder told The Hollywood Reporter when he dropped by the THR Covers Lounge. “The only way to do that is with the youth of the world.”
The active Twitter user, with nearly 2 million followers, honed in on young people and social media as being keys to moving forward. If you “empower them with information,that is your change. That is the beauty of social media now,” he said.
But it was seeing nature be negatively affected that gave Somerhalder an urgency to create the philanthropic organization.
“The feeling of helplessness, watching the most beautiful body of water in the world — literally my backyard — be completely destroyed, possibly forever. It can never happen again,” Somerhalder said.
ISF is planning a clean-up campaign called “Let’s Get Dirty” and will hold a benefit Saturday evening.
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