On Saturday, California environmentalists gathered at the annual Tree Hugger’s Ball in California; this year’s theme focused on saving the state’s Santiago Canyon from a housing development.
Actress and eco-activist Daryl Hannah hosted the the event (it was her second time attending), and spoke out about the need for political unity when it comes to environmental issues.
“We can’t live without our water, soil, air and biodiversity,” she said. “We need to get off our butts and do it. We need to get together and realize we’re on the same team whether we’re blue or red, Democrat or Republican. We want to live. It’s about loving something and protecting it.”
Her stance comes as no surprise; Hannah is one of the most vocal environmentalists in Hollywood. She is involved in the making of an environmental documentary, and was arrested outside the White House last year while protesting the proposed building of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Coordinators of the ball were thrilled to have Hannah on board. “Having Daryl Hannah here is huge, she’s a global environmental figure,” said Gloria Sefton, co-founder of the Saddleback Canyons Conservancy. “It’s bringing all the things she fights for to a local level. It’s important for local citizens to get on board with what she is talking about globally. We need to get off our butts and act. Developing virgin land just can’t happen any more. We need that paradigm shift.”
In an interview at the event, Hannah explained that she was happy to attend the Ball again. She said, “I love this homemade event. It makes me feel good when I see people enjoying themselves outside and not shopping in a mall. It’s nice to see people enjoying good food, music and dressing up like fairies.”
She’s also a firm believer that everyone can — and should — help make a difference when it comes to saving the planet, and that every little bit of action helps. “We’re facing the sixth mass extinction. We’ve lost 90 percent of the big fish in the ocean; we’re losing 250 species a day. We’re in a crisis on every level. It doesn’t matter what your job is, do something to focus on the world.”
The actress also spoke about her commitment to vegetarianism; she’s been meat-free since age 7.
“I was on a trip with my parents in Wisconsin and didn’t want to go into a restaurant they went to, so they left me in the car. I was walking around the parking lot (when it was still safe to do that) and I saw this truck with a baby calf. I went over to it and kissed and hugged it through the railings. When the driver came out, I asked what the calf’s name was. He said ‘veal, tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.’ After that, I could no longer disassociate what was on my plate for the creature that it had been. It wasn’t an ethical or health choice, it was purely emotional. When you make a decision for yourself, it’s often the best decision for everything.”
For more from Hannah, including her thoughts on “nature deficit disorder” and details on her upcoming movie projects, check out the interview.