At this point, we’re beginning to think that “The Vampire Diaries” star Ian Somerhalder is a superhero in disguise – it’s the only way he could possibly find time to save the world while still showing up to give Elena all those smoldering looks.
]]>mired in the extensive work of launching his own Ian Somerhalder Foundation, everyone’s favorite vampire bad-boy has added another responsibility to his plate as he teams up with Don Cheadle as spokespersons for a cause Somerhalder is hugely passionate about. “I signed on to do a huge project, me and Don Cheadle as a spokesperson, and it’s quite arguably, in all humility, one of the most important philanthropic environmental projects ever undertaken,” Somerhalder tells Zap2it. “I’m so honored to have been included.” PEW Charitable Trusts is an independent nonprofit funded by the family behind Sun Oil Company. They’ve joined forces with Conservation International – a group Somerhalder looks to for personal inspiration – along with The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund to form the Alliance for Global Conservation. Their goal is simple: to protect life on earth. “What we’ve realized is that 50% of the world’s species will basically be extinct in about 50 years due to loss of habitat, climate change, and all that sh**,” Somerhalder says, his enthusiasm for the cause. “The possibility for medical advancement that we lose there is staggering. It’s a national security threat. Clean air, clean water, and medicine is a national security issue for the United States of America.” As part of the Alliance, Somerhalder will help to build awareness for the Global Conservation Act, which “would coordinate the work of all U.S. agencies involved in international conservation and establish a national strategy for promoting conservation initiatives that strengthen global security, health and economies,” according to the bill. If Somerhalder and Cheadle seeme like an odd pairing to you, you’re not alone. “They had Don Cheadle, who is this… genius guy who is Oscar-nominated — he’s the man. At this point, he’s got the entire African Continent behind him, and really, he’s the voice that an connect to the adults,” Somerhalder explains, somewhat reverently. “They needed a youth catalyst, someone who has the ear of the youth, and after a bunch of market research they realized that I’m that guy and they came to me to do this. It’s really exciting, but it’s a daunting task.” Somerhalder won’t just be a pretty face for the PSAs — though he did shoot one on Dec. 11 in Atlanta, where “The Vampire Diaries” films. He intends to stay involved and get his hands dirty. “I’m going to Central America after we wrap. We’re going to take note of the scope of what needs to be done, and then I’m going to fly back to Washington and testify in a congressional hearing as to what’s going on,” he explains. As far as Somerhalder is concerned, he’s speaking for the youth of America. The actor, who turned 32 on Dec. 8, feels a great responsibility to represent the loyal fanbase that has rallied behind him throughout his career, but especially since “The Vampire Diaries” became a hit. “I have the best fans in the world,” he says. “These are 14, 15, 16-year-olds who are fed up and are trying to change their future. It’s about standing up for Generation Extinction and empowering people globally to make this necessary change.”