Ian Somerhalder: “I Plan On Having The Greenest House On The Block!” (Interview)

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When Ian Somerhalder isn’t vamping it up on the CW series hit The Vampire Diaries, he’s off saving the world. Honestly, does it get any better than that? The Louisiana native began his Ian Somerhalder Foundation back in 2010, and in a just a few years has made a huge impact on the environment and educating younger generations. Now partnered with Cree, the leader in LED lighting, Somerhalder has now taken on a more effective way to conserve energy.

During a recent chat with the actor, Somerhalder let me in on his work with Cree, the very moment he decided to create the IS Foundation, the impressive campaign he’s working on to let bullies and victims care for animals in order to stop bullying, and what he has found to be most rewarding so far.

When was that initial moment when you knew you wanted to start the IS Foundation?
IAN SOMERHALDER: I mean honestly, I’m going to turn a negative into a positive. It was ultimately the BP oil spill. I just felt so hopeless and so awfully helpless. I just realized I never want anyone to feel that helpless. I never want myself, my family or you or anyone, and that’s how it was born. Having that helpless feelings and wanting to educate and empower and ultimately activate people so that they never have to feel that way again. It’s been an amazing experience in watching this thing grow and in two and a half years we’ve basically spread to well over 100 countries and put some phenomenal amounts of energy out there.

Did any childhood experiences back in Louisiana help you shape that focus?
Well, yeah, actually a great deal of it. There’s a really delicate eco-system there that you realize there’s a really specific balance of life and nature and an impact will ultimately change that and affect it in such a way that it can be destroyed. And so that really gave me the desire to let people know that if you want change it has to be generational.

What’s been the most rewarding so far?
We did a fundraiser that was all about women’s empowerment. Which is, what is sexy and redefining it. It’s about your passion for animals and the environment and other people and that’s what’s sexy. It’s not what the hell you look like or wear, its just what you have in your heart really and your mind. And so we decided to do a burlesque show and it was called Empoweresque. It was this really awesome—it was our fundraiser. We did this huge beach cleanup with thousands of people in Santa Monica. The really cool thing is right now we’re buying a farm down in Louisiana and we’re turning it into an animal sanctuary. It ties into youth education and it’s a youth education camp. We’re going to be doing things like bully programs. Bringing bullies from all over the country and ultimately all over the world to work with the animals, the bully and the victim and the victim and the bully.

How did this latest partnership with Cree on LED lighting come about?
It actually happened really organically to be honest with you. I have a company that we founded that’s called Go Green Mobile Power and we have a LED light system that we’re using and is green. CREE comes right into that. They are a much more commercial company, but they created this light that uses 84% less energy with a 10-year warranty and now is at price point for consumers. It’s like $10 at Home Depot. That is going to change the entire consumer light game. They are shatter proof. You can touch them because there’s no heat that comes off of them. It’s amazing. I love this partnership. These people are changing the game and they’ve developed this product, which it literally is the coolest thing since the invention of the light bulb. This thing is going to change how we use light.

I bet you have the greenest house on the block.
I plan on having the greenest house on the block!

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