By Jen Stevens Nowadays, more and more organizations and foundations are popping up when it comes to creating a sustainable future for our planet. One organization caught my attention recently as its mission encourages a selfless spirit to nurture and protect the earth and inspires one to promote environmental knowledge. The Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) is a nonprofit whose mission is to empower, educa te and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and the creatures that inhabit it. Recognize that name? Somerhalder plays Damon Salvatore on the hit CW show, “The Vampire Diaries.” And we can’t forget his memorable role on “Lost” as Boone Carlyle. Somerhalder and ISF Executive Director Kim Klingler were gracious enough to take some time to answer a few of my questions so I was able to find out all about the organization which started shortly after the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “I’ve always been passionate about the environment and its creatures,” said Somerhalder. “But what really tipped the scales for me was the oil spill in the Gulf. The unimaginable devastation to my own backyard had a massive impact on my personal urgency to find a way to make a change.” As the devastation in the Gulf continued, Somerhalder came across like-minded individuals to collaborate with and soon ISF evolved. The foundation focuses on a number of different environmental areas, but is extra focused on educating youth. “ISF is extremely passionate about the empowerment and education of our youth,” said Klingler. “ISF believes in engaging youth and their passions for the environment because they can and will make a difference when given the credibility and resources to see their visions through.” “The amount of positive change enacted by ISF finds a way to genuinely inspire and invigorate me every single day,” said Somerhalder. “Using social media resources like Twitter and Facebook, the ISF family and I have found ways to mobilize ideas and strategies without leaving whatever city, state or country you represent within ISF.” Not only does he live “green” through the organization, but on a daily basis Somerhalder does everything he can to preserve the environment. “While my home is equipped with reusable water bottles, grocery bags and an array of biodegradable and eco-friendly products, it’s really in my consumer choices that I find the most power in preserving the environment,” he said. “Every time I purchase something, I always stop and truly consider whether or not this product reflects the change I want to see.” Somerhalder also does simple things like monitoring his daily habits while at home. “Just turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth is enormous when you consider that, on average, the tap puts out four gallons of water a minute.” Courtesy of: To volunteer with ISF, e-mail a description of your strengths and passions so they can match you and see where you can make the best positive change through the organization.

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