Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson Support Oceana Amid Climate Disasters – The Hollywood Reporter

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Oceana celebrated its fifth annual Rock Under the Stars event on Saturday night, highlighting ocean conservation with support from Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Mary Steenburgen, Sam Waterston and headlining performer Gladys Knight.

The event, held at the Los Angeles home of Oceana board president Keith Addis and wife Keri Selig, had a particularly urgent message when tied with climate change, especially via this summer’s extreme heat and the Maui wildfires that have recently ravaged the island.

“We do what we do because things are going to be getting worse and worse,” Danson, an Oceana board member, told The Hollywood Reporter. “One of the reasons we keep doing what we’re doing is with climate change, the waters are heating, the fish are swimming north, corals are dying, so we feel an urgency to make sure we manage the fisheries that are going so stressed out. If they’re being fished at the limit, the stock’s going to crash. Climate change can undo literally everything — 100 degrees off of Florida [this summer]. We’re here, this is not a warning.”

Danson has been involved in ocean conversation for the last 40 years, starting when “it was the third, fourth year of Cheers and I was being paid a lot of money and I thought, ‘I need to be responsible in some way,’” he said. Oceana has protected nearly 4 million square miles of ocean habitat, fighting against overfishing, habitat destruction, oil and plastic pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles, whales and sharks. “The more you learn, the more you realize what’s at stake and that it is solvable, but it’s a heavy lift unless we all do it together,” the actor said of protecting the sea, though his outlook on the climate change fight is a little different.

“This is my two cents — it almost feels like yes, let’s keep fighting climate change, obviously, but I’m tired. I don’t want to convince anybody anymore who doesn’t believe in it,” Danson continued. “I will have a conversation with them that goes like, ‘Alright, forget what you call it, how can we help you when your neighborhood floods? What do we do now, because this is going to be happening, whether you believe it or not. How do we help you with your forest fires and your drought? How do we mitigate what’s already happening?’”

Despite that, Danson added, “I don’t have hope that it’s going to be a rosy reversal and all of that. I think there’s some very serious consequences of us not paying attention as a world are upon us. You always have to have hope — what are you doing to do, sit around and be pessimistic until you die? No, you be hopeful, you be helpful, you try to nurture and educate people, and do the best you can.”

Waterston, board chair of Oceana, also referenced some of the recent natural disasters, noting, “The message of the weather that we’ve all been having is hurry up; it’s not give up, it’s hurry up. And what Oceana has developed is a method and a strategy to get practical results one after another after another, pile them on top of each other after 20 years, and lo and behold, you’ve made a gigantic change in what is 70 percent of the earth’s surface and therefore you’ve made a gigantic change for life in general.”

Inside the event, Harrelson, Steenburgen, Ed Begley Jr. and Tommy Chong mingled over an A-list L.A. restaurant spread from A.O.C., Tacos 1986, Prince Street Pizza, Slab BBQ, The Rose Venice, Bakery by the Yard and Shappy Pretzel Co., as Knight took the stage for an hourlong set (after stepping in for original headliners the Blues Brothers, who had to withdraw due to SAG-AFTRA strike rules).

Before the performance, Addis told the crowd, “This is a challenging time for oceans and it’s a very challenging time for the planet. You don’t have to look far to find out what’s happening with the fires, the terrible tragedy in Lahaina; everywhere you look, the 100 degree water in the Caribbean. It’s all hands on deck now.”

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