Earth Day and Good People


The legacy of John Muir on “American Masters.”

Earth Day is April 22, and we all will be reminded about how important it is to be eco-friendly. Many might question how just one person can have a substantial impact on our environment. So I’d like to suggest tuning in to the upcoming PBS American Masters show John Muir in the New World, premiering Monday, April 18. The film puts the spotlight on the life, influences and legacy of Muir, the Scottish-American environmental hero. It is a timely reminder of our unique and threatened eco-systems, especially in the wake of recent tragedies like the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, plus the BP oil spill.

Nearly a century after his death, John Muir is remembered and revered as the father of the environmental movement, the founder of the Sierra Club and the force behind the creation of the National Park Service. His American Masters profile has been lovingly produced, written and directed by Catherine Tatge, who filmed reenactments of Muir’s life-changing journeys throughout the majestic landscapes he visited. Audiences will see the awe-inspiring scenery of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, and the Alhambra Valley of California — also Wisconsin and the glaciers of Alaska. In honor of Earth Day, tune in.

Nowadays, there are a few more wonderful people who want help the world get a little greener. One of the most notable is Ed Begley Jr., who says, “Our planet needs your help.” On Earth Day, Begley and his wife Rachelle are supporting “Debbie Durkin’s Eco Hollywood Earth Day” event that will have celebrities gathering to tape “green wishes” public service announcements. CBS will also be taping a celebrity special called Eco Hollywood, as “Green Living” leaders join forces to spread the word about eco-technology, and eco-friendly fashions, beauty products and more. The private Debbie Durkin event is in partnership with Music Saves Lives and Green Wish.

Begley reports, “Green Wish is a grassroots non-profit charitable organization that helps local green organizations fund projects for their communities through donations at local retailers and online.” It is not surprising that Debbie Durkin, president of Durkin Entertainment, is hosting the sustainably produced event since she has taken a leadership role in the eco-friendly celebrity lounges. Kudos to Durkin for her efforts to make Hollywood a little greener.

Speaking of green, the Emerald Isle is the setting for California Artists Radio Theatre’s next production, “Drama At Inish,” which will be performed at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn on Sunday, April 17 at 1:30 p.m. Under the direction of Peggy Webber, C.A.R.T.’s cast will present the show about a seaside Irish village that is transformed when a theater troupe comes to town. Webber notes that the story is by one of Ireland’s great playwrights, Lennox Robinson, “and it’s very funny.” That sounds great.

Did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month? In recognition, every Friday throughout April, CBS chatshow The Talk will cover the subject. The Talk’s Holly Robinson Peete has a mission to spotlight the issues affecting families touched by autism. When their son RJ was diagnosed with autism in 2000 at the age of 3, Holly and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, found their world turned upside down, but decided to share their story to provide hope to other families. Through their HollyRod Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of children with autism, Holly has become an advocate for reliable education, outreach and the support of families affected by autism.

Adding to the awareness, The Help Group has been serving individuals with autism and their families since 1975. It is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive nonprofit of its kind in the U.S., serving children with special needs related to autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, ADHD, developmental delays, abuse and emotional problems. Dr. Barbara Firestone is president and CEO of The Help Group which has educational and entertainment programs offered at the new state-of-the-art autism center in Sherman Oaks. And their amazing new theater hosted a Music for Autism concert last week, featuring Brad Ellis, best known as the piano man on Glee. It was an interactive concert for individuals with autism and their families which created a joyful atmosphere for everyone in attendance. More are planed for the future. How wonderful to spread some joy and understanding.

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