Celebrities Help Larry King Raise Money and Awareness for Gulf

Larry King and his CNN colleagues hosted a star-studded telethon for the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, June 21, 2010 that raised a couple million dollars and public awareness.  This two-hour special featured interviews with a range of celebrities, as well as citizens from the gulf region.  I found the transcript from this show and selected what seem to be the most informative and inspirational comments.  Find out why we all should contribute money, time and other resources to help our gulf. This BLOG post also includes some pix of the people who appeared on the show. 
Click the link below to learn .

Disaster in the Gulf: How You Can Help

LARRY KING, HOST, “LARRY KING LIVE”: Tonight: the environmental catastrophe that threatens our country, our neighbors, our way of life.   This is a call to action. Why now? Because they need us now, a two-hour “LARRY KING LIVE” special: “Disaster in the Gulf: How You Can Help.”  Now, you are directly helping three causes tonight, the United Way, the Nature Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation. The choice is yours. These organizations will see to it that those who need it most will get your contributions pronto.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, “ANDERSON COOPER 360”: Well, Larry, I think a lot of people are falling through the cracks here.  We all think “BP is footing the bill for this thing.”  But as we have been reporting now for weeks, they have been very slow in the process. The U.S. government now has created this $20 billion fund that’s going to be managed by a third party. But there’s a lot of people in need right now.  More people have been calling looking for help buying groceries, just getting through the day, getting through each week while they wait for BP.  You know, it’s been an eye-opener for a lot of people who are living here. They thought a big company like this would be able to handle something like this, get checks to people in need. But it’s not happening in a timely manner, as we have been seeing.

SOLEDAD O’BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of uncertainty, people very, very worried about what this is going to mean for their livelihoods and for the livelihoods of their children. In some cases, young people are dropping out of school to help their parents navigate the system.  I’m in a place where there are a number of Vietnamese fishermen, where the African-American fishermen got their start in the late 1700s. So, there’s tremendous pride here. Big problem they have is trying to keep the oil from hitting the shore.

PHILIPPE COUSTEAU, GRANDSON OF CAPTAIN JACQUES-YVES COUSTEAU: There’s no income coming for them.  It’s not just the fishermen. It’s the mom-and-pop grocery stores. It’s the hotels. It’s the tourism industry that suffered. It’s tens of thousands of people. This is a human tragedy. And people lost their jobs weeks ago and can’t wait for this escrow fund to come into action in a couple months or a couple weeks for legitimate claims.  And the environment, too — the NGOs that are on the ground mobilizing volunteers, doing the scientific research, baseline studies right now aren’t getting funding for that.

When we look at the Gulf, certainly on a national scale, this is a heritage issue. This is a critical habitat for this country, for our economy, for seafood. But not only that, I was just walking along the beach in Alabama and I saw a young lady, beaches are closed, they can’t go in the water, standing out, looking over the water and she turned to her mother and said “Why can’t I get in the water?”  I think that’s a question that we have to ask all of us. This is part of a bigger problem that we need to face in this country. … This affects all of us around the world.  I think he would have been horrified and saddened by this, because at the end of the day, this is a symptom of a bigger problem, our dependence on fossil fuels. We just refuse to get off. I think that we have to remember that all of us have a role to play, both tonight in helping this — ease the suffering from the short-term catastrophe that’s so necessary.

DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR, HEALER AND GURU: We have to recognize that the oceans are our circulation. They’re not only the circulation of the planet and 70 percent of the planet is ocean. We call it planet earth, but it’s planet ocean, recycles as our own circulation. What we do to it, we do to ourselves.  So what you’ve done today is remarkable because you’ve harnessed the collective compassion, the collective intelligence.

On LinkedIn, we have a special site called “collective creativity group.” And what we are saying to people is “Raise money, but raise ideas as well because there’s so much creativity, so much love, so much compassion. We harness that globally through CNN, through Facebook, through Twitter, through LinkedIn.

We have to look at long-term solutions.  Our planet is sick. Our ocean is sick. We need a Manhattan-like project right now. Emergency to heal the planet.  Let us come together collectively to create more proactive solutions and innovations to prevent these problems.  And, in the meanwhile, make donations to these three organizations.

TIM MCGRAW, MUSICIAN: I grew up in North Louisiana, but I spent a lot of summers down in South Louisiana and spent some time on Grand Isle as a kid catching crabs.  And, you know, it’s devastating. It’s such a beautiful part of the country, an important part of the country. The seafood there, the people, the culture, it’s just something that is just a fantastic place. Anybody that’s ever been down there will tell you that it’s some of the finest people you will ever meet down in South Louisiana. And they will give you their shirt off their back.  And they’re in trouble. It’s different when, you know, you have hurricanes and you’re used to hurricanes, and you can’t stop a hurricane. But you can stop something like this from happening. When something that’s manmade happens like this, it’s just — psychologically, it’s got such a terrible impact on a community.  And it’s just so devastating to see this happen. And generations and generations and generations of people have made their living on the Gulf there. It’s — it’s just heartbreaking.

FAITH HILL, MUSICIAN: I was raised in Star, Mississippi. That’s a couple of hours from the coast. My parents are still in Star. My oldest brother is there.  But we spent a lot of our childhood on the coast of Mississippi, Alabama and Pensacola, that entire area, Pensacola, Destin — Louisiana, all of it. We have been down the entire coastline.  And it’s heartbreaking. It’s more than heartbreaking. It’s life-changing. And we just thank you so much for hosting this special tonight and this telethon to bring in more awareness and money, because I know there’s a lot — a lot of people who need just the bare necessities to get by on a day-to-day basis down there right now.

STING SINGING “FRAGILE”: I want to dedicate this next song to all the people in the gulf who have lost their livelihoods because of this terrible oil spill. All the animals, all the birds we’re losing, and to remember that our ecology is very fragile. And without an ecosystem there are no economics. There’s nothing left.

If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one,
Drying in the color of the evening sun.
Tomorrow’s rain will wash the stains away.
But something in our minds will always stay.
On and on the rain will fall.

Perhaps this final act was meant to clinch a lifetime’s argument.
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could.
For all those born beneath an angry star,
Lest we forget how fragile we are.

On and on the rain will fall like tears from a star like tears from a star.
On and on the rain will say how fragile we are, how fragile we are.

LENNY KRAVITZ, SINGER: It’s emotionally difficult because I know so many of the people down here. I’ve been coming down here for 17 years, and I know a lot of these people firsthand. People that work on shrimp boats. That own boats. That fish for their living. I’ve sat down with people that have lost everything.  Their families are trying to figure out what to do. And you see and you feel the sadness and it’s hard down here. It’s really hard down here right now.

CAMERON DIAZ, ACTRESS: We keep hearing the oil disaster spill in the gulf never should have happened. But it did. And seeing what’s going on there makes me sad and mad and sick at heart. And I know that you feel that way, too. So I am asking you to take those feelings and act on them. Do something to help the gulf right now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But right now.  Make a donation to this telethon. Volunteer your time to environmental or community service. Start making a change in the way you live. What you buy. What you drive, what you eat. You can make a difference. You can help prevent a terrible tragedy like this from ever happening again. But you can’t just sit there. You’ve got to do something. I’m going to say thanks to you in advance because I know that you will.

CHELSEA HANDLER, COMEDIAN: I just got a whole history on the Gulf. And a man from Florida called in telling me all about his animals and what’s going on down there and how scared everybody is. So, this is a good thing we’re all doing. Everybody is chipping in. … It’s really so upsetting to everybody, you know, because a lot of — that comes into effect after the fact. Everybody now is thinking about the animals and it’s really scary.  We have to think about the animals out there. Everybody needs to be thinking about animals.

VICTORIA PRINCIPAL, ACTRESS: People are reaching out from all over the world and saying that’s the one bright spot in this, is we’re waking up. We’re all connected. We all live on this planet. If this is happening there, it affects all of us because we’re all in pass. … This money is going to go to help not only what is happening but what may happen. But, once again, we all need to realize that we can’t point the finger right now and waste time doing that. We need to act now. There will be years, decades, centuries to look back.

SAMMY TRAMMELL, ACTOR (True Blood): I don’t know if anybody has talked about this, but we’re losing about a football field every 38 minutes of wetlands just every day.  The Mississippi used to flood and release sediment there, but the levees have kind of built it up. And the oil is now going in and killing the grass. And I think a lot of people are concerned about that, obviously, because that’s holding what sediment there is now.

ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR: I think it was avoidable.  … There was enough along the road that countered their point about we’re safe. We’ve got it all figured out. It’s going to work. So now we get to a place where they don’t know what to do because they weren’t prepared. They took shortcuts because I think money — profits drive the decision-make with that company. So it was predictable they’d take shortcuts to get us into this.  Had we connected the dots, we would not have bought the propaganda that says oh, we’re safe, we’re fine, and so forth. So it just makes me feel heartsick that we couldn’t. But I think we have an opportunity now for a solution. I’m just sorry it’s coming out of such pain for the people in the gulf.

TED DANSON, ACTOR: It may take awhile for that money to filter down to people who need it immediately. And these three organizations are about getting money and your generous donations are about getting money there now when people need it, when they’re losing their rents and their livelihoods and where animals are dying because they’re not being taken care of. So this is brilliant what people are doing. And I’m so glad I was part of being on the phone bank because you can hear people’s emotion, their fears, their sadness. And they’re so sweet to be doing this.

IAN SOMERHALDER, ACTOR: I think that we could all agree it’s hard to get people to understand that we are so connected to the ecosystem. A lot of the nutrients that came out of that, I grew up on, have made me the person who I am. However, with a disaster like this, which is essentially man made, aid tends to come slower by virtue of the fact that you not dealing with just obscene amounts of human death and catastrophe. It’s a slow-moving, very sort of hidden beast but it’s down there.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: This was prime shrimping season. It was a cold winter. People said this was going to be the best shrimping season in a long time. Shrimpers lose money for much of the year. This is the time they make their money and so to have folks out of work to not be bringing in their livelihood. They are really hurting. There’s a lot of people out there. You know, there are food banks. There are people needing to pay their rent, needing to pay their mortgages on their boats.  It is a really tough situation. And it is, as we have seen, BP is not up to the task at this point in terms of getting money to people in a timely manner and in an organized way.

CARRIE KENNEDY, PRODUCER: Well, you know, people are really concerned about the animals, of course, and really concerned about the people there. And they want to know how they can help. They want to know how they can donate and also how to get involved politically and actively involved.  One of the things that we’re doing is trying to get people to petition President Obama to sign a legislative order that will make 100,000 green jobs in the Gulf Coast. So, we hope that people will support that. OK. Thank you so much.

RANDY JACKSON, JUDGE, AMERICAN IDOL: It’s really tough because of how people are.  This is a catastrophe that could have been avoided. This man-made disaster just keeps growing and growing. And people are frustrated that nothing is really being done.

HARRY CONNICK, JR., SINGER: I have been watching TV, reading the newspaper, trying to gather as much information as I can about what’s going on, and from what I can see, this is truly one of the great tragedies that our country has ever endured. And my heart certainly goes out to all of the people in the Gulf Coast region.  I think we’re a great country, and we’re a resilient people. And this is certainly going to put all of that resiliency to the test. Please know that my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected in any way by that oil spill. And hopefully, we can put an end to it soon.

JUSTIN BIEBER, SINGER: The oil disaster in the Gulf has been a big problem. But every little bit can help. There’s no such thing as being too young to pitch in. And this is urgent. What we do now can affect our future. You can donate money or time or anything to the groups that you’ve heard about on this show.

KEILLEN WILLIAMS, SHRIMPER: Actually, right now, we’re BP-dependent. We wait on checks from BP every month, from which I haven’t received the second one yet. But we can’t do anything until either they hire us or — or I don’t know what else to do.

DEAN BLANCHARD, SHRIMPER: Well, basically it’s watching the animals, the fish, the bird and all of them see what’s happening to all of them and see what’s happening to our waters over here. A lot of times I’ve seen a lot of tough, tough men break down and cry in the last two months. It’s unbelievable.

ARCHIE DANTIN, FISHERMAN: Well, like I said, the toughest thing I see is losing a way of life that we had down here for generations and generations. And it’s — people love to do what they do down here. They love to shrimp and they really love being out on the water. I mean, a lot of guys do this because they just truly love it. And that’s the sad part about it all.

BOB SEVIN, FISHERMAN: It’s called invisible death. And that’s what’s going on out there. The dispersant that they’re using is sinking the oil. And now the dispersant is affecting the fish but it’s the oil that’s getting in their gills. If they would let the oil float to the top and skim it, we’d be in a lot better shape than sinking it like they’re doing now.  My own experience. I used to sell that stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the Midwest is the nation’s breadbasket, then South Louisiana is the pu-pu platter – shrimping, trapping. This place is so productive. It’s a delta. These are critical habitats. We lose these islands, there’s no place for these birds to go.  All the people that rely on this area for their livelihood, to feed their families, what are they going to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s suffocating knowing that our livelihood, this is what we do for a living. We’re out here every day showing this place off. And as every day goes on and that oil continues to creep closer and closer and closer, it gets scary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the black cancer that’s spreading throughout the entire Gulf ecosystem, ruining lives and killing animals. And, unfortunately, it’s going to be around for a long time to come. There’s no quick, easy fix to this challenge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every summer, every week, every spring break, every time we got an opportunity, we came here. Gulf Shores is our play place. This issue, what’s going on with this has got to come to the surface. We as a community will have this job for the rest of our lives, of making sure people don’t forget what happened here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are who we are because of this system. I know there is no place like this. And when it’s gone, there will be no other place like it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How would you sleep at night when you know you lost your livelihood? And I got kids to feed, and — and I don’t know what I’m going to do next.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It’s like a domino effect. It’s affecting all of us. My father, my grandfather. They were all fishermen. It just breaks my heart every day. You know, sometimes you have nightmares at night. My nightmare starts when I wake up in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is pretty moving. It’s a heartbreaking thing to think that these beautiful animals are soiled basically to make our lives convenient and simple. So it’s — we all have a hand in this. So I think we all have a hand in cleaning it up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need the people to be responsible. We cannot take chances when you are deal with the kind of pressures that this planet can produce. That’s what you are dealing with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There’s so much that is at risk for being lost for a long time to come and maybe forever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want people to know how special this area is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The single biggest way that people can help the Gulf Coast is by visiting. Visiting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know this community well. I know that we are resilient. We will fight like crazy to come back and bring it back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a tremendous confidence in the human spirit, the fact that humans are going to be able to solve this problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want you all to hang on to us, don’t let go of us. We’ll hang on to you.

These precious and priceless birds should not have to suffer for BP's greed.


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