Ian Somerhalder is fond of Covington, Georgia, the small Southern town that stands in for Mystic Falls, Virginia, in the CW network’s hit series The Vampire Diaries. “It’s very Rockwellian, with a beautiful town square—the way towns were built in America before Eisenhower thought it was an amazing idea to put in an interstate system,” he says. It’s a daily reminder for Somerhalder, who stars as the show’s deliciously vicious Damon Salvatore, that “smalltown America is exactly what the entire country used to be.”
Covington is also the name of his Louisiana birthplace, a few miles away from where he was raised near Lake Pontchartrain. Though he now has a house in Santa Monica, California, he maintains strong ties to his home state. The Deep Horizon rig explosion happened during the filming of the first season’s final episode, and Somerhalder didn’t get the news for several days. He was planning a surprise chartered fishing trip to Breton Sound for a few close friends and family members when he was advised to turn on CNN first. “I left the next day,” he says. “Packed up and threw my animals in the car, and I hauled ass home.”
Ian Somerhalder on the Larry King Live: Disaster in the Gulf Telethon on June 21, 2010
Ian's Environmental Mission
Those roots fed his passion for environmental causes. “I grew up on a bayou that opens up to Lake Pontchartrain, the same estuaries that have been destroyed by BP,” he says. “Growing up on those waterways, and listening to my dad talk about degradation over time through human negligence and desire and overdeveloping, I get a real sense that conservation and preservation are important.”
Somerhalder was burning with ambition to help in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster. He made PSAs, and his fans launched a vampire support website (vampire-support.blogspot.com) to raise money for the Gulf. He had already met with a start-up called Go Green Mobile Power and had liked what he heard, but now it seemed more important than ever to get involved. The company manufactures portable wind, solar and biodiesel generators that can replace fossil-fuel burners used by productions such as The Vampire Diaries; they can also be delivered to disaster areas or provide potable water for impoverished communities around the globe.
“I have to tell you, not to sound too ambitious, but I intend, with this company Go Green Mobile and the geniuses behind it, to take this movement, take this revolution, and make it real,” says Somerhalder. “It’s happening as we speak.”
Ian’s Green Tip
"Use a power management system that automatically monitors power consumption and shuts off appliances when not in use, even things that 'secretly' draw power like electronic devices on standby mode."