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When Off the Silver Screen, Actress Daryl Hannah Seen on Frontlines of Environmental Movements

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Actress Daryl Hannah is in Denver this week to attend the Green Frontier Fest and other environmental events around the Democratic National Convention. Over the past twenty-five years, Hannah has starred in dozens of films, including Blade Runner, Splash and Kill Bill. But besides the big screen, Hannah can often be seen on the frontlines of various environmental movements. Last year, she traveled to Ecuador to meet with indigenous groups suing Chevron to stop contaminating the Amazon, and before that, she spent three weeks camped in a tree in a South Central farm in Los Angeles. [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Our next guest is one of the country’s best-known actresses. Daryl Hannah has starred in dozens of films over the last twenty-five years, including Blade Runner and Splash and Wall Street and Kill Bill.

But besides the big screen, Daryl Hannah can often be seen on the frontlines of various environmental movements. Two years ago, she spent twelve days camped inside the South Central Farm in Los Angeles in an effort to save the nation’s largest urban farm. Last year, she traveled to Ecuador to meet with indigenous groups suing Chevron to stop contaminating the Amazon.

This week, she’s been in Denver to attend the Green Frontier Fest and other environmental events around the Democratic National Convention. She’s been spending time at something called the Big Tent. Well, she joins me here at Free Speech TV in Denver in the Five Points neighborhood.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

DARYL HANNAH: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us.

DARYL HANNAH: Thank you. It’s good to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you drive here?

DARYL HANNAH: I did. I rode —- this was the first time I haven’t been in an electric car. I was actually in a Prius, which is unusual. I’ve been in an electric car or on those bike pedal taxis.

AMY GOODMAN: What’s your message here, Daryl?

DARYL HANNAH: I came mainly to discuss issues, because I think everyone here is focusing so much on policy and politics, that it’s, I think, important to remind ourselves to take personal responsibility and to share information about some of the issues, rather than just my guy versus your guy.

AMY GOODMAN: And what are the issues that you think are important?

DARYL HANNAH: Obviously, you know, our addiction to fossil fuels, I think is something that everyone’s greatly concerned about, not only because of the price of gas at the pump, but just because of all the destruction that it causes around the world in every single way, shape and form. And the fact that we have solutions available to us now, and other things, such as, you know, the deforestation and the destruction of our oceans. You know, just generally taking personal responsibility and taking a commonsense approach.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think is the role of an artist, an actor, an actress, like you, in a celebrity-obsessed society? And it’s a big responsibility you have, because the cameras focus on you.

DARYL HANNAH: Well, I mean, I really think it’s the responsibility of everybody to do what they can and speak up. And yeah, artists, musicians and actors sometimes get more of a forum to speak out, but I’m surprised that more people don’t take the opportunity to speak out when they have it.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you inside the convention, too?

DARYL HANNAH: I’m not going into the convention.

AMY GOODMAN: Is that a political decision?

DARYL HANNAH: It’s just a decision, because I really like to stick to the issues and not make it about, you know, who I’m supporting in this race. I’m obviously going to vote, and I think that’s an important thing. But I’ve decided not to go into the convention.

AMY GOODMAN: You were in Ecuador. You have a house in the Rockies. You have a house in California. California is the state of Chevron, one of the largest oil corporations in the world, now posting record profits, along with ExxonMobil.


AMY GOODMAN: You met with the Ecuadorian president.

DARYL HANNAH: And also Occidental Petroleum, who’s also being sued by one of the tribes in Peru.

AMY GOODMAN: In Ecuador, you met with the president?


AMY GOODMAN: To talk about?

DARYL HANNAH: Well, there’s incredible devastation because of the practices down there from ChevronTexaco. They were using unlined pits for years and years, and everybody in the entire region of that Amazon has cancer or, you know, is just completely devastated, and they never took responsibility. And they never cleaned it up. And the people are suffering, and they want ChevronTexaco to take responsibility for the damage that they caused.

And so, they filed the lawsuit, and the president there is supporting the indigenous community, which is a first, you know, and so we went and met with him and with the tribes there who are struggling to keep further encroachment upon their lands out and also to try to get some bioremediation.

AMY GOODMAN: You also sat in a tree in the largest farm — it was in South Central — to save this urban farm. You sat in this tree for twelve days?

DARYL HANNAH: No, three weeks — three-and-a-half weeks.

AMY GOODMAN: Three-and-a-half weeks.

DARYL HANNAH: Yeah. There’s actually a film showing today, this afternoon, about it here called The Garden, which is really about the political corruption behind it, which led to the destruction of the farm.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain what the Big Tent is here.

DARYL HANNAH: The Big Tent is — it’s a place that was set up by the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado that has a space for all the different independent bloggers and independent media to come and cover the convention and the different issues and people who are coming to speak. So you can meet people like Lester Brown and Bobby Kennedy and, you know, all sorts of people who come to speak on panels on different issues, and it gives a forum for all the independent media.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you want people to know, in this last fifteen seconds, as you’re here, not inside the convention, but outside, in the streets, at the Green Frontier Fest and other places?

DARYL HANNAH: Well, I think that to understand how big of an impact your own personal decisions in the way that you live your life, how big of an impact that can have, because if everyone really took responsibility for themselves, we wouldn’t be in such a big mess.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Daryl Hannah, we’ll leave it there. Thank you very much for joining us.

DARYL HANNAH: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, the actress and environmental activist. Her feature films, well, include many, like Wall Street and Kill Bill. Her website is

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