Joaquin Phoenix Isn’t Joking: It’s Time to Take Climate Change Seriously

Rainn Wilson wants you to cut back on meat consumption.
Susan Sarandon is using reusable bags, straws and cups, and she’s hoping you will, too. 
Michael Greyeyes is urging you to compost and donate your old clothing. 
And they’re not the only celebrities encouraging you to combat our climate crisis. 
A new campaign, “The World Is in Our Hands,” captures celebrities in black and white photographs holding a pristine globe in their hands. Each photo is paired with action items anyone can add to their daily life. Whether it’s traveling sustainably, using less energy or demanding action from leaders, the featured celebrities are advocating for everyone to take matters into their own hands. 
“We chose people from all walks of life, from all different ages and different ethnicities,” Justin Wu, the photographer behind the campaign, told NationSwell. “I think if they can all come together for one unified message … that is amazing.”
Launched on September 18, the campaign is a partnership between Wu, the UN Environment Programme, social impact company The Krim Group and Accor, a hospitality company. 

Celebrities came together for the “The World Is in Our Hands” campaign, which urges individuals to adopt eco-friendly practices to combat climate change.

The campaign builds upon the UN’s ActNow initiative, a global call to raise awareness and spur action around climate change.
“With climate change, the world really is in our hands,” Todd Krim, president and CEO of The Krim Group, told NationSwell. “It’s up to those of us that are old enough to actually do something active to save the planet.”
In a pop-up studio at the Toronto International Film Festival, Wu and Krim recruited actors and actresses who are already invested in tackling climate change.
From there, interest in the campaign snowballed, Wu said. Word spread and other celebrities were eager to get involved. 
The end result is a series of photographs featuring Antonio Banderas, Joaquin Phoenix, Rosario Dawson, Neve Campbell and Alfre Woodard, to name a few.
Krim and Wu both have a history of working with celebrities and know the influence they can have on the general population.
“There’s a connection they’ve already made with the audience because they’ve already made audiences cry, they’ve made audiences laugh, and intrinsically, the audience already feels that much closer to the celebrity and so that kind of bond really resonated,” Wu said. 
But Krim stressed that this is just the beginning. 
Krim and Wu plan to continue the photo series through the fall and into 2020. This week, at UNEP’s Champions of the Earth gala, they’ll be taking photographs of individuals from grassroots and corporates sectors. 
“We don’t just view this as a ‘campaign’. We’re trying to create a movement here,” Krim said. “We want to inspire action.”
More: ‘Climate Apocalypse Chic’ and 7 Other Ways Art Tackles Climate Change 

This Prom Night Puts Kids With Special Needs in the Spotlight

Many children will encounter bullying at some point in their lives. But children with special needs are especially at risk, and this bullying can wreak long-term psychological damage: According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, being left out, ignored or bullied by peers is one of the main reasons children with special needs report symptoms of anxiety and depression.
In an effort to change this, the Tim Tebow Foundation hosts Night to Shine, an annual prom night experience for children with special needs. The nonprofit is led by the former star athlete and 200,000 volunteers worldwide, who are paired with guests as “buddies” for the evening.
Guests can dress up and have their makeup and hair done, as they might do for a real high-school prom, but instead of the prom having just one king and queen, each attendee leaves the event with a crown.
The event is one of the organization’s highlights of the year. Watch the above video to learn more about Night to Shine and the Tim Tebow Foundation.

What’s in a Celebrity Endorsement? When It Comes to Voting, a Lot

How much power do celebrities wield with their social media-mediated endorsements? When it comes to encouraging the apathetic to vote in the 2018 midterms, now less than three weeks away, probably more than you think.
At least one study, of how celebrity endorsements may have impacted the 2016 presidential election, supports this notion. According to study author Nives Zubcevic-Basic: “In a cluttered world where myriad messages fight for the attention of time-starved consumers, celebrity endorsers serve as arbiters of public opinion.” Much as brands rely on celebrity endorsements for their products, just seeing a beloved celebrity with an item can create positive psychological associations for fans. But for that endorsement to do well, the celebrity’s public image and the “message” of the item need to align.
In 2008, it’s estimated that Oprah’s endorsement of Barack Obama generated as many as a million votes for him. But there’s a theory that her endorsement of Hillary Clinton in 2016, along with hundreds of other celebrities, wasn’t enough to override the fact that President Trump was a celebrity endorsing himself.  
For this year’s midterms, celebrity endorsements seem to be leaning left. Of the top 500 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit posts of the link to, 53 percent were from people with “significant” cultural influence (this category includes more traditional celebrities like Sean Hannity and Debra Messing, but also verified social-media influencers like Twitch streamer Hutch). Of that 53 percent, it’s interesting to note that more than 86 percent of posts were by people with left-leaning views (such as Taylor Swift.)
A total of 43 posts were from politicians, with 79 percent of them identifying as Democrats, 12 percent as independent and 9 percent as Republicans. But it was the non-politicians, celebrities like Mark Hamill, Kathy Griffin and Sean Hannity, doing most of the legwork. More than 88 percent of non-politicians encouraging voter registration through the link fell on the left of the aisle. In many cases, one person posted the link multiple times: Kathy Griffin, Padma Lakshmi and Billy Eichner led the pack in terms of frequency, with 23, 13 and 11 posts, respectively.
While both the GOP and the DNC have created their own sites to encourage voter registration, the website is a nonpartisan website sponsored by the U.S. government.
Will celebrity involvement in the midterms have a different effect at local levels? Or are we seeing a new era in endorsement of candidates? We’ll find out on Nov. 6. Until then, double check your voter registration status, register if you still have time and take a look below to see if your favorite celebrity is working to get their fans involved with this election: