Green cred: “I have always been interested in nature,” says the Chicago-raised Ford. When the thesp suffered what he describes as “the guilt of too much money,” he put the bulk of his philanthropic efforts into Conservation International (CI).
“I felt this was an organization that was very important and doing innovative work.” Ford has donated 389 acres of his property in Wyoming to the Jackson Hole Land Trust conservation group, which works to preserve open space for animals.
Ford also is an active supporter of the California Hetch Valley restoration project. And, among other honors, Ford’s eco diligence has been recognized by biologist E.O. Wilson, who named a species of ant discovered in Central America after him — calling it the Pheidole harrisonfordi.
Focus: Working with CI for more than a decade, and currently serving as a vice chair, Ford says: “What I don’t want to be is a celebrity spokesperson. I’m interested in the nuts-and-bolts work in strategy and communication with other groups and corporations. It’s enormously intellectually engaging for me to work on this board.”
Latest battle: “As a strategic organization, we are consistently facing a variety of problems,” says Ford. “CI is unique to the extent that we have chosen to work with some of the corporations or players that other conservation organizations have disdained.” He points to the org’s fruitful relationship with Wal-Mart. “We’re getting them to take a look at their supply chain and how they might mitigate their pressure on nature. There are benefits that can be derived from a respectful, thoughtful relationship with nature.”
Eco mantra: “It’s only fair that we do not degrade the world — the only place we have to live — at the expense of generations to come. And we can do it; it’s not just some pie in the sky idea. The capacity is there. What’s not there is the political will, in many parts of the world, to take the action that’s understood to be needed to safeguard the world for future generations, even our generation. Knowledge is one thing. Action is another.”