Bette Midler turned her worries into action.

“I think that climate change is real and I think that it’s actually the most important story of the age,” the Power of Women honoree told Variety. “I also worry very much about the oceans and the fact that there’s so much plastic in the oceans now, and people are so wasteful. That is a terrible, terrible sin to me,” she said during a Variety Uncovered interview.

After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Bette Midler moved back to New York and was shocked by the garbage she saw everywhere. So, she picked up a shovel and got to work.

“The first park we cleaned was Fort Tryon Park, which was desolate,” Midler explained. “It was a drug haven, there was a lot of prostitution in it, there were burnt-out cars. They said we would not finish that for 10 years and we finished it in about three years. We have done studies that show in the neighborhoods around our gardens that crime statistics plummet. It’s astonishing to see what a little care and a little attention will do to a space and how it can change a neighborhood.”

Midler will be honored at the Power of Women luncheon with Gigi Hadid, Kacey Musgraves, Taraji P. Henson and Christiane Amanpour on April 5 at Cipriani Midtown in New York.

Read the full interview with Midler here. 

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