Isabel is a passionate and highly active supporter of a number of charities. That passion lies primarily with animal and environmental related causes, and she also lends her name to various childrens and women’s health and welfare causes. Her enthusiasm for the environment and animals comes from her childhood, as she grew up surrounded by nature. “Looking after the environment and doing things in nature was really an integral part of my life growing up. I love the environment and I want to be able to protect it,” she says. Rather than call herself an ‘activist’, Isabel says she has “more of an altruist streak, but I’m active about it.” During her appearance on Rove Live in 2009, Isabel teased that she would “do anything for charity,” and she’s certainly not shy when it comes to talking about her supported causes, or going all out to do her best for them.
“I like to give time to different events and environmental causes, otherwise I feel they’ll slip under the radar and won’t go ahead. So it’s just a matter of how important the issue is to me.”
While she may not be entirely comfortable with all the aspects that have come with her newly found fame, Isabel knows that she’s in a powerful position to promote the causes she cares about, and give them a stronger voice. But she’s also aware that what means a lot to her won’t necessarily mean the same to others – “I don’t want to push my ideas on other people. Everyone should think for themselves,” she says.
Isabel says the key thing when wanting to get involved in activism, is to find what you’re passionate about. Think about what you really care about. The next step is to self-educate yourself about the issues, so you really know what’s going on – Isabel finds it really important to know why she’s doing what she’s doing for these causes. She also says that self-educating yourself about your chosen causes can help to inspire you to discover how you can help those causes in ways which will suit you or play on your strengths and talents. “This is about being informed and educated. When you are informed about what is going on it is impossible not to be motivated to act,” she has said.
Read on for detailed information on the charities and causes Isabel supports, what she’s done for them, and how you can help. Even if none of these causes are ones you feel strongly about, maybe it will inspire you to find what you do feel strongly about and find out how you can support that issue.
Keep up-to-date on the latest news about Isabel’s charitable involvements through our Charity news category here.
• The Whaleman Foundation
• Save The Whales Again
• Sea Shepherd
• Protect Our Coral Sea
• Sea Voices
• Wildlife Warriors
• Seeing Eye Dogs Aus.
• McDonald’s petition
• Global Green Plan
• Summit On The Summit
• Earth Hour
• National Tree Day
• The Humour Foundation
• Oz Quest
• National Breast Cancer Awareness Program
• Oxfam Australia
• Human Rights Arts and Film Festival
• World Vision
• Women Against Violence
• Sponsoring children
• Sponsoring orphanages
• William Campbell House
• St Francis Xavier parish
The Whaleman Foundation is an oceanic research, conservation and production organization dedicated to preserving and protecting dolphins, whales, and their ocean habitat.
Isabel has done a lot of work with the Whaleman Foundation since she joined them as a spokesperson in 2006, and has been able to go on several expeditions with them. The Whaleman Foundation has orchestrated several sub-campaigns, events, PSA’s and auctions to bring attention to their cause, including the Save The Whales Again movement discussed individually below. Isabel lists Whaleman Foundation and Save The Whales Again president Jeff Pantakhoff as one of the people involved in ocean conservation that she most admires.
Isabel credits her time growing up in Cairns as one of the most influential factors in her passion for ocean conservation, and it was her experiences on the beaches around the Great Barrier Reef that allowed her to discover the “wondrous world” of the ocean. She lists “global warming, over-fishing, and other unbalancing factors” as key issues relating to the ocean, and adds that “the preservation of its creatures and their food sources are equally important as pollution and exploitation.”
One of the first expeditions Isabel went on for this charity was swimming with minke whales in the Great Barrier Reef in Port Douglas, the town in which she was ‘discovered’ by agent Sharon Meissner. Minke whales were, at the time, the most common target for whale hunters, and the Foundation wanted to raise awareness of this. Isabel said swimming with the whales was “a truly magical experience” and that she was “simply transfixed” when she was in the water with them. This was actually the first time she had been scuba-diving or snorkelling. Whilst on the trip, Isabel also learned about what the Foundation are doing to help the whales. Read the Whaleman Foundation’s story on Isabel’s experience of this trip at their official website.
Isabel and other campaigners hoped to go to an international whaling conference in Chile in 2008 to protest, but there was no media coverage of Isabel visiting, so it is unsure whether she ended up going. Isabel was clear that their intentions were simply to try to learn more about the situation – “We don’t sort of claim to go there and corrupt the whaling system, I just want to go and soak up information and see if there’s anything else I can physically do or just learn more and become more educated about this whole topic.”
She attended the Whaleman Foundation Benefit & Dinner in Hollywood in 2008. In the 2011 Whaleman Foundation charity auction, Isabel offered a prize of attending the world premiere of her then-upcoming movie Immortals with her. She has also appeared in PSA’s for the Foundation.
What can you do to help? The official Whaleman Foundation website lists some really useful ways you can participate in helping this charity, including writing to the US President to encourage him to use his sanctioning powers on Japan and Norway until they stop whale hunting, and writing to the Japanese Prime Minister telling him you won’t use products from or visit Japan until whale hunting is banned. A really postitive way to show your support for this Foundation, and for dolphins and whales, is to not visit any marine park that uses captive ocean creatures. Many of the creatures used in parks such as Sea World lead unhappy lives, and investigations have shown them to die early deaths while in captivity. TakePart.com also has a simple list of things you can do.
Find out more: www.whaleman.org
Save the Whales Again! is a campaign of The Whaleman Foundation. The mission of the “Save the Whales Again!” Campaign is: To end all commercial and scientific whaling worldwide by Japan, Norway, and Iceland; To end the brutal drive and harpoon hunts of Japan and the Faroe Islands which kill over 25,000 dolphins, porpoises, pilot whales, and other small whales every year; To raise public awareness to all the other threats dolphins and whales face including toxic pollution, noise pollution, global warming, loss of habitat, entanglement in fishing nets, collisions with ships, and increasing whaling.
Isabel has been actively involved in protests and events organised by this specific campaign from the Whaleman Foundation. Her most publicised and controversial charitable endeavor was of course the protest against the killing of dolphins, in Taiji, Japan in 2007.
Every year, fishermen in the small Japanese town of Taiji head out into their waters and slaughter thousands of dolphins, so they can sell them off for use in animal theme parks or for their meat. In October 2007, professional surfer Dave Rastovich took fellow members of Surfers For Cetaceans, as well as other musicians and celebrities – including Isabel, Hayden Panettierre, and Hannah ‘Mermaid’ Fraser – to Taiji to stage a peaceful paddle-out to honour the spirits of the dead dolphins. “We were quite calm and happy about it,” Isabel said of their plan. In the cove next to them were hundreds of captured dolphins, caught up in the fishermen’s net and waiting to be slaughtered. The Taiji fishermen became irate, and started prodding the group with the oars from their boats, so the group retreated back to shore. The group were questioned by police and soon left Japan, with arrest warrants for them outstanding, according to reports.
The group were clearly shocked by what had happened, with Isabel recalling that “It was heart-rending to witness this barbaric, cruel slaughter. Everyone was in tears.” “The worst part is that whales are probably all dead by now. We couldn’t save these whales but hopefully shining the light on their deaths will save others,” Isabel reflected after the paddle-out. The peaceful protest gained the attention of the world’s media, bringing awareness to the actions of the Taiji fishermen. Isabel re-counted the protest in an interview with New Idea soon after it happened.
Isabel and the others involved considered going back in 2008, but so far Isabel has not returned to the town for further protests – “At the moment we are still assessing the situation about what is happening in Japan and whether we will go back. We are considering going back in February to up the ante, but it is all depending on whether we would be detained. Obviously we don’t want to be detained. We are getting advice on that.”
When asked why she put herself in this dangerous position, she says, “I do it because I really believe in it.” “Going to Japan we felt like we could physically get out there in the water and bring attention to exactly what was happening,” she added. “They are such remarkable, beautiful creatures – and so gentle. If more people would take the opportunity to see how magnificent these creatures are – they wouldn’t be able to shut out that this is happening.” Footage from the protest was featured in the 2009 documentary The Cove, which went on to win the Best Documentary Academy Award in 2010.
Isabel returned to Japan in 2009 for the premiere of her movie Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, although she and her team did have to check whether she’d be safe from arrest: “They did state there was an arrest warrant, I think it was more of a scare. My agents had to do some research: If I went back for the Transformers premiere, would they arrest me at the airport? We basically came to the conclusion that, because Transformers is the largest grossing film in Japan ever, it would obviously bring a lot more attention to what they’re doing and what they’re trying to hide,” she said.
A month later, Isabel took part in a Save The Whales Again rally on Bondi Beach, where supporters aimed to bring the issue to the attention of the Australian government, to encourage them to do something about Japan’s whale hunting. One way they did this at the rally was to create an ‘aerial art’ image – people lined up to form the silhouette of a whale to be seen from the sky. Isabel spoke at the rally, and highlighted the support of Australian for their campaign: “Polls have shown that over 87% of Australians want our government to take action to stop the Japanese from whaling in our territorial waters. We are calling on our government to send the Australian Navy down to protect the whales in our waters.” Read more about this event, and see photos of the aerial art, here. Isabel also went on expeditions with the charity that year.
What can you do to help? The official Save The Whales Again website lists the same methods of action as the Whaleman Foundation does (see above). You can also donate money to both causes through their websites.
Find out more: www.savethewhalesagain.com
Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.
Another controversial group, Sea Shepherd is often talked about for its head-on methods of protest in the seas. Isabel is a loyal and valued support of the organisation, saying that she does “believe 100 per cent in the work they do.”
In 2009 Isabel filmed a 30-second PSA for the organisation asking people to visit their website to find out what they can do and what anyone can do to support that. The aim was to raise funds to purchase more ships to fill out their fleet for the work they do on the seas. The press release for the PSA stated that Sea Shepherd “could not think of a more brave, passionate and dedicated activist and friend of the whales” than Isabel.
Isabel has also attended benefit events for the charity, as well as posing in merchandise being sold to raise funds for the organisation.
Of the founder of Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson, Isabel says, “I admire Paul Watson. I know he gets scrutinised a lot in the media because he takes such a forward stance, but I think he does because he feels no one else is. Often we feel like ‘What can one do individually to help or to make a difference?’. I really believe in these organisations because they are the ones that get out there in between the whales and the harpoonists. They make a difference and save endangered species. It is very important to me and it is something I would be involved in regardless of whether I’m an actor or in this industry or not.”
What can you do to help? The Cove Guardians website lists some ways people can support the cause. They are similar to the Whaleman Foundation and Save The Whales Again ideas, although you can also apply to volunteer to work with Sea Shepherd either on their ships or on shore. Sea Shepherd also welcome donations of goods, from toasters, to food, to toilet paper to printer cartridges! As with all charity campaigns, spreading the word about their work is important – Sea Shepherd suggest settings up fundraisers, or writing about their work for your local newspaper.
Find out more: www.seashepherd.org
The Coral Sea is a tropical marine jewel which lies east of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It’s one of the last places on Earth where large marine animals can still be found in great numbers. Yet less than 1% of this Serengeti of the Seas is protected. Right now the federal government is considering the future of the Coral Sea within Australian waters. Help protect our Coral Sea and make the Coral Sea a safe haven for marine life. Our goal is the establishment of a large, world-class, highly protected marine park in the Coral Sea that will provide a safe haven for marine life and recognise its historic significance.
Isabel is an ambassador for this campaign, and has lent her support to it since 2009. The campaign aims to establish a marine park in the Coral Sea, east of the Great Barrier Reef, to safeguard the area’s habitat and sea life. People are asked to sign a petition to pledge their support. Activists involved in this campaign thought Isabel would be a good ambassador after seeing her involvement in The Cove. In January 2010 she promoted the cause in Grazia magazine, and the camilla and marc (Australian designers) dress she wore in the photoshoot (pictured to the left) for the magazine was auctioned off, and sold for AU$359.
“I remember visiting the reefs off the coast of Queensland when I was 10 and going snorkelling for the first time. It was so colourful and completely unique. It’s essential that we protect it because it’s so pristine,” Isabel says of the reef. “Ninety percent of our oceans have been depleted of their large-growing fish, like tuna and marlin, over the past 50 years. [The situation] is not irreparable, but we’re getting close to it. They need to be given a large space to breed and replenish, that’s why they need this large [ocean] space,” she explains. Isabel says that the Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has announced that the Coral Sea is a conservation zone, but that does not stop mining, oil and gas exploration and commercial fishing from happening, all things that will destroy the habitat. They want it to be a “no-go zone, a fully protected space”. If this was to happen it would create the biggest marine park in the world, with a million square kilometres. “Protecting the Coral Sea as one very large marine park would be a wonderful ocean legacy for future generations in Cairns,” Isabel said.
In 2011, Isabel and her then-boyfriend Angus Stone made and released a video – Coral Sea Love – promoting the campaign. The video was shot by the couple themselves, and saw them hanging out together on a beach and in a park whilst holding up signs promoting the petition and its website. They wanted the video to capture “our feeling of first falling in love with the ocean, and all of our childhood memories at the beach,” and hoped that “video inspires you to help make the Coral Sea a safe haven for marine life.” Angus later talked about the film more, saying “I was into film, old cameras, super 8, 16mm. We made a short film on how we feel about the situation. In the film Isabel posts a letter to the government. We used speech bubbles to convey what we needed to say and set it to a piece of music my sister wrote. It was really cool – we got over 40,000 more submissions on the Coral Sea because of it.” The music in the video was by Angus’s sister, Julia Stone, and entitled ‘In the City of Lights’. Isabel wrote an article for The Huffington Post about the campaign in 2011.
The campaign was successful, and Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke established the Coral Sea Marine Reserve. Isabel showed her love for Australia’s coral sea and the people that have supported their campaign in a thank you note.
“Declaring the Coral Sea a marine heritage park is a truly unique and empowering opportunity for our generation to raise awareness of the amazingly diverse richness of this marine environment. By taking this step we can embrace the future and show what we mean when we talk change. How many nations can even consider the choice of declaring the largest marine heritage park on Earth? This is our chance – let’s make it happen.” – Isabel Lucas
What can you do to help? Sign the new petition to urge the Australian environment minister to develop “a comprehensive and effective management plan” for the new marine reserve.
Find out more: www.protectourcoralsea.org.au
In 2007 Isabel was the first person to sign an anti-whaling petition launched in partnership by Greenpeace and The Daily Telegraph (Aus). The petition aimed to show the Japanese people the strength of feeling amongst Australians against whale hunting. Isabel posed for a photoshoot for The Daily Telegraph to promote the petition, sitting alongside a whale harpoon on a beach in South Coogee, Sydney. She explained to the paper the negativity of the harpoon, saying “Looking at this, it’s just a big lump of metal, but then you start to think about the history of the thing. The tip is filled with explosives and the hooks on the side, here, catch on to their internal organs. ‘I’ve seen how they kill these animals, it is absolutely brutal.”
“It’s our responsibility as Australians to really take action on this and ask the Government to put this on the agenda,” Isabel said.
What can you do to help? The petition has now closed, but you can see the Whaleman Foundation and Save The Whales Again sections above for information on how to support them on their related causes.
Find out more: www.Greenpeace.org
TransparentSea is an awareness campaign aimed at highlighting coastal environmental issues, with particular attention given to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and the waters they inhabit.
Isabel lent her time and support to this ocean-related charity initiative in October 2011. The campaign involved various like minded individuals surfing and/or sailing down the Californian coastline to the Mexican border, carrying out beach clean-ups at various spots along the way. Isabel joined them for the first leg in Santa Barbara County, from Gaviota Pier to El Capitan.
Speaking about her choice to get involved in this, she said “It’s hard to not want to be involved with this type of thing. Once you have an interest and a passion for something, you have a natural desire to want to protect it and nurture it and love it and see other people do the same thing. We’re just a small group of people and – one step at a time – we can all do our part knowing it does make a difference.”
What can you do to help? The Transparent Sea website list 6 ways you can help their cause, including educating yourself and family and friends about the issues, stopping eating fish, and volunteering your time to them.
Find out more: www.transparentseavoyage.com
• ‘Sea Voices’ book by Duffy & Elizabeth Healy
The Sea Voices book is composed of over 100 people from Ocean Experts to Celebrities. It also includes Filmmakers, Artists, Authors, Musicians, Surf Industry Leaders, Athletes, Ecologists, and even Royalty who all share their personal “Sea Voices.”
Isabel was one of the 138 people interviewed for this book. You can read an excerpt from her interview here, and purchase the book through that same website.
WWF protects endangered wildlife and environments, tackles climate change and promotes sustainable use of resources.
In April 2006 Isabel joined forces with the WWF in a campaign to save the leatherback turtle. WWF marine scientist Dr Gilly Llewellyn explained, “With more than 10 years after the last sighting, it looks like we have witnessed the beginning of the extinction of eastern Australian leatherback turtles. This is a sad anniversary for Australian turtles and a sad symptom of the state of our oceans.” Isabel was as active and vocal with her support as ever, saying, “We have never been in a situation before where the choices and actions of one generation have such an impact on our future. We can’t afford to wait until governments and leaders show some responsibility. It’s time for individual action.”
Isabel posed in a WWF t-shirt in 2006, presumably to promote this campaign.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 3 million members and supporters. PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds, and other “pests” as well as cruelty to domesticated animals.
Isabel is a supporter of PETA, and in 2010 was named PETA Asia-Pacific’s Sexiest Vegetarian Of The Year. That same year she attended PETA’s 30th Anniversary Gala And Humanitarian Awards where she presented her Immortals co-star and fellow PETA supporter Kellan Lutz with an award.
• Wildlife Warriors Worldwide
Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Ltd was established in 2002, initially by Steve and Terri Irwin, as a way to include and involve other caring people to support the protection of injured, threatened or endangered wildlife – from the individual animal to an entire species.
It has been reported that Isabel has supported this charity, but it is unknown how or when.
• Seeing Eye Dogs Australia
The mission of Seeing Eye Dogs Australia, a division of Vision Australia is: To enhance the mobility and independence of people who are blind or vision impaired throughout Australia by providing Seeing Eye Dogs, mobility training and rehabilitation services free of charge.
It has been reported that Isabel has supported this charity, but it is unknown how or when.
• McDonalds chicken cruelty petition
Isabel was amongst several celebrities who signed a petition in 2010, urging McDonald’s bosses to adopt a less cruel chicken slaughter method.
Combating climate change is the central priority of the Global Green Plan (GGP), an initiative of the Global Green Plan Foundation, an environmental organization established in 2004. The GGP takes a practical, coordinated and holistic approach to community engagement. GGP projects provide a set of integrated initiatives that interlock, reinforce, raise awareness, inform, motivate, resource – and promote a shared responsibility for change to lower impact lifestyles. It is about harnessing the energy and passion of youth in the fight for their future, and using schools as a springboard into the community. It is about educating and motivating our youth, and through them, their parents. It is also about spreading the initiative from schools and households to business and government, to involve the whole community in a collective effort to combat climate change.
Isabel started working with Global Green Plan in 2005, and says that her upbringing – particularly her “greenie” dad – helped develop her interest in living an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Isabel is supporting Global Green Plan to help educate people to live more sustainably. The campaign involves getting children involved, and helping them to become aware of looking after the environment. It is important now because the world is in climate crisis and we need to reduce carbon emissions.
In 2005 she and Global Green Plan president Hal Hewett visited Williamstown schools to promote awareness of the environment, and Isabel told kids about the water and energy saving house her parents were building in Queensland. In May 2009, Global Green Plan and Fuji Xerox Australia, and supported by Dame Elisabeth Murdoch and Federal Minister for Climate Change and Water Senator the Hon Penny Wong, launched an environmentally-focussed curriculum at Williamstown High School in Melbourne. This school was chosen because it won the Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Award in 2009 for its sustainable building design. Isabel was on hand for the launch day with Dame Elisabeth Murdoch herself. She later did an interview for the foundation in 2009 talking briefly about her involvement.
What can you do to help? Isabel lists several things that we can do to help the environment, and they are: driving smaller cars and/or driving cars less, using clean electricity and using less electricity, having shorter showers, recycling, including using compost bins.
Find out more: www.globalgreenplan.net
SUMMIT is an initiative designed to drive awareness and change to the global clean water crisis while engaging a community through partnerships, collaborations and advocacy.
By taking cultural influencers, educators and high profile individuals to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Summit is able to support organizations in bringing clean water to the 1 billion people living without this basic human right.
In October 2009 it was announced that Isabel was joining the Summit On The Summit Kilimanjaro team that was going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa to raise awareness of the global clean water crisis. Isabel explains the crisis, saying “Currently, a third of the world’s population doesn’t have access to adequate drinking water. More kids die from lack of drinking water than any other thing – more than war, HIV/AIDS, malaria. That figure is set to increase within the next 45 years, with it expected to rise to half the world’s population not having clean water.”
The climb was not only to raise awareness of the global clean water crisis, but also to raise funds for several water-related charities, including The Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and PlayPumps International. Money was raised in part by supporters sponsoring a foot of the climb. All funds raised were managed and distributed through the United Nations Foundation. “It’s not just something for the developing countries, it’s one of the most critical issues of our time,” Isabel stated.
The climb was organised by musician Kenna, whose father almost died after contracting a water-borne disease from drinking contaminated water. Kenna assembled a variety of musicians, actors, activists and intellects – 45 in total – to take part in the climb, including Jessica Biel, Emilie Hirsch, Lupe Fiasco, Elizabeth Gore, Santigold, and Children’s Safe Drinking Water founder and director Greg Allgood. You can see the list of 45 climbers here. Such is Isabel’s dedication to the cause, she invited her friend Emile Hirsch to join them after Justin Timberlake had to pull out. Emile heard Isabel talking about the climb and asked her if he could join, but there were no free spaces. When Justin pulled out three weeks before the climb to film a movie instead, Isabel recommended Emile and he was delighted! He said that she was very sweet about it, and didn’t make the climb seem hard.
Isabel wrote about her reasons for wanting to join on the official SOTSK blog:
CLIMBER BLOG: Isabel Lucas
WHY I JOINED SOTSK
About 3 1/2 years ago when Kenna and I became friends, he told me about his first trip to Kili, how he didn’t reach the summit. He wanted to return and expand on the adventure of climbing by making it personal, relating to his Dad and to create awareness about the global clean water crisis. At that time, it was just a seed of a thought. Kenna is one of my best friends and he is a man of his word, I never doubted he’d fail to bring this dream to fruition. I just didn’t know what the scale of it would be—it’s become much more immense than I imagined at the time.
I feel like I was emotionally supporting and a part of the project from the get go. It’s such an incredible opportunity to visit a new part of Africa and an amazing adventure for a cause that’s vitally important. And we, in water rich nations, unfortunately have no idea the extent of the problem. Kenna told me a lot about the issue and as I delved deeper, I did a lot of self-informing and I watched 4 documentaries…FLOW (For The Love Of Water), Blue Gold, A World Without Water, and The Acid Test. What most hit me was how disconnected and unaware so many of us in western cultures and fast-paced society are. And this is not a minor issue that’s not going to go away, this is a looming catastrophe.
I feel fortunate to be in the position to where I have the opportunity to talk about things I care about and hopefully many others do too. This is a new cause for me, but it’s related to some others I’ve been a part of—The Whaleman Foundation, Sea Shepherd Society, Protect The Coral Sea Campaign and then the peaceful protest in Japan against the slaughtering of dolphins and whales.
If this were to end today…I feel like I’ve leaned so much. Some of it subconscious which will gradually sift into my consciousness in everyday life. The talks with the educators have been wonderful and really informative. I’ve been fortunate to come to Africa twice before this and what really stays with me is how the beautiful energy of Africa opens your heart. The land, the people, the music and the mountain… Trekwise, it’s been empowering to see when you’ve reached the point where you’re exhausted and have hit your exertion limit and find out you still somehow have energy in reserve…and you see how the body is such an incredible machine and you keep going…
- Isabel Lucas
The group arrived in Kilimanjaro on January 4th 2010, and started their climb on January 7th. Before their ascent began, they visited a local village in Tanzania to see how water is used and the effects of lack of clean water. As the group climbed the 19,340ft of the mountain, updates of videos, photos and blogs were posted on the official SOTSK website.
After trekking through a blizzard on the final few feet up – something Isabel described as “really intense physically” – the group all reached the Summit on January 12th 2010! While they had been in training for three months prior to the climb, nothing could really prepare them for the extreme conditions. Altitude sickness, nausea, headaches and even loss of consciousness were side effects of the climb. Isabel said she didn’t fell the effects until the summit, but when they were going back down she started to get sick. “It’s the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done – I had altitude sickness at the top with headaches and nausia but to stand on the summit and to have done it together for such a good cause was one of the most incredible feelings,” Isabel recalled. She didn’t mind the camping involved, as she was used to it from her childhood in Australia. Factoid – they were the biggest group to have all reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro together. Only 50% of people that climb the mountain actually reach top, but all 45 of their group made it.
As well as their incredible efforts for the charity, Isabel said she also really enjoyed and valued the friendships she made during the process. Her “tent buddy”, Santi White (aka Santigold) was a “real gem,” Isabel says, “a real soul sister; she’s such an incredible, strong, beautiful person.” She described Jessica Biel as “lovely; really sweet”, and musician Lupe Fiasco as “super funny, quick-witted and intelligent”. In an interview a year or so later, Santigold mentioned Isabel as someone she kept in touch with after the climb, calling Isabel the “sweetest, most wonderful tree-hugging lady”! Isabel also relished being able to learn more about the crisis: “The water crisis is not just an African problem or a third world problem. It’s a global issue. There are things you can do to make changes. The climb was very informative as well as being an amazing adventure.”
SOTSK organiser Kenna and Isabel are good friends, with him describing her as “like family”. He was obviously very proud of everyone’s achievement in succeeding with this climb, as he said after, “Even with as many grandiose illusions that I have had, this has gone beyond my wildest dreams and expectations. The influencers, educators, staff, crew, and publicists have literally braved this on behalf of the world and in a personally meaningful way on behalf of my father.”
For more of Isabel’s thoughts on the experience, read her interview with New York Magazine.
The climb was filmed and broadcast as a documentary on MTV in March 2010.
What can you do to help? Two of the easiest things you can do to help this cause, are not buying bottled water, and being aware of the amount of water you use for everyday tasks, such as brushing your teeth, washing up and taking a shower.
Find out more: www.summitonthesummit.com
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour. Earth Hour is organized by WWF. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature. Earth Hour has done a lot to raise awareness of climate change issues. But there’s more to it than switching off lights for one hour once a year. It’s all about giving people a voice on the future of our planet and working together to create a sustainable low carbon future for our planet.
Isabel was an ambassador for, and took part in, the Earth Hour event in Australia in 2008 alongside other Australian celebrities such as Cate Blanchett. The aim was to promote the awareness of how climate change is affecting natural icons, and encouraged people to turn off their lights for one hour. The event was organised by WWF. Isabel acknowledged the immediacy of the problem when voicing her support for the cause – “A generation ago people with concerns about the environment and nature were often labelled greenies and radicals, today these issues are accepted by the mainstream as essential to our survival, therefore supporting organisations like WWF is really important.” She attended, and spoke on stage at, the Earth Hour LA event in Los Angeles on April 22nd 2008. Whaleman president Jeff Pantukhoff and Hannah Fraser were among other Save The Whales Again spokespeople attending the event, and Isabel used her speech to remind people of the importance of the ocean in global warming, saying “What most people do not realize is that the tiny animals that form the basis of the ocean’s food chain are little shrimp-like animals called krill. They reproduce in huge numbers under the great ice sheets during the polar winters. Over the years as these ice sheets continue to melt and break apart as a direct effect of global warming, the populations of krill has crashed by over 80% which means that the basis of the ocean’s food chain has crashed.”
Isabel returned to her post as an Ambassador for Earth Hour in 2012, taking part in the ‘I Will If You Will’ challenge designed to inspire people to take action for the environment. Isabel pledged to plant 100 trees if 100 people plant one tree each. She appeared in a video to promote her pledge. It was announced a few days later that Isabel’s goal had been reached, and so she would plant 100 small trees too.
Isabel’s statement about Earth Hour 2012 read as follows: “Earth Hour is an opportunity to come together to support a cause for the greater good of our planet and our whole human family. A moment to feel grateful for the life giving trees, the air we breath, the food and water that nourish us and the beauty of mother nature… I hope Earth Hour inspires us to consider and integrate sustainable ways of living that respect our earth and one another.”
Earth Hour took place on Saturday 31st March from 8:30pm – 9:30pm in 2012.
What can you do to help? Spread the word about Earth Hour, or organise your own Earth Hour event, using the tools and guides at the official Earth Hour Get Involved page. There are numerous other ways you can help the environment on a day-to-day basis too, including taking short showers, turning lights off when you leave a room, not dropping litter, driving environmental-friendly cars, eat less meat, cycle inside of drive, recycle … the list goes on and on!
Find out more: www.earthhour.org
• National Tree Day
National Tree Day, proudly sponsored by Toyota, is Australia’s biggest community tree-planting event.
Isabel took part in National Tree Day on July 31st 2005, with Home & Away co-star Indiana Evans, and the two were photographed helping to plant trees in Sydney Park.
Water For People helps people in developing countries improve their quality of life by supporting the development of locally sustainable drinking water.
It has been reported Isabel has supported this charity, but it is unknown how or when. Some of the money raised from the Summit On The Summit Kilimanjaro climb in 2010 went to this charity.
• Australia’s Greenest Celebrity Award
Isabel competed for this award in 2005, completing a survey on how green her lifestyle is. Celebrities – including Home & Away co-star Jason Smith (Robbie) – participated to help highlight how all Australians can easily make lifestyle changes to become more environmentally friendly, and to encourage people to get involved with National Tree Day that year. Tammy Macintosh won, and was lent a hybrid petrol/electric Toyota Prius. (Trivia fans will be interested to recall that Tammy Macintosh later co-starred with Isabel in A Heartbeat Away!)
The Humour Foundation is a charity dedicated to promoting the health benefits of humour. International research has found there are physiological and psychological benefits of laughter. Doses of humour help relieve fear and stress and aid recovery. The whole hospital community benefits – patients, families and staff.
Isabel became a Patron of The Humour Foundation in 2004, after approaching them late in 2003 to ask if she could help in any way. “I thought the Humour Foundation was a great cause because it’s such a fun, happy group,” she explained. “I think humour is such a beautiful thing,” she continued, adding that “When people are in hospital, sick, tired and ill, the one thing that can brighten them up is humour. It is such a healing thing and it makes you feel good.”
The foundation sends Clown Doctors, as well as sponsoring people to dress up as clowns, to visit children’s hospitals. The doctors and helpers sent by the Foundation visit all areas of the hospital, and play with the children and may help distracting children with fun and games during procedures.
Isabel visited a children’s hospital to promote National Smile Day and raise awareness of Clown Doctors in 2004 and 2005, and spent time with children as well as seeing what the Clown Doctors do. “I don’t actually dress as a clown, but I’ll put the nose on and stuff. It’s just more about spending time with the kids and talking to them,” Isabel says. She hoped that by visiting she could help make the children happier, or inspire them. She added that these visits helped put things in perspective for her, and they give her a sense of purpose. Jason Smith (Robbie in Home & Away) joined her in supporting the foundation’s National Smile Day in 2005.
What can you do to help? There are several ways you can support the Humour Foundation and Clown Doctors, as outlined on their official website. You are able to donate to the Foundation as well as sponsoring people to work as Clown Doctors. Organising fundraising events – with friends, or at a school, to give two examples – not only help raise money but will also promote awareness of the Foundations work. They also welcome volunteers who can help with admin work and fundraising events.
Find out more: www.humourfoundation.com.au
Ozquest: Young Australian Adventures is an organisation for 18 to 30-year-olds that offers programs to acheive the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. “It’s aim is to combine adventure travel with volunteer community work,” Isabel says.
In 2007 Isabel embarked on a charitable mission to Namibia, Africa, where she worked with disadvantaged communities. After her 3 year stretch on Home & Away, Isabel felt it was time to explore and try something new – “It’s a completely personal thing – it’s just part of my life journey and experience. It’s not a publicity move, it’s just something I feel will help me to appreciate how lucky I am in my life.” She knew of OzQuest because her sister, Nina, went to Nepal with them a few years before.
OzQuest: Young Australian Adventures offers young people the chance to travel and do volunteer work, and they set up projects in developing countries that will have a positive direct impact on the lives of locals. Isabel, her best friend Zoe, and a handful of other young Australians travlled to Namibia and stayed in a camp close to Windhoek, the capital of the country. Some of the tasks Isabel was involved with was building a water trough for elephants to keep their water separate from the community’s water, and building a permaculture fruit and vegetable garden in the middle of the desert. It was hard physical work, Isabel said, but rewarding.
On the eve of her trip, Isabel attended the Catch A Fire film premiere in Australia, where she met Bono at the after-party. “Meeting someone like Bono, who obviously does so much positive work to better the situation in Africa, was incredibly inspiring for me. To have that encounter on on the eve of this trip was amazing.”
Upon her return from Naimbia, Isabel was invited to FilmInk’s Style Villa, and she was appreciative of getting to experience such extremes – “I think sometimes it is good to experience the extremes and this [style villa] is a completely different extreme to being in Africa and living in the desert. It makes you stop and realise: Gee, I’m so fortunate. The people I was working in Africa could never have imagined something like this,” she said at the event.
What can you do to help? You can join and have your own adventure! Visit the official website linked below to find out more.
Find out more: www.ozquest.org
The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is the leading community-funded organisation in Australia raising money for research into the prevention and cure of breast cancer. The NBCF recently achieved a new milestone having now funded $67 million across 256 research programs since 1994.
Isabel is an ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Awareness Program in Australia. In April 2004 she attended the Girls Day Out exhibition in Sydney, which is an annual fashion, beauty, lifestyle, health and fitness exhibition held in both Sydney and Melbourne. Isabel joined the volunteers and spent the afternoon doing interviews and signing Pink Ribbon t-shirts. The event raised more than AU$10,000 for breast cancer research. Isabel also appeared in promotion for the charity and its Breast Cancer Band.
What can you do to help? Donate, take part in fundraising events, or even organise your own fundraising event! The official website has a particularly good guide on how to host a fundraising event. You can volunteer to help with the charity, including helping promoting events and the charity in general. You can also register to be involved in research, such as answering questionnaires.
Find out more: www.nbcf.org.au
Oxfam Australia is part of a global movement of dedicated people working hard to fight poverty and injustice.
In March 2006 Isabel and her Home & Away co-star Tim Campbell (Dan) took part in Oxfam Australia’s 40th Walk against Want in Sydney. The 2006 event included breakfasts, barbecues, face-painting, clowning, firebird stilt walkers, African choirs and belly-dancers. The aim of the walk, which started in 1967, is to highlight the plight of women in third world countries who have to walk miles each day to fetch clean water, and it has gradually became an important fundraising event.
What can you do to help? Again, fundraising! Go to an event or organise your own. Donate money through the website. Shop in Oxfam shops. Decide on 3Things you can do to help the world. The Oxfam website has a unique MyOxfam section where you can register to keep track of your donations and fundraising events.
Find out more: www.oxfam.org.au
The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival (HRAFF) is a volunteer-run, not for profit organisation established in 2007 by a group of young professionals committed to fostering a stronger human rights culture in Australia. Now in its third year, The Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is Australia’s premier cultural event devoted exclusively to the exploration of human rights issues through art and film. At the heart of HRAFF’s mission is awareness raising, both of the relevance of human rights discourse to everyday life in Australia and of human rights challenges facing communities around the world. HRAFF uses a vibrant and engaging array of mediums including film, art, forums, speakers, music, poetry, action hubs and community initiatives to encourage understanding, discussion and debate on human rights.
In November 2009 Isabel was announced as one of the new patrons of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, alongside Warwick Thornton. Her statement about her reasons for joining the charity were posted on the official website and said:
As young Australians, we have the opportunity and responsibility to inform ourselves, reflect upon and comment on the human rights and environmental conditions that affect our fellow human beings in this country and abroad.
There are so many ways to raise awareness about these issues, but watching thought-provoking and artful films that influence and move us is a most effective medium.
It is what the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival is about and I strongly encourage you to support it.
- Isabel Lucas
What can you do to help? The festival relies heavily on donations and sponsorship, which you can find out more about through the official link below. They also recruit volunteers for specific projects, the list of which can be found on the official website. The festival has an Education & Outreach Team which can offer a range of films, lesson plans, activities, speakers and educational resources for schools, community groups, government and corporate bodies.
Find out more: www.hraff.org.au
• World Vision
World Vision works around the world – and in Australia too – to transform the lives of disadvantaged and at-risk children and communities. From our broad-ranging Solutions, to our work with youth, corporate and faith-based groups, World Vision is committed to the alleviation of suffering, and an end to poverty everywhere.
Isabel became an Ambassador for World Vision in 2004, helping to raise awareness of the plight of children in developing countries. Isabel appeared in print adverts across Australia talking about her role as World Vision’s Christmas Angels Ambassador, and giving information about world poverty. People who signed up to sponsor a child during the festive campaign were sent a special Christmas gift folder, which included an angel hanging decoration, as Isabel was seen posing with.
Isabel also filmed a PSA for a 40 Hour Famine, run by World Vision. The PSA was intended to raise awareness of starving children in Africa, and encouraged people to donate $40 which would help feed 6 kids for a whole month, then to take part in a famine weekend.
What can you do to help? Similar ways as before – volunteer, organise, donate, spread the word. You can also join a community group, take part in one of their many running fundraisers, become a mentor to a disadvantaged child, display a banner on your blog, or write a vlog supporting the charity! World Vision encourages supporters to shop ethically by looking for products that are ethically certified and using Fairtrade products. They also outline 7 steps to an ethical Christmas!
Find out more: www.worldvision.com.au
• Women Against Violence
AWAVA’s focus is addressing all forms violence against women, to ‘ensure that all women and children are able to live free from all forms of violence and abuse’. The Alliance recognises that gender violence is both a consequence and cause of gender inequality in all sectors of society and so it must be addressed by promoting women’s empowerment.
Isabel has been an Ambassador for this cause.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.
Isabel’s name has been linked to this charity, but it is unknown how or when.
• Sponsoring children
Isabel sponsors two children in Africa, including a girl in Zambia.
• Sponsoring orphanages
Isabel sponsors an orphanage in India, after she became involved with it whilst in India filming The Waiting City. The orphanage cares for children with leprosy.
• Art by Celebrities 2005 for William Campbell House
Isabel and other Aussie soap stars all created their own individual canvas paintings for a special auction in aid of children’s charity William Campbell House, which provides care for abused, neglected and homeless children. The auction took place during a fundraising dinner at the Shellharbour Workers Club on June 18th 2005.
- no link known
• St Francis Xavier Parish
St Francis Xavier Lurnea is a catholic church in Sydney. St Francis Xavier Lurnea and St Catherine of Siena Prestons are primary schools associated with the parish.
The opportunity to meet Isabel and take photos with her was one of the prizes on offer at a Christmas-themed fair held by two Australian primary schools, St Francis Xavier’s in Lurnea and St Catherine of Siena in Prestons, in aid of St Francis Xavier parish in Lurnea.
Here are some links to other websites relating to the causes Isabel supports.