Ford’s overwhelming passion is the environment. In 1991, he was introduced to Conservation International, one of the world’s leading environmental research groups, and was deeply impressed with the intellectual capacity of its directors. Founded in 1987, Conservation International provides a fund for scientists in 30 countries to identify and overcome biodiversity threats. It focuses its efforts on tropical wilderness areas, marine areas, and major wetlands, and since its inception has donated over $100 million to conservation partners around the world.
Ford joined the ranks of Conservation International as a board member, and soon became vice chairman. He became actively involved in the organization’s design and growth, and now sits on the Executive Committee.
“I was looking for a way to give back,” he explained to the Epoch Times. “What kept my support is their success and the inventiveness of their strategies.”
He calls the battle for conservation ‘a war without an evil enemy’ and believes that it can be won. ‘What we do today will set the course and the example for generations to come.’
Besides his work with Conservation International, Ford also serves as the first ‘airborne watchdog’ for the environmental group Riverkeeper, which identifies and prosecutes polluters of the Hudson River. He patrols the waterway in his helicopter and in 2002 received a Lindbergh Award for his efforts.
Flying is another passion for the actor. In 2004, Ford became the Honorary Chairman of Young Eagles, a program designed to give children a chance to fly in an aircraft for free. The initiative was launched in 1992, and has since flown over 1.3 million children, with volunteer pilots covering all of the costs. Ford has flown over 280 children in his own time, showing them the wide-open plains and rugged mountain areas of America. He says it is the best way to educate young people about nature, and about themselves.
“One of the wonderful things about aviation is that freedom and responsibility are great things for kids to be exposed to,” he told Airport Journals. “To be able to see the world in a three-dimensional way, and to give them a sense of the possibility that they might enjoy that freedom themselves, if they work for it.”
Since joining Conservation International over 16 years ago, Harrison Ford has donated large amounts of time, money, and land to conservation issues. He is also the honorary chairman for the Indianapolis Prize, one of the world’s leading awards for animal conservation. In return, he has received a whole swag of honours himself, including the Jules Verne Spirit of Nature Award, the KT Hurley Award for his work helping young people with their conservation projects, the World Ecology Award from the International Center for Tropical Ecology, the Global Environmental Citizen Award from the Harvard Medical School, and the Good Steward Award from the US House of Representatives. He claims these honors more than make up for the fact he has never won an Oscar.
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