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Actor Sean Penn is on a mission to fight the war in Iraq, poverty, homelessness, and global warming – and he’s using some buses to help him.

The Dirty Hands Caravan is a fleet of biodiesel buses taking 300 people on an 1,800-mile trek across the U.S., ending in New Orleans on May 4. Penn kicked the initiative off at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival last Sunday, where he took his place on stage as one of 125 performers. His mission: to encourage people to “get involved” in any way they feel compelled, whether its by cleaning up parks or neighborhoods, caring for the sick or needy, or speaking out on behalf of issues such as immigration reform.

The project is Penn’s brainchild, and the actor/director appeared on the festival mainstage to invite the audience to join the caravan. Around 150 of the concert goers were inspired to sign up for the week long mission.

“The Dirty Hands Caravan seeks to empower young people to stand up for what they believe in, with its longevity based on inspired individuality and pride,” said the 47-year-old, who has been joined by singer Ben Harper on the road trip. “My generation and those that came before have to recognize the numbing of incentive that we’ve passed on to the change hungry, imaginative, smarter-than-us youth of today.”

Volunteers are encouraged to get involved in a number of ways, including building houses for the homeless, protesting the Iraq war while supporting the needs of veterans and their families, and contributing to their communities in various ways. The caravan will also facilitate people who want to find out more about non-profit organizations in their local areas.

To find out if the Dirty Hands buses are coming to a city near you, visit their website.

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