Every environmental campaign deserves a celebrity ambassador- but finding potential candidates to champion the cause of protecting the Giant Australian Cuttlefish from industrial development has taken a fair bit of lateral thinking. Considering the animal’s extra-terrestrial qualities, its relationship with light and its underrated yet spectacular nature, we’ve gone underground to find someone we think is a near-perfect match. Our first candidate is none other than celebrity actor, LeVar Burton. His acting career has taken him from the galley of a slave-ship to the holodeck of the USS Enterprise. Along the way, this man has inspired, motivated and driven social change through his unusually wide gamut of roles.
Most relevant to his potential future role as Giant Australian Cuttlefish Ambassador is his role as voice actor on the animated television series, Captain Planet. The show saw the Earth’s creation spirit, Gaia, entrust environmental reponsibilities and special powers to a group of five teenagers from around the world. Burton voiced the African character Kwame, whose magical ring possessed the power to command the earth. After witnessing the destruction of habitat in homeland, Kwame made it his mission to fight for the protection of endangered species.
Also relevant, and certainly more widely recognised, is Burton’s role in Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the cult television series and related movies, Burton played the role of Geordi La Forge, who played out much of the series on the USS Enterprise as Chief Engineering Officer. As such, he was often portrayed repairing machines or discovering new scientific phenomena. Geordi La Forge was born blind, and compensated for this by wearing a device called a VISOR, connected to his brain via terminals at his temples. Geordi’s VISOR allows him to “see” energy phenomena invisible to the naked human eye, as well as allowing him to view things at infrared, ultraviolet and at microscopic levels. It also allowed him to see human vital signs such as heart rate and temperature, giving him the ability to monitor moods and even detect lies. Wouldn’t this be handy to have on deck, with so much commercial interest, scientific debate and politics enshrouding the Giant Australian Cuttlefish’s future?
LeVar Burton’s performing career has also included much-loved work on the children’s TV show Reading Rainbow where he helped foster a love of reading in millions of American children. He also played the role of an African slave Kunta Kinte in the controversial series Roots which dramatised the story of African-American slavery through generations of suffering to emancipation.
It is unusual for an actor to have been presented with so many roles which have actively contributed towards a progressive, enlightened society. Through his gift of creativity and performance, LeVar has helped children learn to love reading, encouraged teenagers to embrace environmental stewardship, the world to reflect on the dark days of slavery and people of all ages to respect and champion science and understanding.
Considering his roles of influence, and the Giant Australian Cuttlefish’s amazing alien-like properties, we believe LeVar Burton would make the perfect spokesperson for the protection of the species. If you think so too, why not tell him yourself, and send him a link to our website? He’s very active on Twitter and I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.