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Warrior Lucy Fights For Planet

Lawless From Xena To Greener Campaigner

Sunday News

6 December 2009



LUCY Lawless became a worldwide sensation playing the lead role of Xena: Warrior Princess in the cult TV series. But now the Kiwi actress and mum-of-three is determined to save the planet as an environmental warrior leading Greenpeace's Sign On campaign.

"I just see myself as a human being, a mother and somebody who loves this planet." Lawless, 41, told Sunday News.

"I want the rainforest and all the diversity of everything to go on living. That is true prosperity, true success, that we have a spread of health around the planet for every living thing.

"When health is seen as our wealth, all will be well It is going to be beautiful and it is going to be fua

"I would love the whole problem to go away so I could go back to sitting on my backside and doing nothing

"But we are going to be working on it [climate change] certainly for the rest of my life."

Lawless yesterday joined Academy Award nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes and chart-toppers Don McGlashan, Opshop and Midnight Youth on stage at Auckland's Myers Park for Greenpeace's Planet A concert

The gig was promoting the start of the United Nations' climate change conference in Copenhagen. It also highlighted the Sign On campaign, aimed at achieving a 40% reduction in climate-changing emissions by 2020.

While Lawless' profile has given Greenpeace's message greater exposure, the star would have signed on to fight for the environment even if she wasn't famous.

"It is about what you can do and you want to have It In line with what you believe and what you are passionate about," she said.

"It brings me a lot of joy to be associated with this. Whether you think it is wholly man-made or not we can certainly contribute to the solution.

"We all need energy, we all need to heat our homes - it is a health issue. But the way we use resources can always be better. And every single thing you do means you are part of the solution, and it feels great."

Lawless' first Involvement with Greenpeace came when she was working on the 1992 movie, The Rainbow Warrior, spending time with Greenpeace New Zealand executive director Bunny McDiarmid.

"I really liked her and thought 'What a strong, interesting, sensitive, educated, funny person'. She is really a class act," she said.

"People want to distance themselves, they want to think of Greenpeace or environmental activists as different But these people are just bloody first-rate human beings. They are exactly like you, they are great New Zealanders."

For much of the past 14 years, Lawless and her family have lived in America. McDiarmid approached Lawless to join the Sign On campaign soon after the actress and her movie producer husband Robert Tapert returned to live In New Zealand several years ago.

Other well-known Kiwis to be involved include Warehouse boss Stephen Tindall. celebrity chef Peter Gordon, and actors Castle-Hughes, Cliff Curtis, Robyn Malcolm, Bonnie Soper and Rhys Darby.

"We are just New Zealanders who also happen to believe in climate change as the major issue facing the planet today," lawless said.

Her growing role with Greenpeace saw her travel to Parliament along with climate change scientist Jim Salinger last month. They hoped to meet Prime Minister John Key, to encourage him to definitely go to climate change talks In Copenhagen. They arrived with a $5000 cheque, raising through cakestalls and sausage sizzles, to cover his return airfare.

Key refused to meet them. Lawless wasn't surprised at the snub. But she hoped politicians had taken note of the public's increased awareness and concern over climate change.

"This was cent by cent, dollar by dollar, raised in a very traditional way," she said.

"The point was that ordinary people care about this, real people care about this. You must listen to your electorate."

Key finally relented on Thursday, confirming he will travel to Copenhagen on December 17 and 18.

Lawless said she was happy with the political U-turn, just as she is at her lifestyle in New Zealand.

Tapert and Lawless have two boys, Julian, 10 and Judah, seven. Lawless has a 21-year-old daughter Daisy from a previous marriage. "Our kids are so happy here that there is no going back," she said.

"The further away you get from Hollywood the less you care about it. It becomes less real to you. There are things here that you get for free that you just can't buy for love nor money in Los Angeles, or that just don't exist in Hollywood. The freedom to be an individual in this country is great"

She said of New Zealand's self-proclaimed clean and green image: "I am not sure If we ever were."


For more about the Planet A Concert including Lucy videos go to AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Planet A Concert Page

For more about Lucy's role as Sign On Ambassador for Greenpeace, go to AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Sign On News & Multimedia