Deepak Dialogues With Activist Celebs: Mark Ruffalo, Fran Drescher and Russell Simmons

Being an activist celebrity is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, some people secretly question whether you have sufficient expertise to weigh in on weighty matters. On the other hand, many issues of urgent social concern don't get attention without a star attached to the cause.

Fortunately, some celebrity performers are taking the spotlight off themselves and focusing the light on crucial matters that affect us all.

Mark Ruffalo defends the waters of life from fracking. Fran Drescher urges women, industry and government to prevent cancer and save lives. Russell Simmons shifts the conversation from traditional notions of power to compassion as real strength.

This week on Deepak HomeBase in New York City, Deepak Chopra will engage in three conversations on three different nights with these three stars -- people who care. Russell Simmons joined Chopra on Sept. 12. Mark Ruffalo will appear on Sept. 14, and Fran Drescher on Sept. 15. I'll cover the events and report on them here.

I interviewed Ruffalo on my radio program, Connect the Dots (on the Progressive Radio Network on Saturdays at noon ET), and he is a knowledgeable champion, probing the complexity of meeting our energy needs without allowing hydraulic fracturing for gas (aka fracking) to pollute our water, food, and air. Ruffalo debunks the notion that gas (as opposed to coal) can help to decelerate global warming. He points to recent research by Cornell University climate experts showing that gas has a greater greenhouse gas footprint.

Moreover, the same study reveals that flowback water from gas wells carries large quantities of methane, which may be spread far and wide in the hurricane and flood prone Northeast -- which in areas upstream from two major cities, just got more flood prone in the last two weeks.

Fran Drescher, who founded Cancer Schmancer in 2007, points out that after a 40 year "War on Cancer," American health is still being held hostage because we aren't addressing the causes of cancer. (More on that here.) She believes that "prevention and early detection should be on equal footing with the search for a cure. Why not triple the weapons in our arsenal?"

Russell Simmons helps turn around the lives of at risk youth through his support of Life Camp, which "develops young teens and adults into peer leaders."

Like Simmons and Ruffalo, Drescher urges citizen action. Drescher wants to "turn the tide on cancer through asking Congress to support the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011." Ruffalo urges that citizens ask President Obama to protect the drinking water of 15 million people (in New York and Philly) through preventing fracking in the river basin of the Delaware River. Ongoing action links to safeguard our water can also be found here and here.

To learn more, people are invited to upload their questions, and discover why activism is the newest health regimen.

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