Orange Is the New Black star Yael Stone is giving up her green card to reside in her native Australia full-time amid the global “climate war.”
As bush fires devastate the continent, the 34-year-old actress, who played Lorna Morello in the Netflix series, took to social media to slam the lack of leadership from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison amid the ecological disaster.
She went on to call for regular citizens to step up as leaders — and said she would be making immediate changes to her own lifestyle, starting with giving up her green card in the U.S. and residing full time in Australia to reduce her own carbon footprint.
"I'm sitting in a dark room wondering what the hell is happening," Stone said in the first of two Instagram videos. "Our country is on fire... and our prime minister has done absolutely nothing. Cold, calculated nothing. We don't have leaders, we have cowards.
“The leaders we have are the people around us and that’s what we have to become. We have to step up because this is war. This is a climate war. And for the first time, our enemy is not wearing a uniform that we'll be able to recognise. Our enemy is our own behaviour. And, yeah sure — on an individual level things can change but it’s corporate-wide, it’s government-wide, it’s systematic changes that must happen — and they must happen yesterday. It’s time to act.”
She went on to detail the personal change that she’s going to make.
“To begin with, I’d like to announce that I’m giving up my green card. After a long considered process, we’ve come to understand that it’s unethical for us to set up a life in two countries knowing what we know,” explained Stone, who shares a one-year-old child with Jack Manning Bancroft, founder of AIME, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience. “The carbon emissions alone from that flying, it's unethical, it's not right. So I will be going through the process of giving up my green card and saying goodbye to a life in America. I'm going to be here in Australia doing the work I can to make a difference here because the time is now."
Stone had primarily been living in New York while making her Netflix series, which ended last year. According to the West Australian, the Sydney native moved back to Australia in February — so going forward that will now be her main and permanent home.
It doesn’t mean that Stone is done acting, however. She noted that “Australia will be home and when I have to travel for work I will be investing in @feat.artists,” Future Energy Artists, which is a platform that encourages artists to back sustainability.
While the wildfires rage in Australia, Morrison has been criticised for not addressing climate change, which experts say played a key role in the ecological devastation there. (Bush fires are a regular and expected part of the Australian weather cycle, but they have been worse this year due to it being the country’s hottest and driest year on record.) However, he defended his government.
"There has been a lot of blame being thrown around," Morrison said over the weekend. "And now is the time to focus on the response that is being made. ... Blame doesn't help anybody at this time and over-analysis of these things is not a productive exercise."
The biggest celebrities to come out of Australia — including Chris Hemsworth, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban and Kylie Minogue — have made huge donations to firefighters and other non-profits amid the destruction.
Australian comedian Celeste Barber created a Facebook fundraiser for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service which has become the largest-ever Facebook fundraiser globally, raising over $30 million. Non-Australians have been extremely generous as well.
Meanwhile, Russell Crowe used his Golden Globes acceptance speech, which he had Jennifer Aniston deliver, to give a stern warning about climate change.
“Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based,” Aniston read on Crowe’s behalf. “We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy, and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is. That way we all have a future.”
And the Irwins — Bindi, Robert and Terri — have treated more than 90,000 animals injured amid the fires at their Australia Zoo.