Most people know Ted Danson as the affable bartender Sam Malone in the long-running television series Cheers. But fewer realize that over the course of the past two and a half decades, Danson has tirelessly devoted himself to the cause of heading off a looming global catastrophe—the massive destruction of our planet’s oceanic biosystems and the complete collapse of the world’s major fish stocks caused by commercial fishing.
In his new book, Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them, Danson details his journey from joining a modest local protest in the mid-1980s to oppose offshore oil drilling near his Southern California neighborhood to his current status as one of the world’s most influential oceanic environmental activists, testifying before congressional committees in Washington, DC, addressing the World Trade Organization in Zurich, Switzerland, and helping found Oceana, the largest organization in the world focused solely on ocean conservation.
1. Why is living organic important to you?
I want to know what I’m putting in my body. If it’s not organic, I don’t know what pesticide I’m absorbing, or what genetically modified thing I’m eating. I believe very strongly that what I eat has a great effect on my overall health.
2. What was your favorite food growing up?
I always looked forward to going out to eat with my grandparents, and ordering club sandwiches and shrimp cocktail. Overall, I would say that I grew up during what I consider to be a “challenging” time for food. And while we ate healthy at home, I always secretly craved the fried-bologna sandwiches on Wonder bread that they served at my friends’ houses.
3. What’s your go-to comfort food now?
Fresh almond butter and apples; bread and olive oil.
4. What’s the one thing in your kitchen you just couldn’t live without?
My wife, Mary!
My iPad. And I highly recommend the Seafood Watch app—it’s an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to be an educated consumer.
6. What’s the most important news story today that you think we all need to pay more attention to?
The health and vitality of our oceans.
7. Where do you get your news?
CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, LA Times, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.