An Evening with Friends of the Environment

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Release date: September 13, 1990
Directed by: Jeff Margolis
Produced by: ABC Television
Running time: 60 minutes

Meryl Streep, who in the late 1980s raised awareness on pesticides and forming the group "Mothers and Others", took the opportunity to speak at this charity concert in aid of the protecting the environment. "An Evening with Friends of the Environment" featured celebrity mothers Olivia Newton-John, Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Cher, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin and Robin Williams. Filmed at the LA outdoor Greek Theater before a live audience, the celebrity cast sang What a Wonderful World at the concert's finale.

My friends and I are so very, very happy that you came here tonight to be with us on this warm, beautiful evening – in Los Angeles, in 1990. We’ve been sitting here tonight, perched on the edge of a mountain, on the rim of a continent, at the beginning of a new century. In ten years it will be the year 2000. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but… how come ten years ago seems like twenty minutes – and the year 2000 seems like about thousand miles away. I was thinking about where I was ten years ago. Ten years ago I just had my first baby, and just had my first hit movie “Kramer vs. Kramer”. And I remember every Thursday I would put all the garbage and all the food and the cans and the bottles and the papers and everything, in one big plastic bag and I take it down to the street and it would just go away. I don’t know where. I think to New Jersey? That was back in the old days when they had landfills. But after Thursday I don’t know where they took it. I really didn’t think it was my problem, not like I do now.

Back then, I did think that I was environmentally conscious person. I heard then that sometimes there were steroids in the beef, so we ate a lot of fish. Since the oceans were pristine, we believed that we were eating clean. So much has changed since then, you know, that I wonder, what ten years from now, how things will be different. My little girl said to me, “Momma, what will they have when I’m a grown-up, that we don’t have now?” And I think, she had in mind one of those personal proportion backpacks that just lift her off to the beach and back in three minutes. But what I wanted to say to her was that she would never have to worry, that her baby would get skin cancer from being out in the sun, because we would have done everything in our power to restore the Ozon layer. And I wanted to tell her that she’d be able to jog through town and take deep gulps of fresh air and not think two things about it. And I wanted to tell her that she’d wake up to the sound of songbirds and that she could drink from the rivers. I think that might be just a mother’s dream. But one thing is certain: Whatever changes do occur in the next ten years, for better or for worse, is up to us. Right now. It’s not too late, but there is no time to wait. Thank you for coming”.