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Public Service: Humanitarian, Environmentalist

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Sustaining our economy and environment was Dennis's passion. Though millions recognize Dennis Weaver for his acting roles, most notably the long-running television series Gunsmoke and McCloud, he most wanted to be remembered for his work as a humanitarian and a pioneer environmentalist.

From the early 1980’s, Dennis dedicated himself to serving humanity and the environment. A passionate environmentalist, Dennis moved to Colorado in 1989 to construct his “Earthship.” This visionary, solar-powered home, built primarily from recycled materials, is recognized worldwide as an inspirational model for sustainable living. The documentary “Dennis Weaver’s Earthship” aired on public television for years and is still available.

 

Dennis was very aware of world hunger. In 1982, with friends Valerie Harper and Tony Cacciotti, Dennis and Gerry founded L.I.F.E (Love Is Feeding Everyone), which fed 180,000 people in Los Angeles each week. In 1986 he received the “Presidential End Hunger Award” from President Ronald Reagan. L.I.F.E grew to over 40,000 meals per week and by 2002 had successfully provided over 200,000,000 meals!

 

In 1993, Dennis and Gerry founded the non-profit Institute of Ecolonomics, a word Dennis coined to illustrate the necessary synergy between a healthy ecology and a vibrant economy in order to create a sustainable future. ( Related article.)

In 2003 the Institute embarked on the “Drive to Survive,” where Dennis led a fleet of alternative-fueled vehicles on a cross-country whistle-stop tour to Washington,D.C., to increase awareness of the need to reduce our nation's dependence on oil. He was also involved with John Denver's Windstar Foundation and joined forces with singer Willie Nelson to promote the development and use of farmer-grown biodiesel as a viable alternative fuel.

 

Dennis Weaver's passion for "ecolonomics" continues to fuel the vision of the Institute. “If we are to leave a planet that will sustain life for future generations, we have to have two things: a sustainable economy and a sustainable environment, and if we fail in achieving either we will suffer greatly.” (Dennis Weaver)  Share on Facebook

Dennis, a vegetarian and was involved in programs to bring attention to the plight and suffering of animals. A model for Hollywood humanitarianism, he was dedicated to helping those less fortunate. For 17 years he led services at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades, California.