Harrison Ford’s leading role in saving the planet

Martha Raddatz, Richard Coolidge & Jordyn Phelps
Power Players

On the Radar

From Indiana Jones to Han Solo, Harrison Ford has played his share of heroic roles over the course of his career. Now, the actor is back with another hero's mission: saving the planet. But this time, it's not a movie--but real life.

Ford, who sits on the executive board of the nature advocacy group Conservation International, has become an outspoken proponent of conservancy, insisting that he is not just a "a poster boy" for the cause.

"Nature doesn't need people, people need nature, the nature would survive the extinction of the human being and go on just fine, but human culture, human beings cannot survive without nature," Ford tells On the Radar. "We have to understand in value what the services of nature are so that we can understand that degrading them is an irreplaceable resource that no amount of money or human ingenuity can replace."

Peter Seligmann, president of Conservation International, makes the case that protecting natural resources is essential to providing for the world's growing population.

"What's happening around the table is a conversation that's not about let's protect pretty places, but how do we protect essential assets going forward? Because we got a big problem, we got 7 billion people, we're going to 9 billion people in four decades, that's 80 million new people each year," says Seligmann.

This growing demand for food, water, and other natural good can lead to conflict and poverty, which is why the Council on Foreign Relations has partnered with Conservation International. Richard Haass, the president of CFR, says an unstable natural environment is a major international security concern.

"I'm much more worried as I look over the next couple of decades about weak states than strong ones, it's states that that don't have the water, don't have the arable land, don't' have the, uh the energy, and these are states that are vulnerable," Haass says. "We have a tremendous stake in the viability of these other countries around the world and the line I always use is 'the world is not Las Vegas,' what happens there doesn't stay there, it comes here."

To hear more about Harrison Ford's work with Conservation International and the risks posed by natural resource depletion, check out this episode of On the Radar.

ABC's Eric Wray, Alexandra Dukakis, Betsy Klein, Chris Carlson, and Bob Bramson contributed to this episode.