Ian Somerhalder may play a life-sucking vampire on the hit television show "The Vampire Diaries," but he's not interested in seeing the human race do something similar to the planet. 

The 32-year-old (and former "LOST" star) has partnered with fellow actor and U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador Don Cheadle to represent the Alliance for Global Conservation. Together, they hope to raise awareness of the organization and the efforts underway to protect our fragile ecosystems.

"I signed on to do a huge project — me and Don Cheadle as a spokesperson — and it's quite arguably, in all humility, one of the most important philanthropic environmental projects ever undertaken," Somerhalder told the site Zap2it. "I'm so honored to have been included."

Granted, Somerhalder wasn't just picked for his good looks. It helps that he's not only passionate about environmental protection, but also actively involved in sustainable initiatives. Last month, he announced The Ian Somerhalder Foundation, which seeks to educate youth on a global level to put the power of change into the hands of the younger generation.

"There's Generation X. There's Generation Y. This generation is Generation Extinction," he said. "This generation holds that in their hands — the responsibility of it, and the power to change it. They have the ability to make the changes for themselves and for their environment. It's pretty badass, if you think about how much they can do."

The next step for Somerhalder and Cheadle in promoting the alliance is a bunch of PSAs and a planned visit to Central America later this month to see environmental degradation first-hand and what can be done to stop it. Somerhalder says he'll then take this info back to Washington and testify in a congressional hearing on the issue.

Stay tuned. I've no doubt we're going to be hearing a lot more from this passionate green star in 2011.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Somerhalder and Cheadle partner for the environment
Actors sign up to represent the Alliance for Global Conservation in an effort to protect remaining species and habitat.