Dolly Parton has always been vocal about her love of the environment and is understandably concerned about its future. In a new interview with National Geographic, published Wednesday (April 6), Parton worried about the extreme weather events the world has experienced lately and urged world leaders and regular people alike to do more to protect the environment.
“Well, my hope for the environment, for all things living, and all things good, just nature in general, [is] that we should pay more attention to how we’re treating our mountains, how we’re treating our world, how we’re just treating everything,” the country legend said.
She continued, “We’re just mistreating Mother Nature. That’s, like, being ugly to your mama, you know? That’s like being disrespectful. So, I really think we all need to pay closer attention to taking better care of the things that God gave us freely and that we’re so freely messing up. We need to rethink that and do better.”
Parton has used her platform to encourage and create change when it comes to the environment. Her theme park, Dollywood, hosts a bald eagle sanctuary run by the American Eagle Foundation, which rescues and rehabilitates injured and orphaned bald eagles, owls, vultures and other birds. The center has been able to release over 180 bald eagles back into the wild.
“[Parton] is very active in causes that speak to her heart,” says Jessica Hall, American Eagle Foundation executive director. In addition to working with the sanctuary, Parton’s Smokey Mountain Businesses have also raised $700,000 to help Tennessee residents impacted by last summer’s floods.
The 76-year-old has also talked about the love for the environment in song, as seen in track “My Tennessee Mountain Home,” her 1972 homage to Eastern Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains where she grew up. “In my Tennessee mountain home/Life is as peaceful as a baby’s sigh/In my Tennessee mountain home/Crickets sing in the fields near by” she sings on the track.
In February, Tennessee Senator Becky Duncan Massey filed Senate Bill 2148 to make the track an official state song. The honor is fitting, considering how inspired Parton has been by nature throughout her career and how committed she’s become to environmental causes such as climate change.