40-year-old actress Ashley Judd (photo:Richard Drew/AP) is calling for an end to the mining practice known as mountaintop removal. The Kentucky native described "barren moonscapes" and "nothingness" where Appalachian peaks once rose skyward. Kathy Stein, a Democratic state senator from Lexington, is sponsoring legislation that would bar coal companies from filling valleys with the soil and rock from the mountaintops. Ashley was also in the news recently for another issue concerning the environment in Alaska.
Ashley Judd was a spokesperson for the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, in their campaign to stop aerial wolf hunting in Alaska, which was supported by Governor Sarah Palin and some members in the Alaska Outdoor Council. Ashley argued that traditional hunting on the ground by local communities was good enough to control the wolf population, but killing them using helicopters would invite trophy-hunting outsiders to play havoc with the natural balance of prey and predator species in Alaska.
Judd is also passionate about organic farming, sex education in the developing world, and AIDS prevention. Ashley became YouthAIDS global ambassador in 2002 and as part of her duties calls donors to ask for money, happily meets with foreign leaders, and goes into rural areas in developing countries to talk to prostitutes and young girls about safe sex.
AS a young girl herself Ashley led a hectic life, attending 13 different schools in 12 years and alternately living with her mother Naomi Judd, then her father Michael Ciminella, and her grandparents. To compensate for this chaotic childhood, Ashley says she became a "hyper-vigilant child" who was faultless in every way, and later went into depression, isolation and co-dependent relationships. The star of thrillers like Kiss the Girls and Double Jeopardy, then got treatment for her depression at a Texas treatment center, and has since improved her friendships and her 6-year marriage to 35-year-old racecar driver Dario Franchitti.
Beautiful Ashley Judd is on the board of the Population Services International (PSI) which delivers health goods and services to poor in developing countries. She told Men's Health magazine, "My life is lessened every time a person dies of a preventable disease."