Q&A: Rob Thomas on Live Earth Run for Water

The event, a 6K run/walk that begins near the World of Coca-Cola, is taking place in 80 cities around the world to call attention to the global water crisis. Funds raised from the events benefit the Global Water Challenge, which is working to bring clean water to millions worldwide, particularly in Haiti, Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa, according to organizers.

The event also includes educational efforts from local nonprofits such as the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, which works to protect the Chattahoochee River Basin that provides water for many Georgians.

We spoke with Thomas, who shot to fame with Matchbox 20, about the water crisis. He is to perform after the event Sunday morning.

Q. As a celebrity you must be asked to help many causes. What appealed to you about this one?

A. You do [get approached] and you try to fit in as many as you possibly can. As much as we talk about the effects of global warming and things which are really devastating, this crisis has been happening for a long time and it’s something that doesn’t get attention. I went to the doctor the other day and one of the things he said was wrong with me is that I don’t drink enough water.  That’s such an easy thing to cure, but it’s not for millions of people all over the world. We’re just bringing more light to the idea that some of the things we take for granted are just not available elsewhere.

Q. What does it mean to use your celebrity to help others?

A. Celebrity is really is good for getting into parties and good seats at restaurants, but it really doesn’t have practical use other than the fact that you happen to know you’ll have a certain number of eyes on what you’re doing. ... I’m not a person that believes just because you’re in the public eye that you have an obligation to spread messages, because then it becomes disingenuous. But if you’re in the public eye and find something that strikes you as odd ... then you do have an obligation to speak about it.

Q. Has this cause prompted you to make changes in your life?

A. Bottled water is all there is to drink on the road. ... We’ve been really conscience the past few years that everybody who has a water bottle has to put their name on it and finish that water and not leave half-empty bottles of water sitting around. I don’t know what happened to me. At 38 [years old] I became a 60-year-old man who is policing everybody.

IF YOU GO

The Dow Live Earth Run for Water begins at 8:45 a.m. Sunday in downtown Atlanta, with the start/finish at the Water Village area at Pemberton Place, 121 Baker St. NW. Runners can register for $35 until midnight Thursday for the event at http://runforwateratlanta.com, unless capacity has been reached. A portion of all registration fees for the Atlanta event will go to the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and Global Water Challenge.

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