As a child, actress Gloria Reuben distinctly remembers being forbidden from swimming in Lake Ontario in her hometown of Toronto because of the lake’s toxicity and elevated bacteria levels. That memory has stuck with her and now, living mere minutes from another body of water, the Atlantic Ocean, Reuben is committed to protecting our waterways for our and future generations.
Reuben, who currently stars in Showtime’s City on a Hill, and has appeared in numerous TV series and films, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, ER, Mr. Robot, Lincoln, and Falling Skies, was recently named President of Waterkeeper Alliance, a global network dedicated to making sure that there is drinkable, fishable, and swimmable water for every community around the world.
We caught up with Reuben about her new role, Waterkeeper Alliance goals, how to get involved on World Water Day, season two of City on a Hill, and more.
Tell us about your role as President of Waterkeeper Alliance.
GR: As President of Waterkeeper Alliance, I work to inspire and engage the more than 350 groups that make up the Waterkeeper movement in pursuit of our mission. I work closely with staff to advance our advocacy work and engage with the public to highlight current threats to clean water, as well as celebrate the wins that our Waterkeeper groups experience. I also love sharing the message of how we can join together to ensure clean water for all people and our planet.
Why was the Waterkeeper Alliance an organization you wanted to get involved with?
GR: I was immediately drawn to the mission of Waterkeeper Alliance and the dedication and commitment of Waterkeepers from day one. Knowing that coming years will be critical in the fight for clean water as we rapidly approach the point of no return – due to climate change, rampant pollution, and other man-made factors – I am compelled to do what I can to make a difference. Having been involved with the Waterkeeper Alliance since 2007, I have seen the incredible progress that happens when we support local leaders fighting for their waters and communities.
I believe deeply in the Waterkeeper model and in its ability to save our planet’s waterways. Waterkeeper Alliance was founded by Waterkeepers to superpower their work and turn individual grassroots efforts into a powerful global network. And with more than 350 Waterkeeper groups in 49 countries across six continents, we’re a powerful global movement.
What are your goals for the organization?
GR: I’m really excited about our work to push the Biden administration to uphold its campaign-trail promises – we want to see the Clean Water Act restored to its full strength and for environmental justice to be a major priority. I am also excited to amplify the work of our Waterkeeper groups – especially those outside of the United States – and to work closely with our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee to ensure that diversity and inclusion are embedded within the Waterkeeper movement at all levels, from leadership to individual programs.
March 22nd is World Water Day. What are some ways that people can get involved in their own community?
GR: I encourage everyone to find out if there is a Waterkeeper in their area by going to waterkeeper.org/waterkeepers and to get involved with the local groups fighting for your waterways and communities. If there isn’t a group near you and you’d like to support the broader movement, you can make a donation at waterkeeper.org/donate.
City on a Hill is back with its second season on March 28. What drew you to the role of “Eloise Hastings”?
GR: I loved the premise of the show and the opportunity to join creative forces with Tom Fontana again. When Tom asked if I would join the incredible cast as “Eloise Hastings” I happily said “yes!” Season two of this show will not disappoint!
What can we expect from season two of the Showtime hit?
GR: The storytelling this season is riveting, thought provoking and timely. Many situations that happen in season two could be happening today, even though the series takes place in the early 90s.
Is there anything else you would like to add or touch on?
GR: This is a very creative and fulfilling time! Being President of Waterkeeper Alliance, beginning to develop a couple of television projects, working on book number two (a full autobiography) and finding the next great acting role … I find myself happily exhausted at the end of the day, and extremely grateful. So very grateful. In a myriad of ways, I am able to do what I love best: tell stories. Whether that be a story of a Waterkeeper who is fighting for clean water on the other side of the planet, a fictional story in a TV series, or the story of my life, storytelling is my way of connecting with other people. And hopefully being an inspiration for others to do the same.