Musician Stevie Wonder kicked off a celebrity-packed hurricane relief benefit by asserting that climate change skeptics were willfully ignorant. Wonder, a prominent climate activist, performed as the opening act for a telethon intended to raise relief funds for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma (video below).
On Sept. 11, dozens of celebrities participated in "Hand in Hand," a high-profile hurricane relief telethon held in four different states and broadcasted on four different networks. Famous faces sat by the phone and took in donations from Los Angeles, New York City, Nashville and San Antonio.
Wonder kicked off the telethon with a performance of "Lean on Me." Before launching into song, the musician stated, "We come together today to love on people that have been devastated by the hurricanes."
Wonder then blasted climate change skeptics, The Daily Beast reports.
"Anyone who believes there is no such thing as global warming must be blind, or unintelligent," said Wonder, who has been blind since infancy. "Lord save us all."
While no other celebrity offered criticism of climate change skeptics during the remainder of the telethon, musician Beyonce asserted that the hurricanes that had devastated Florida and Texas were tied to global warming.
"The effects of climate change are playing out around the world every day," Beyonce said in a pre-taped video that aired during the benefit. "Just this past week you've seen devastation from the monsoon in India, an 8.1 earthquake in Mexico, and two catastrophic hurricanes. We have to be prepared for what comes next."
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have resulted in the deaths of nearly 100 people in Florida and Texas. The combined damage caused by the storms has been estimated to range between $150 billion to $290 billion. The "Hand in Hand" telethon generated over $44 million in charitable donations for the hurricane victims, ABC News reports.
Wonder has been a vocal climate activist. In March 2016, the musician performed at the 13th Annual Global Green USA Pre-Oscar event in Los Angeles and received a The Global Green Hero Award.
"We have to be about making our planet more greener. ... We can't just talk about it, we have to be about it," Wonder told AOL during the event.
The musician also told People, "We have to make sure that we can sustain the planet and make sure that people are able to survive as it has always been meant to be."
Wonder added, "And to those who think that in a normal climate ... when it's the reverse to what it's supposed to be, then there's something wrong with them."
On Sept. 7, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt asserted during an interview that it was inappropriate to reference climate change in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
"To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm, versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced," Pruitt told CNN.