If you missed the first part of the interview, here is Part 1 of the exclusive interview with Ed Begley, Jr.
Ed Begley, Jr. has been an environmentalist longer than he has been an actor, so his ideas are well-thought out, and his actions follow from there.
Here then is the second part of the interview:
Michael Wayne: Do you think if our country and economy moved in the direction of becoming a more green economy, that it would cause an economic renaissance? And if so, why do you think this would be? And what is holding us back from moving in that direction?
Ed Begley, Jr.: I’m not an economist, but the U.S. does need to continue to be a leader in the technologies of the future. I think there are good jobs making solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars, hybrid cars. I hope these industries grown in the U.S. and I hope they do contribute to an economic recovery. Our government can continue to encourage growth in these areas as well.
M.W.: What do you think of lawns?
E.B.: As a residential décor, I’m not a huge fan. I think we can do better things with our water and still have beautiful landscaping that can include native, drought tolerant plants and fresh, organic fruits / vegetables to eat.
M.W.: What made you decide to become a vegetarian?
E.B.: It made me feel healthier, and allowed me to contribute to a lower personal carbon footprint as well.
M.W.: The United Nations issued a report a few years back stating that meat consumption did more to affect climate change than all cars, trucks and planes combined. This lead Paul McCartney to start the Meat Free Monday campaign, urging people to not eat meat one day a week. Do you think not eating meat one day a week is enough to help halt global warming?
E.B.: No, but it’s a step in the right direction. I always encourage people to expand their green diet. It’s a good choice for the environment and for your health.
M.W.: What’s your opinion on organic and sustainable foods?
E.B.: I think it’s an important part of our future, and something that people can get involved with right away.
M.W.: What type of vehicle do you drive?
E.B.: My transportation hierarchy goes like this: 1) walking, 2) biking, 3) public transportation, 4) electric car, 5) hybrid car. When I have to drive, I currently use a Toyota Rav4 EV. I hope to replace it with an American electric soon. When I have to drive long distances, I borrow my wife’s Prius.
M.W.: You ride a hybrid electric bike. How does that work?
E.B.: It’s a regular bike that also has an electric motor and battery to assist you. I don’t use it too often any more, as I’ve made a conscious effort to get back on my bike every day. I’m in good bike shape again and using my road and mountain bikes almost exclusively now.
M.W.: You have a new book coming out in August. What is the name of it, and what do you hope to accomplish with the book?
E.B.: Actually it came out last August – it’s called Ed Begley, Jr’s. Guide to Sustainable Living. It was the follow up to my first book Living Like Ed. Living Like Ed was sort of a summary of my 40 year journey. The new book is a more advance treatise for people that really want to get into this stuff. The purpose of the new book was to give people a roadmap on how to approach sustainability and in what order. The first section of the book is about home energy audits – that is the place where everyone should start. I wanted to make sure people were thinking about efficiency and saving money first, and not getting hung up with the sexy shiny objects like solar panels and wind turbines.
M.W.: With all the people who use gyms to work out, can equipment in gyms be retrofitted to generate electricity?
E.B.: There are a few gyms outfitted with bikes that generate 12V power. Why not?
M.W.: Are you satisfied with the Obama administration’s environmental and energy policies so far?
E.B.: They’ve done some good things – but they can do more.
M.W.: When Dick Cheney was VP, he held secret talks with oil companies to help set energy policy. If you were at that meeting, what would you have told them?
E.B.: I would have told them the same thing I tell people now. Oil comes at greater and greater cost with each passing year. Let’s decide it’s getting too expensive and too dangerous and look elsewhere for energy. We need oil, but we need a transition plan away from it.
M.W.: Dick Cheney also said, when he was VP, that conservation was not a viable part of an energy policy. Do you agree or disagree with that?
E.B.: Strongly disagree. Energy efficiency should be the cornerstone of our policy.
M.W.: Any last words?
E.B.: Just thank you for the time.