The Low Down On Green Living
April 30th, 2008
Last night I had the good fortune to go to an event hosted by the L.A. Bioneers and featuring enviro-activist Ed Begley Jr. It was held at the Electric Lodge in (where else?) Venice, which is a solar-powered theater. How cool–er, hot–is that?
What is a Bioneer, you may well ask? Their formal mission statement says that “Bioneers is a forum for connecting the environment, health, social justice, and spirit within a broad progressive framework.” The Bioneers was founded in 1990 as a nonprofit organization that promotes practical environmental solutions and innovative social strategies for restoring the Earth. They have a cool tagline: “It’s All Alive, It’s All Intelligent, It’s All Connected.” Makes sense, eh? Learn more about the Bioneers here.
From what I could tell of the group (and this was my first time joining them) it’s comprised of 40-70-year-olds who are very informed about environmental issues and work as activists to spread the gospel of sustainability. Some folks are really into food issues, others into water, and some into transportation. Many of these folks are ex- and current-hippies and God bless them for it. Their questions were spirited and wide-ranging. It was a potluck affair complete with composting.
And Ed Begley Jr. was the main event. For any of you who have not had the chance to see Ed speak, definitely do if you have the opportunity. He is an old-school environmentalist who really walks the talk– not like some of today’s “green celebrities” who fly around in private jets. Ed bought his first electric car in 1970 (yes, 1970) and has made his home a shrine to sustainability. He walks everywhere he can, usually refuses to fly to events (due to the carbon emissions load), and eats organic. (Learn more about Ed here.)
But wait– better than all of this– there is not a SHRED of self-righteousness to him. He thinks what he has done is important, yes, but he is here to encourage all to do as much as we can to lower the impact of our daily lives. He said he got his inspiration by running in Los Angeles as a young man in the ’70s and doubling over choking from the smog. “I said enough! I have to do something!” That’s what got him to buy an electric car and became a vegetatrian. Eventually he worked his way up to a wind turbine on his house and then solar panels. He grows some of his own food, he composts, and he wears clothes until they fall off his body.
In spite of all the growing bad news on the climate change front, and our increasing water shortages, Ed remains hopeful. He wants people to remain active and remember that we really do have an impact. “We have four times the cars in LA that we did in 1970 and now only 1/2 the smog. We made changes and they have had a positive impact. We outlawed CFCs and stopped the depletion of the ozone– and we all thought it was a battle we couldn’t win.”
And did I mention he’s hilarious? One of his best lines about reducing our constant cycle of mass consumption: “Remember that bumper sticker from the ‘80– ‘He who dies with the most toys wins’? Well I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hearse with luggage racks.”
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