Ed Begley Jr., Environmental Advocate, born (1949)

Ed Begley Jr., born on September 16, 1949, is known equally for two things—being a great actor and being a great environmentalist.  He is just as well known for his Emmy nominations as for riding a bicycle to the Oscars.

His father was also an actor, and Begley followed in his footsteps, working his way up from cameraman and stand-up comic.  “I’m not a wealthy person,” he said, “because I was never a star.  I was a working actor and a supporting actor.”  He has appeared in more than 100 movies and countless television programs, along with a featured role in the hit series St. Elsewhere, from 1982-1988.

His environmental work is as impressive as his acting work.  Begley got turned on to the environment at the first Earth Day, in 1970.  Since then, he has worked continuously to drive his ecological footprint smaller and smaller.  “All this stuff was very cheap.  So I stayed with it.  And it’s been a series of continuous discoveries ever since.” He lives now in a LEED-certified platinum home in southern California.  The home—and his electric car—is powered almost entirely by solar panels.  The walls are extra-thick to provide insulation.  He has two drainage systems for water, allowing “gray” water to be diverted into a 10,000-gallon cistern used to irrigate a fruit orchard.  He still uses a stationary bicycle with a generator attached to create electricity—enough in a 15-minute work-out to make his morning toast.

Ed Begley Jr. addresses an environmental conferences (photo by California Air Resources Board)

He has been recognized many times for his environmental stewardship and example, including by the California League of Conservation Voters and the Natural Resources Defense Council.  In 2009, he was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame.  He has served on the boards of many environmental organizations, including the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy.  He was named to the Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Commission in 1993, but later quit because they killed too many trees by wasting paper.  He was an early opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Begley promotes the idea that we can all be environmentalists, and we don’t have to be perfect, we just have to keep working at it.  “People are overwhelmed looking up at the Mount Everest of environmental challenges that we face.  But you put one foot in front of the other and you recognize that not everyone is Sir Edmund Hillary.”  He has developed products, like an all natural cleaner, that put his principles into practice.  He has developed and starred in several television programs designed to teach and illustrate environmental living, and his website, Begley Living, promotes sustainable lifestyles.  Ed Begley Jr. is the personification of the idea to “think globally and act locally.”

References:

Begley Living.  About Ed.  Available at:  https://begleyliving.com/the-begleys/ed-begley-jr/about-ed/.  Accessed September 15, 2017.

Colby, Anne.  2014.  Eco-conscious Ed Begley Jr. lives by example.  Los Angeles Times, April 21, 2014.  Available at:  http://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-ed-begley-jr-20140419-story.html.  Accessed September 15, 2017.

Internet Movie Database.  Ed Begley Jr. Biography.  Available at:  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000893/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm.  Accessed September 15, 2017.

National Environmental Hall of Fame.  2009.  Ed Begley, Jr. Inducted into National Environmental hall of Fame.  Available at:  http://edbegleyevent.blogspot.com/.  Accessed September 15, 2017.

This Month in Conservation

February 1
Afobaka Dam and Operation Gwamba (1964)
February 2
Groundhog Day
February 3
George Adamson, African Lion Rehabilitator, Born (1906)
February 4
Congress Overrides President Reagan’s Veto of Clean Water Act (1987)
February 5
National Wildlife Federation Created (1936)
February 6
Colin Murdoch, Inventor of the Tranquilizer Gun, Born (1929)
February 7
Karl August Mobius, Ecology Pioneer, Born (1825)
February 8
President Johnson Addresses Congress about Conservation (1965)
February 8
Lisa Perez Jackson, Environmental Leader, Born (1982)
February 9
U.S. Fish Commission Created (1871)
February 10
Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet, born (1944)
February 11
International Day of Women and Girls in Science
February 12
Judge Boldt Affirms Native American Fishing Rights (1974)
February 13
Thomas Malthus Born (1766)
February 14
Nature’s Faithful Lovers
February 15
Complete Human Genome Published (2001)
February 16
Kyoto Protocol, Controlling Greenhouse-Gas Emissions, Begins (2005)
February 16
Alvaro Uglade, Father of Costa Rica’s National Parks, Born (1946)
February 17
Sombath Somphone, Laotian Environmentalist, Born (1952)
February 17
R. A. Fischer, Statistician, Born (1890)
February 18
Julia Butterfly Hill, Tree-Sitter, Born (1974)
February 18
World Pangolin Day
February 19
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Established (1962)
February 20
Ansel Adams, Nature Photographer, Born (1902)
February 21
Carolina Parakeet Goes Extinct (1918)
February 22
Nile Day
February 23
Italy’s Largest Inland Oil Spill (2010)
February 24
Joseph Banks, British Botanist, Born (1743)
February 25
First Federal Timber Act Passed (1799)
February 26
Four National Parks Established (1917-1929)
February 27
International Polar Bear Day
February 28
Watson and Crick Discover The Double Helix (1953)
February 29
Nature’s Famous Leapers
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