Originally published September 7 2009
Interview with Ed Begley, Jr., start of "Living with Ed" TV series on Planet Green
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) Mike Adams interviews Ed Begley, Jr., the start of the hit TV series Living with Ed (http://www.livingwithed.net).
Mike: We're here with Ed Begley, Jr. What's on your mind these days Ed?
Living with EdEd: Mike, I've been enjoying this show that I have been doing with my wife called Living with Ed. It's on Home and Garden Television, HGTV. It's been on every Sunday night now since January 1st and they have been rerunning it.
Now we just got picked up for 13 more. So we're going to start that in a week or two, and we're going to be airing them in a few months after that. It's a wonderful show that through entertainment value gets people to tune in. I've done environmental shows before. The problem is they were very dry and nobody watched.
I had a show on Discovery Channel that was on at four in the morning that had very low viewership, and it was about recycling and saving energy and all this stuff, but it never really reached a wide audience. We're doing this show now that has a very wide audience. We have gotten over a million people many weeks that we've been on. So we do that through showing our life as a reality show.
We're not quite the Osbournes, but we have a very interesting way of relating to each other. I care very deeply about the environment. My wife cares about the environment too, but she's very interested in style and comfort. She comes at it from that point of view.
I am happy to save energy. I am happy to help the environment. But I don't want to be uncomfortable. I don't want to be driving a car that doesn't look good. I don't want things in my backyard that are unattractive like those rain barrels, get them out of there. So that is kind of the angle of the show.
Once you get people to tune in with that entertainment value if you will, you can have take-aways every show, things that people can do that are simple. And that is why we chose Home and Garden and they chose us, because they are great with watch and then do. People watch Home and Garden, putting up drywall, or installing copper pipe, and they go and do it.
Mike: So you are making green living really practical.
Ed: That's the idea. And it's not just about solar panels and electric cars. We feature those things in the show. We make sure there is low hanging fruit that we're featuring every week that people can pick that are able to see some of the things we're doing that are inexpensive and put money in their pocket right away, where they can get a lot of bang for their buck: things like a compact fluorescent bulb, an energy-saving thermostat, bike riding for transportation if weather and fitness permit, public transportation if it's available in your area. All those things that are very inexpensive put cash in your wallet right away.
Mike: And do you think that the popularity of the show is due in part to, for example, the popularity of the movie Who Killed the Electric Car? Or is the timing just right now for this?
An idea whose time has comeEd: Mike, I think the timing is right. Al Gore's movie has helped. A lot of stuff, it's not just entertainment. It's what you read in USA Today and L.A. Times and New York Times and Time and News Week and all of the mainstream media. You don't even have to deal with any of the media, you can go online, go to www.NASA.com, and www.NOAA.com – you know the NOAA – National Oceanographic Atmospheric website, and on and on.
You can go to all these websites and check out some of the challenges that we face, and I say challenges because they are not insurmountable. You know I want to stress people get bummed out by the bad news. There's lots of good news out there too. Look what we did with the ozone hole. It's not getting bigger, it's getting smaller with the banning of CFC's.
The problem with the air in L.A., it's been horrible choking smog since I was a young man in L.A., but since 1970 and the Clean Air Act and other air quality rules, it's gotten better, not worse. We have four times the amount of cars in L.A., yet we have half the ozone. We should all get a medal. This stuff works.
Good technology works and you can see a lot of it here and we're partnering with the best people like Pangea soap. We're here at the Pangea soap booth today because they make the best soap. Everything about this company is great.
You take the packaging – you can plant it in the ground. It has seeds embedded in it and the packaging itself is biodegradable. So the very packaging itself you can plant in the ground and something will grow from it. The soap is totally organic. It's all fair trade.
Everything about the company is great. All the profits are going to be used to design and build and maintain this environmental center, environmental institute to teach people about sustainability. So it's a great company and that's why we partnered with Pangea on the show.
Environmental responsibility leads to financial successMike: Isn't this company then – and Joshua who founded it – isn't this a great example of the new wave of corporate responsibility, how corporations can actually become constructive instead of destructive to the environment?
Ed: Look at what they've done with Pangea. It's a wonderful, thriving company that's growing like crazy. Look at Jeffrey Hollander and Seventh Generation and what he's done. It's a huge success story. He's doing a great business and being rewarded financially as he should be by doing the right thing, planning for what you know the Native Americans, Seven Generations was the idea, and he founded a company on that, and he is doing very well and he will continue to do well.
People like Ray Anderson, you know his carpet company. Years ago he said wait a minute, people don't really want to own carpet. He had an epiphany. They want to basically lease it if you will. We want those fibers back. We're going to remanufacture them into new carpet because carpet, you'd buy it new, you'd stain the hell out of it, then you'd throw it in a landfill.
It was a horrible cycle, but that fiber was usable when you're done with it. Whatever kind of coffee stain or anything you had on it, there was a process by which you could take that stuff out, you could reuse that fiber and make new carpet again and again. He figured that out and he's done very well financially with it.
Companies like Northern Telecom, they used to use CFC's. They found another way to wash their circuit boards without CFC's long before they were mandated by rules. They took the lead. They started to save money doing it. They suddenly saved $250,000 a year not buying these expensive CFC's and washing their circuit boards in another way.
Companies are thriving because of this. You can see it in Fortune Magazine and Forbes Magazine. There's companies doing very, very well being good environmental stewards and that's going to be a continuing trend.
Mike: And you have a lot of examples of good news and solutions that are working, but yet out there we still have many skeptics that say well there's no such thing as global warming, and there's really nothing wrong with the environment, and this is all overblown. How do you educate those people? How do you answer those kinds of skeptical questions?
Using unbiased sources to find information you can trustEd: People are rightly skeptical of the media. That's why I tell people to steer clear of the media if you will. Don't get any of your information from me or Rush Limbaugh. Don't get it from either side, don't even get it from Time and News Week. Read that with interest, but go online.
If you have a library near, you don't even have to own a computer nowadays. You can go to the library and use the computer and get online and go to NASA, NOAA, you tell me who you trust. Do you trust National Geographic? If you trust National Geographic, go to their website and ask about global climate change or some of these pollution issues that we're talking about - over-fishing.
You'll just find somebody that you trust out there credible. Steer clear of websites on the left or right. Stay right in the middle with credible people, peer-reviewed studies and things like that. Science magazines, nature magazines, the most credible people who publish scientific papers; stick with them and you'll come to the same conclusion I have because that's where the information that I've gotten began.
Mike: Sure. When people do that, sometimes they're confused about what kinds of solutions they can use. On your show then, do you cover specific products that you recommend or things that people can do easily at home to be more green living?
Ed: Exactly. People have been overcome with the scope of the problems. Now they're overcome with the scope of the solutions. So we're saying here you are, you don't run up Mt. Everest, you get to base camp. You get acclimated.
We're going to help you pick some climbing gear too. Day one you've got to have good boots and this and that. So we urge people to get a compact fluorescent bulb, get an energy-saving thermostat, get a bus pass if you have public transportation in your area, get a bicycle if weather and fitness permit, get some good products like Pangea products, you know the great soaps and body care / facial care products – terrific products that are good for the environment and good for your body and good for your pocketbook.
These things last long, you don't have skin issues, you don't have to go to a skin doctor because you're using some harsh skin treatment solution or some harsh soap. It's going to be good for your bottom line, all these things that I mentioned. So that's what I urge people to do, and that's why we've partnered with the best companies – companies like Pangea.
People are waking up to the reality of their impact on the environmentMike: It seems like part of the pattern of what you recommend and what kinds of solutions you seek out are to think beyond the moment of consumption, what happens to that packaging, what happens downstream? Are people getting this message now, do you think?
Ed: They are. I think it's been hammered into them enough. People have heard it long enough. They are starting to really get it. They see that people like me, I'm no millionaire, Mike. I never made a million dollars in my life, or saved a million dollars I should say.
I've certainly made some money in my life as an actor, but I'm no millionaire, so I'm not some rich movie star, but I'm wealthy in another way. It's not like I have a lot of money; I don't need a lot of money. By that I mean my monthly bills are very low. Why? Because of all these things I invested in starting in 1970.
I don't have much of an electric bill because I bought a lot of solar in 1990. I don't have a big hot water bill. I've been using solar hot water since the mid 80's. I have good investments, good sound investments that give me a lot of money. Why? Because I invested in wind power, part of a wind farm in 1985.
I don't ever have to paint my fence again. Why? Because it's white all the way through. It's made of recycled plastic. There's no termites or water damage. It's never going to affect it. On and on, all these I did around my house and my life have been good for the environment and good for my bottom line, and people are starting to get that now.
Mike: This comes to the point of authenticity because as you describe these solutions, these are things that you didn't just hop on a bandwagon when green became cool. I mean you've been living this and exploring these solutions for decades.
Ed: Thank you.
Mike: It's been a real honor to interview you.
Ed: Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
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