Environmental Activist Basics
Ed Begley, Jr. (Environmental Activist) gives expert video advice on: What do you think is the biggest environmental threat right now? and more...
What is an "environmental activist"?
I think the people who call themselves environmental activists draw a line in very different places. Some environmental activists say, "Well, I'm only going to eat meat one day a week now" - they do what they can. There's other environmental activists - people like Darryl Hannah or, I suppose, myself too - who draw the line in a very different place. Having been involved in environmental activism since 1970, I keep finding new ways to refine it and things to do better. The interesting thing for me, having been doing it 37 years now, is that nearly all of it is quite second nature. It's very easy to do. Most importantly, being an environmental activist is good for me. It's a good financial thing to do.
How long have you been an environmental activist?
I've been an environmental activist since 1970. We burned trash in our back yard in 1970, not in some scofflaw fashion, everybody did it. You'll see in some very old homes, that having demolished them, there'll be trash incinerators. This in a valley with a thermal inversion layer on the top three hundred some odd days a year, it was very, very bad here in LA in 1907. A lot of the people who took part in Earth Day, like myself, were motivated to do something.
Why is the world opening up to environmental activism?
You know, there's so many reasons, we have kind of a perfect storm; Perfect storm being a very apt metaphor because of Hurricane Katrina and, you know, other weather related situations that have occured. It's gotten people's attention, that there might be something to global climate change. You know people are starting to listen to the people who have PhD and who are quite knowledgeable in this arena. People who know about climate science and nearly all of them agree that a global climate change is occuring and most importantly that man has a big impact on it. So, if we have a big impact to the negative, we can certainly impact it to the positive and you know, as I've said there's one powerful lady that's motivated us to do all that. Her name is Katrina and that I think got everybody's attention. And then, Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" I think also came at just the right time, within a relatively short period of time from Hurricane Katrina and other situations like that. More and more science coming out all the time in science magazines, nature magazines, prestigious peer reviewed studies in journals. People are starting to wake up to is and see that maybe there is something to this.
What do you think is the biggest environmental threat right now?
I think the biggest environmental threat is global climate change, but when you say that, in the minds of some there is some uncertainty about global climate change; is it happening and more importantly what are the effects going to be? Are they going to be minor? Is it going to be like Y2K, where it's this big drama over something that didn't really pan out to be much of a problem at all? People fear it's going to be like that, but what I say to them is that if you take measures to combat global climate change, you're going to do a few other things. You're going to clean up the air in a city like LA or Houston or Bakersfield; some non-attainment city that isn't maintaining even the federal clean air standard. You're also going to put money into your pocket, because this stuff is good for your financial profile over the long run, and you're going to lessen our dependence on middle-Eastern oil, and I think that's a very good thing to do at this point for our national security.