Please click on image to go to Flickr site and ENLARGE view of Ed Begley preparing to sign copies of his book after lecturing on the environmentally friendly lifestyle at the Fayetteville Public Library on October 23, 2009.
The Morning News
Local News for Northwest Arkansas
Begley Points Way To Green, Sustainable Living
By Charles Huggins
THE MORNING NEWS
FAYETTEVILLE — A quick rundown of Ed Begley Jr.'s Studio City home would make the most ardent of environmentalists green with envy.
The actor's cozy but eco-friendly house boasts solar power, a wind turbine, low-flush toilets, a toaster powered by a stationary bike and a new product called GreenSwitch that wirelessly conserves phantom power to electrical devices in stand-by or off modes, just to name a few features.
Outside he waters his drought-tolerant plants and vegetables with a 550-gallon greywater system filtered from his home's wastewater. He often cooks using a solar oven, and the white picket fence surrounding his home is made from recycled plastic milk containers.
Begley Jr. walks the walk when it comes to green living and reducing his family's carbon footprint, evident in his manic, often off-beat delivery he shared with about 500 people Friday at the Fayetteville Public Library.
Even though he remains hopeful, Begley doesn't shy away from the environmental problems our world faces.
"We can do this. Never let anybody tell you we can't. There's many challenges that we have but we can do this because we've shown time and again we can. ... There's so many opportunities to prosper. I believe there can be green-collar jobs and lots of them," Begley said.
Begley began small in the 1970s, doing what he could afford to lead a green lifestyle before it was en vogue. He was inspired by his father, Oscar-winning actor Ed Begley Sr., who lived a conservative life despite his success.
"I did a lot of these things as much to honor him as anything. He never used the word environmentalist, but he was one," he said.
In his recently published book "Ed Begley Jr.'s Guide To Sustainable Living" and in his reality TV show "Living With Ed," Begley chronicles what anyone with the most meager of means can do to live green and save some green in their wallets.
"I think anybody can afford energy-efficient lightbulbs," Begley Jr. said, adding that home energy audits, weather stripping, bike riding and home composting also benefits the environment. "Every single thing I just mentioned is very cheap."
Begley toured the library Friday afternoon and was impressed with its cistern that catches rainwater for irrigation, waterless urinals and lighting control systems that harness natural light. The building is the first in the state to be LEED certified, a national standard for green, sustainable buildings.
"I've come here to Fayetteville and seen things I've never seen in any other library," Begley Jr. said. "You have much here, and of course, the wonderful LEED certification for this building that is not only good for the environment, it's good for the bottom line of this library in the long run."
Sandy Morris of Springdale attended the event not just for herself but for her son, Staff Sgt. Parker Morris, a Begley fan stationed oversees in the Army. She bought one of the actor's books to get it autographed for him.
"I'm sure (Begley) is doing what we all should be doing," Morris said.