Standing at an imposing 6’2″ tall (I’m guessing based on my husband’s 6’3″ height. I never asked him exactly how tall he was), Ed Begley, Jr. leads the charge in the battle ofagainst the fuel and electric companies. He fights the battle because it is something he fervently believes in. His battle did not start with Al Gore. It did not start with Bill Clinton. It did not even start in the last twenty years. Mr. Begley has been fighting the battle since 1970. His father fought the pollution, and so does he. His father was a great inspiration to him, not just in his environmental beliefs but in becoming an actor. Ed Begley, Sr. acted in “Gunsmoke”, “Bonanza”, and many other television shows from the 1960’s.
The clean energy movement can be traced back to former President Theodore Roosevelt who set aside many acres of land, now known as Yellowstone National Park. Those who oppose the ‘green’ movement will criticize the handling of Yellowstone. While park management did, indeed, make many mistakes in the handling of it, today Yellowstone stands as an educational landmark.
Ed’s major fight began around the time his father died in 1970. By 1989 his acting roles became limited and his agent advised him to limit his support of green living. Ed felt no need to do so and continued his fight against air pollution as well as his fight to keep working. He found a whole new audience with the debut of his show, “Living With Ed” where his environmental beliefs have found a huge audience.
Mother Earth News magazine holds green living fairs all around the country. This year, Ed was a guest speaker. It truly was an honor meeting this man who has developed a thick skin based on the verbal abuse he has received for believing in his cause. Nothing was going to change his mind before and nothing will change it today. Meeting him was the highlight of my weekend. He was genuinely courteous and knowledgeable about his product. When he spoke to me, he looked me directly in the eyes. He did not function as most of us do, in a distracted manner. He showed a true ability with people, which many of the vendors lacked. You might think it might be just the opposite, but many of the vendors were rather rude, to say the least. Ed made up for all of the rudeness they displayed.
The fair drew thousands especially on Sunday when Ed’s presence was obvious. He walked through the crowds without fear. He gave a lecture on Sunday which, due to our long drive, we were unable to stay for, but having met the man, we felt we had gotten what we had driven six hours to see…the opportunity to meet the General of the Clean Air Movement and a ton of knowledge which will make life a little easier for us, and hopefully for him, as well. The man is not crazy. He is dedicated. Two thumbs up to a modern day hero.