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Surf City gets serious

Actor Ed Begley Jr. will be among guests at Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce's annual Green Forum and Expo.

September 10, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Ed Begley Jr. (noted actor and environmentalist) and his wife, Rachelle Carson-Begley, and architect Scott Harris oversee the steel framing for their "green" house that they are attempting to build under LEED Platinum Certified standards. It is also being filmed for their web series "On Begley Street", a Web series that explores the building of North America's greenest, most sustainable home.
Ed Begley Jr. (noted actor and environmentalist) and… (Peter Bennett )

Ed Begley Jr. was one of the estimated 20 million Americans who overran streets, parks and universities during the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. His venue of choice was Pershing Square in Los Angeles.

That was also the year when he embarked on a personal protest against environmental degradation.

Having spent the '50s in the San Fernando Valley, Begley was no stranger to smog. And trips to the Santa Monica Bay regularly refreshed his ideas about pollution.

So he turned vegetarian, began recycling and composting, purchased biodegradable soaps and detergents and hopped onto a bus or bicycle to travel across Hollywood.

"I called it 'being efficient,'" said the Studio City-based actor and director, who has driven a Toyota RAV4 EV — an electric SUV — for 11 years. His current home is also outfitted with solar panels, insulated wall panels and an energy-saving thermostat.

On Saturday, Begley, an outspoken environmentalist, will serve as the keynote speaker at the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce's Green Forum and Expo, which encourages discussions about sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyles and business practices.

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"I never really prepare a speech but can promise that I'll be talking about the energy efficiency I've sought over the years," said Begley, who serves on the boards of groups including Green Wish, the Coalition For Clean Air, and the Thoreau Institute and has been active with other environmental organizations. "I've had very few failures and many more successes in all that I've implemented."

The day will begin with the city's inaugural forum, from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Shorebreak Hotel. It will feature a panel discussion with Huntington Beach Community Gardens President Annette Parsons, Harvest Club Orange County founder Jeff Lebow and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fellow Sarah Dominguez. In addition, Mayor Connie Boardman will speak and Earth Friendly Products will offer a presentation.

Attendees are then invited to walk over to Pier Plaza, where more than 45 vendors will man stalls until 3 p.m. Themes like water conservation, climate change, recycling and energy efficiency will be on display alongside live performances and Huntington Beach High School art students painting banners depicting visions of sustainability.

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