Living Like Ed

Published: June 7, 2010

By Jim Lichtman
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Of course the biggest aspect to the whole BP crisis circles back to our dependence – not just on foreign oil – but oil… period. It’s the Jabba the Hut the media, in all their special reports on BP, doesn’t talk about.

Anyone remember the oil crisis in the 70s?  Of course not.  That was 40 years ago. What began as anger from all the long gas lines from shortages morphed into a lot of short-term talk about changing our ways. Oh, and a few other things like Washington lobbyists and… the one word no one wants to bring up in the land of the free… lifestyle.

Let’s face it, we like the freedom to buy and drive any big, honkin’, 4X, GPS-equipped, leather-upholstered, gas-guzzling SUV down to the nearest Starbucks so we can fill-up our 20oz. Venti cups with Caramel Machiatto.

When it comes to freedom, whether it’s free to say what we want, drive what we want or carry guns into Starbucks when we want… don’t mess with us!

But somewhere in our iEverything thinking, we (and I use the collective we, because we’re all in this together) we don’t want to think about the responsibilities that go along with those freedoms. There’s a price to pay for all this and some of that price has been washing up on the shores of the Gulf Coast.

According to the U.S. Government’s Energy Information Administration, the United States consumes about 400 million gallons of gasoline every day. That equates to about 20 million barrels of oil every day!

Like it or not, in a very real sense, we all have contributed to the crisis in the Gulf by our insistence of wanting to live with a lot of gas-dependent toys.

How can we change?  Individual action and… maybe a little fun.

After speaking in Florida last month, my wife and I rented a Prius to drive up the coast to Savannah and Charleston.  We drove approximately 275 miles and spent exactly $27.00 for gas. I was shocked.  I’m now looking around to buy an all-electric vehicle to drive.

But actor Ed Begley goes much further than that.

Like a remake of the 60’s comedy Green AcresLiving with Ed is HGTV’s reality series with Begley as both preacher and teacher in the ways of all things environmental.  And his environmentally imperfect wife Rachelle (the Lisa character) is the perfect foil for all of Ed’s inscrutable ways to change their lifestyle without changing their lives… much.

The Chores… Ed stands with a stopwatch timing one of Rachelle’s lengthy showers.

The Stores… Rachelle tries to persuade Ed to attend the Eco-Stiletto Ball in order to use Ed’s star power to get free stuff.

Fresh Air… Ed and Rachelle are invited to Colorado for a film festival. Ed drives his eco-car while Rachelle flies, but not before Ed goes on-line and purchases carbon credits to offset her usage of jet fuel.

Times Square… Ed’s in New York for a book-signing while Rachelle attempts to have Ed join her in a romantic ride through Central Park, but Ed nixes the carriage ride to avoid animal cruelty.

You are my wife…

Goodbye consuming life!

Green Acres we are THERE!

The show’s got everything but Arnold the pig.

At the end of the day (a day that costs the Begley household about $1.65 in electrical energy due to solar panels) Ed, Rachelle and their young daughter live comfortably while making a difference.

We can’t do everything. But we all can do something.

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