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Enciby Enci

Talk the Walk

The stimulus package, the upcoming elections, candidates making promises in an effort to get elected,…there is so much talk about green energy, public transportation, recycling, sustainable living, that if we all put our will and power together and hold our friends, family and our community leaders accountable, we could help planet earth recover.

And as much as it is true that every vote counts, it is even truer that every single voice counts. Encouragement has a huge role in our planet’s recovery.

A couple years ago I was invited to join the Hollywood SAG Conservatory Committee and, because of me being a techie, I was asked to bring the Committee up to date in terms of technology. From techie I became the green girl because I always spoke up about recycling, because I always rode my bike to the meetings, because I always addressed waste at our events and urged us to promote public transportation, etc.

Last year, our Summer Seminar program had public transportation info and bike riding tips. Last year we gave out wonderful canvas bags to all the teachers who volunteered their time. The past two years we asked our visitors to bring their own food and own beverage containers and we had big jugs of refreshments instead of cans and bottles. (We didn’t completely eliminate the plastic bottles and the trash, but it will come with time.)

Sometimes it is embarrassing to speak up; I have to admit because I don’t want to be the nag. I watch my words so that I sound more encouraging and less demanding. But when someone approaches me and says thanks for keeping us on our toes, I know I did well.

There are many places that we can speak up. At work, at our local restaurant and grocery store. We can encourage our apartment manager, our boss, and the people at the gym or at the beauty salon. We can inspire daily, anywhere and anytime.

Here are some inspirations:

  • When you go eat out at your local restaurant (or if you go to any store for that matter) and they provide safe and secure bike parking, ask to speak to the manager and thank them. Next time you might be encouraged to ride your bike and the manager might be encouraged to get more racks if it fills up.
  • When you go grocery shopping and the cashier asks you if you have your own bag, thank them for thinking “outside the box” and thank the person in front of you if he refuses the plastic or paper bag.
  • When you are on a movie set (even if it’s a small budget student film), ask for a recycling bin for the background actors. (I worked on a TV show a few years ago and I asked for a recycling bin for the lounge. The PA’s looked at me as if I was insane. I insisted. They brought in some bins reluctantly and wrote on a piece of paper that said recycling and put it next to the regular trash. Most of the trash was mixed up with recyclables, so the bin didn’t make any difference really, but since then, most big studios recycle.)
  • When you eat out and ask for a doggie bag, ask for cardboard, not Styrofoam and tell them to leave the utensils, napkins and straws out of the bag, you have your own at home and no plastic bag please. You brought your own. (If you can, bring your own container and ask that to be filled.)
  • Thank restaurants who use biodegradable packaging. They probably pay a few cents more than for Styrofoam packaging and they will need all the encouragement that they can get.
  • Ask for free range chicken when you order and ask if they buy their fruits and vegetables locally at the Farmers Market. Even if they don’t, you just planted an idea into their head. And if more people will ask, the owners or the managers will start listening.
  • If bathrooms don’t use recycled paper towels, ask the manager to consider it. Recycled paper uses less energy and fewer chemicals than new and bleached paper.
  • Ask at your work or at the gym or restaurant to install motion detectors in their restrooms and to switch to efficient lighting. They could save hundreds of dollars on their electric bills and they would save a lot of greenhouse gasses.
  • Before you schedule your next screening or you promote your next theater production, find out if there is public transit near by and ask people to either use it, ride a bike or car pool. Put public transit info on all your promotional materials.
  • If your apartment has planters, team up with some neighbors and ask the manager if you can plant fruits, vegetables or herbs in these planters instead of flowers. Fruits and vegetables will not only help your community but these will flower, which will bring bees which are a sign of a healthy ecosystem in your neighborhood.
  • Do monthly “runs” to the electric waste center and collect from your neighbors batteries, CDs, DVDs, light bulbs and electronics to be saved from being thrown into the landfill.
  • Ask your city council member to have bike parking at their offices and to hold public outreach events at venues that are accessible via mass transit.
  • Ask your video rental place, your church and your library to provide for bike parking. After all, they cater to the local neighborhood and should be convenient to those who ride or walk. 🙂
  • If you want to read a book or watch a DVD, ask your friends online if they have one instead of buying new.
  • Ask beauty retailers if you can bring back your empty containers, like powder case, lotion pump, shampoo bottle, etc. Encourage them to take it back and recycle it just like Avasiare or MAC Cosmetics.

There are hundreds of ways to get people inspired and to encourage good behavior.

Actress Juana Samoyoa banged away at City Hall for two years to get green bins delivered in their little community in Northern CA, Alameda. Now, 15 years later they have a city-wide ban on Styrofoam. Woohoo!

Actor Mystery Mike spoke up at a background gig and started a recycling program for the needy.

I would love to hear your stories about green living and about speaking up. I would love to hear who inspired you to live a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. I would love to hear from you about article ideas, green living solutions and tips and tricks in your acting world.

Have a wonderful month of March! Stay inspired,

Enci is a Mother, Actress, Artist and Activist.

Contact Enci with article suggestions or find her on Twitter, Facebook and other networking sites to connect. When contacting her, please introduce yourself and tell her you read her column in the Networker.