‘Razzi Interview :: Ed Begley Jr. & Rachelle Carson On Their Upcoming Eco Show, ‘Living With Ed’

To read the introduction this post, please click here.

Ecorazzi: Rachelle, you and Ed have been married for about six years now. When you first entered into this relationship, did it take a bit to get used to with Ed being as passionate as he is about the environment?

Rachelle: Well, um, I’m still getting used to it and unlike what Ed likes to think — that I’m this horrible consumer — I’ve always cared about the environment. I’m from Atlanta, GA. I was raised in a very pristine, beautiful place. The environment was always very important to me. And yet, I’m Southern, I like my creature comforts too. So, yes, there’s a conflict going on. It’s a different lifestyle we lead, this urban setting, and getting used to Ed. Ed is a very unique person. I think in any setting. In Ithaca, NY, he would be unique. But with regards to ‘getting used to it’, I’m always in awe of his ability to conserve and his discipline.

Ecorazzi: How did the idea for Living with Ed come about? Is it something HGTV approached you about?

Rachelle: A friend of ours, who we had done a film with a couple years ago, suggested the idea. We’ve known him through certain situations and he’s kind of witnessed our dynamics; our bickering, (some people think it’s humorous, some might think it’s tiring) but we have a unique way of relating to one another. So he witnessed that, he understands how we both live, and how different we both are, and he’s in that reality world of television programming. And with green being in, he just saw the comedy potential with a really important message.

Ecorazzi: Some people might look at the two of you on this show and think you’ve gone to some pretty crazy extremes; Ed rolling a solar oven around the backyard to cook food, riding a bike to run a toaster, etc. Are there practical messages of sustainability that people can learn from the series?

Ed: I think there will be a lot of takeaways; that’s the thing that we’re going to try and stress, that people should grab the low-hanging fruit first. Not everybody is going to buy a hybrid car, an electric car, put up solar panels, or maybe even do solar hot water — that may be out of people’s budgets — even though it’s a lot less than solar electric. But people can afford a light bulb. They can afford a thermostat if it’s going to put them into profit in six months. They can afford perhaps some insulation, if they have a little piece of dirt in their backyard or front yard, they can plant some vegetables, they can afford to compost, or ride a bike or take a bus. Those things are quite affordable; indeed they’re quite cost-effective.

Ecorazzi: One of the things we often blog about is that Americans need to learn to conserve first before we can really make any progress with all this cool green technology we have. Would you agree with that?

Rachelle: Absolutely.

Ed: I agree.

Rachelle: Although, I have to say, it’s more second-nature now. I think twice before I throw anything away. And I always check with Ed, “Can I throw this away?” We have various cans around our house that all hold paper, and then we have recycling, we have the composting — it’s a little more effort, but it’s doable and it just becomes a part of what you do. I mean, the point of the whole show is that if I can do it, anyone can do it. Because, I can definitely tell you at the drop of a hat that I’m very self centered and selfish! I like things a certain way, I like things to look a certain way; and while I don’t like to go out of my way, I can and it’s very doable. That’s maybe not a great confession…

Ecorazzi: Well, if people can relate to that…some people might amusingly look at Ed and say, “Ok, that’s pretty funny, I could never imagine myself doing that.” But, Rachelle, having you tag along and making an effort with even small changes, people could potentially gain inspiration for baby steps and maybe work up to what Ed is doing. It might flip a switch.

Rachelle: And Ed has had to make compromises too in his fanaticism. He’s pretty out there. Like for instance, he would never get on an airplane. Never. You know, occasionally you have to get on an airplane.

Ecorazzi: Do you both fly commercial or private?

Ed: I never fly private. I would never even fly commercial for awhile. So now, once in awhile, if it’s important, I will get in a plane. Rachelle has woken me up to a certain reality where I can perhaps do greater good by going to the environmental event. I used to say, my contribution to the environmental event is not coming. Why? Because I’m not going to use the jet fuel, I’m not going to burn kerosene at 31,000 feet, that’s my contribution is to not come, but thank you. Not everybody got that, so once in awhile — I still use that rule — but once in awhile I use the jet fuel sometimes for the greater good.

Ecorazzi: Some green celebrities have been branded lately as hypocrites due to their use of private jets. Ecorazzi tends to think that, while it’s a bad thing, these people are far from hypocrites with the positive messages they’re spreading of sustainability.

Rachelle: Absolutely. You know, you can find the downside of anything. But, it’s true about private jets — and occasionally there are circumstances that merit their use.

Ed: Yea, you know, it’s not for me but many people feel that —-

Rachelle: For me, I like them. I do prefer that way of flying, it’s comfortable. But I do understand the costs involved.

Ecorazzi: There was an article about how Hollywood films are causing a good deal of LA’s pollution. I noticed that the production of Living with Ed was very green — using hybrid vehicles, recycling materials used during filming, shooting with solar-powered television cameras, etc. Are there any changes on Hollywood sets that you’ve noticed with regards to recycling, or off-setting films? Have you personally mentioned anything?

Ed: Yea, the change is happening. It’s happening slower than I would have hoped, but it’s happening so you take your little victories where you can get them and try to build from there.

Rachelle: What about that film that was carbon neutral?

Ed: Well, there were several of them. Syriana, An Inconvenient Truth, Sweet Land. There are ways you can make a film set greener with carpooling, recycling…

Ecorazzi: Did you guys both ride bikes to the premiere of “For Your Consideration”?

Rachelle: No!

Ed: No, she didn’t want to ride a bike. We took our electric RAV4. She’s got her dress to worry about…

Ecorazzi: Do you feel some celebrities are trying to look good by purchasing a hybrid? Or is there true concern in Hollywood overall for the environment?

Ed: There’s a sense of caring. I’m not even going to go there. I don’t think anyone is doing it because their publicist told them to do it. I would hope not.

Rachelle: People aren’t that selfish. You spend a lot of time in your car in LA, you’ve got to sort of enjoy and appreciate the car. That’s the beauty of a Prius, you’re not sacrificing a lot having a Prius; it’s safe, it’s economical, all those things…

Ecorazzi: Rachelle, any guilty non-green pleasures that Ed doesn’t know about?

Rachelle: Hmm, well we’re pretty open. Shopping is a guilty-pleasure. And sometimes, I have to admit, I will not walk out to the compost…

Ed: Ah Ha! Gotcha!

Ecorazzi: Ed, you were recently at SEMA promoting an electric truck, the Phoenix SUT. Did you get a chance to drive it?

Ed: I drove it; it’s really good. If you needed a truck, that would be the one to get and I may soon need a truck with my Begley’s Best business. For now, I’m getting around fine with a mini-truck, the RAV4. When I need to go further, I take Rachelle’s Prius. If you need a truck, that would be the one to get, I really like it.

Ecorazzi: And how is Begley’s Best doing?

Ed: It’s doing good. It’s in Whole Foods, Wild Oats, a lot of different places. I’m really happy with where it’s at right now.

Any green gossip you would like to share? Has Eugene Levy littered recently?

Ed: Nothing that I can say. [Laughter]

Ecorazzi: One final question, if “Living with Ed” takes off, will we see you two on “Dancing with the Stars”?

Ed: Rachelle is quite the dancer. I don’t know about me, but maybe her.

Living with Ed can be seen on HGTV at 10pm on Sundays, starting January 7th. A sneak peak will be available on New Year’s Day at 1pm immediately following the Rose Parade. Many thanks to Ed and Rachelle for sharing their thoughts with us.