It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green

This article appeared in the on-line magazine for actors The Networker on August 1, 2008

My name is Enci. I’m an actor. A green actor.

The environmentally conscious lifestyle is sometimes tough for an actor. The challenges of life in the city combined with the urgency and the erratic schedule of the acting profession makes it hard to slow down, plan ahead, hug a tree, write a haiku, save the world and still find time to explore my character, hit my mark and deliver my lines – all the while wearing high-heels and trying not to perspire.

My approach is to always be prepared and pack my bag so that I’m ready for anything – not just in the audition but in my journey through life. So just like when I audition for a role, I always ask myself as I pack my bag for the day, “Where am I?,” “What are my objectives?” and one that I made up for myself , “What will I leave behind?”

Here is a list of the things I have to have with me, some of which are very basic:

Wallet with money, ID, SAG and AFTRA card, Metro pass, house key, sunglasses and back-up contact lenses, notebook (made with recycled paper), powder (for face and for body), Kleenex, pen, highlighter, 2 or 3 headshots with resumes attached, Chapstick and lipstick, cell phone and iPod.

But here is where my non-basic things come in: coffee mug, SIGG water bottle, reusable utensils and canvas bag.

You might ask why I need all these things. Well, I like to be prepared and I don’t like to leave behind a trail of styrofoam, plastic and other waste. I might drop by a coffee shop somewhere on my daily travels, I might buy a yummy piece of cake at the coffee shop and I like to use my own utensils. Since I ride my bike everywhere, I know that I’m always thirsty, so I like to keep hydrated and fill up my bottle on the road. And of course, I might stop by my local grocery store on my way home to get some Grey Poupon, so the canvas bag is important. I won’t use the plastic bag that the grocery stores offer.

According to a press release by Tully’s Coffee Company in 2007, Americans send 16 billion plastic disposable cups to landfills every year! According to Smithsonian Magazine, each year an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year or in landfills…almost 3 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year worldwide. Nearly 80 percent of all water bottles are not recycled and wind up in landfills.

These numbers make me dizzy! I’m not a mathematician and I don’t want to be one. I want to be an actor. But since the world is watching actors and since the world likes to imitate everything that the entertainment industry throws at them, I like to show my best, be my best and leave less behind. I hope that when I do this I inspire others.

So next time you go to an audition or on a coffee date, don’t forget to pack your reusable bottle, mug and utensils. Not only is it sexier to drink out of your own personalized cup, you are also going to have a great conversation about it at the casting office. 🙂 And next time you are on set, pull out your own reusable utensils at the lunch table. I promise you will turn heads and make people smile!

Kermit might have been right when he said, “It’s not easy bein’ green,” but I would argue that it’s worth it. It’s a great feeling to know that you are doing something to change the world simply by packing your bag and lightening the impact of your journey.

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