Green Living Tips from Ed Begley, Jr.

We were first introduced to Ed Begley, Jr. as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the television series St. Elsewhere. These days he’s entertaining us with his reality show Living with Ed. The popular Planet Green show, which airs on HGTV,  teaches us to get more green as we watch Ed educate his family: actress-wife Rachelle Carson and daughter Hayden.  

Our favourite green actor has also written a book, Living Like Ed. He offers RD readers an excerpt from the book with his eco-friendly tips for clothing and personal care products.

All the Things You Put On Your Skin

If you stop for just a minute and think about it, the same principles that apply to organic gardening and organic farming clearly should apply to the growing of crops used to make clothing and hair-care and skin-care products, too. Pesticides that are harmful to food and the ecosystem are just as harmful when they’re used on nonfood crops like cotton and lavender.

And then there are the synthetic materials used to make everything from clothing and shoes to makeup and sunscreen. Manufacturing these materials requires a lot of energy and natural resources—including problematic resources like petroleum—not to mention all the emissions from the manufacturing processes.

So there are real, measurable consequences for the environment—as well as for our bodies—when you choose what to wear and what to apply to your skin and hair. For that reason, it is doubly important to choose carefully and wisely when you shop for clothes and beauty products.

Organic Cotton

Fortunately, organic cotton is a good alternative to pesticid-laden cotton. Sure it costs more. But how much more? A buck? Or Two? For a T-shirt I’ll be wearing next to my skin for many years, even if it’s an extra five bucks, it’s worth it to me.

Organic Clothing

It’s also important to point out that organic clothing is not just limited to cotton. You can also find organic clothing made from hemp, ramie, jute, bamboo, silk and wool.

Organic Skin Care and Hair Care

Rachelle and I have become really attuned to concerns about skin- and hair-care products. We use the best plant-based, natural products that we can. That word natural doesn’t always have much meaning, but what I mean by that is products made with the healthiest materials, products that don’t have parabens. Parabens come mostly from fragrances, so I avoid fragrances.

You can find quality, natural, paraben-free products in health food stores. Most hair salons also now offer a complete range of wonderful, natural haircare products.

Natural Cosmetics

Companies are coming out with mineral makeup that offers good sun protection and in colors that Rachelle assures me are appealing and fashionable. Some cosmetic companies have a complete mineral line with everything you’d want, from foundation to eyeliner.

Reducing Your Exposure to Toxins

Every day, you have the opportunity to be exposed to toxins. Or you can make healthier choices that will also be kinder to the planet.

You can choose to support organic farmers, organic textile companies, organic clothing designers, and organice retailers. You can choose to support natural hair-care and skin-care companies. Even if you have a hard time finding these products locally, let me assure you they are readily available online.

Just by simply choosing healthful options every day, you can make a world of difference. You can improve your health and the health of the environment.

It’s all about choices. And you’ve got the power to choose.

See Ed at the 5th annual Green Toronto Awards ceremony on April 23 where he will be handing out awards to winners in recognition of their outstanding green work. The event is open to the public and tickets are free.


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