By Stephanie Ciccarelli
April 21, 2009
What will you be doing for Earth Day?
I'm pleased to welcome back actor, writer and the source of many intellectual musings, Edoardo Ballerini.
Join me now in this discussion about how you can make a difference and how the entertainment industry can help make our world a better place.
VOX: Edoardo, thank you for joining me again on VOX Daily. Welcome :) How have you been?
EDOARDO BALLERINI: I have been well, thank you. Our industry has been shifting quickly, and along with the economic uncertainty, has created some interesting challenges, but it can be a period of re-evaluation and re-positioning. On the voice side of things, I'm putting together a series of audiobooks, as both voice talent and producer, something I wouldn't have imagined even two years ago. Oh, and since we've spoken, I got to do my first animation gig, for "Batman: The Brave and the Bold," which was a blast!
VOX: That's great news, Edoardo! From listening to your Mineralava Musings podcast, I have discovered, among other things, that you are quite interested in the environment and are passionate about how people in the entertainment industry can help to minimize their direct impact on the planet. As Earth Day is now upon us, I thought it would be nice to chat with you a bit about how we can make a difference, too. Before we get too far in, what drives you to be so eco-conscious?
EB: If I had a "moment of zen" about being eco-conscious it was during a hike a few years back. I looked out at this magnificent landscape of hills and earth and along the ridge I saw... power lines. I don't begrudge power lines per se, but it struck me just how insensitive we as a race of people were about the natural environment. Surely, there's a way to supply power without desecrating natural beauty!
My belief is this: there are small things we can all do that, added up, make a huge difference. I can't claim to be perfectly eco-conscious, but there are simple choices we could make, that don't even impact the quality of our lives. Bringing a mug to the coffee shop, using cloth bags at the supermarket, re-using bottles for water instead of buying them new every time, planning a route for errands and doing them all at once, eating less meat. Little things.
But my big passion in this area is in buying used goods whenever possible. From clothing to furniture to equipment, buying used means saving something from the scrap heap, fewer materials used, and virtually no shipping costs since used goods tend to be purchased locally.
VOX: Doing little things to help does make a significant impact. We do a lot of recycling and composting at our house and also use reusable bags when grocery shopping. On another note, you live in Los Angeles for the most part in addition to spending quite a bit of time in New York and London, all large cities deeply involved in the artistic scene. In your opinion, what could Hollywood, and other centers of entertainment, be doing better (or doing more of) to help the environment?
EB: Well, if we as individuals can do the little things, then the studios and networks around the world can do the big things, and I believe they have that responsibility. They can power their buildings through solar panels, keep their money in "green" banks, replace fleets of cars with hybrids and electrics, that kind of thing. But they can also incorporate "green" themes into programming and content. The same way that smoking has all but been eradicated from films, imagine if we were exposed to characters who lived eco-friendly lifestyles. It could help it become the cultural norm and not an "alternative."
VOX: All great points! In which ways can voice actors working from home make a difference? Is there anything in particular that you suggest doing?
EB: Voice actors working from home are already doing a lot by simply not being on the roads, or using courier services to deliver CDs. I recognize that there's a trade-off because computer equipment has a lot of hazardous materials inside, but on balance, it's a great thing to do, not to mention a lot less stressful than getting stuck on a freeway or subway!
VOX: While digital technology has created some eco-friendly solutions, such as the potential of the paperless office, has the technology also in some ways created issues for the environment? Are we using more energy than before, for instance, to power up gear?
EB: Ah, I anticipated your question! Yes, powering up gear requires energy, of course, but it's likely that our computers and mixers will become more energy efficient than our cars. And if you travel to a studio, you're still confronted with using energy once you arrive, so cutting out a step makes sense.
VOX: Buying second-hand or gently used items is a great idea that I know you are also a fan of. What kind of things can be purchased used and how does buying used items such as clothing or recording equipment help to reduce our consumption of natural resources?
EB: Hmmm... I seem to have gotten ahead of your questions. But I can add another something to the idea of buying used. For many years, I think there was a stigma against it because the things you got would be of poor quality, truly the discarded bits of people's lives that nobody would want. But the advent of sites like craigslist and eBay have made it possible to search beyond the local Salvation Army, and there are truly some amazing things out there for sale. So you can get what you want, save money, and do some good all at once.
VOX: Are there any ways that voice talent specifically can contribute to making the world a greener, better place?
EB: What voice actors can do is what anybody else can do. Get educated, make some simple changes to habits, and realize that our resources are, in fact, finite. We have to be smart about how we use them! And because we do use a lot of equipment, it's important that we understand how to discard of it when it comes time to do so.
VOX: Note taken. I'm glad you pointed that out, Edoardo. Sometimes professionals don't see beyond their own little worlds and it's always good to remind ourselves that voice actors, while unique to a degree, are people just like anyone else. That being said, how will you be spending Earth Day?
EB: I'll be spending Earth Day in New York, a city that can often feel devoid of nature. But I just read about an artist who wants people to sprinkle wildflower seeds around town, wherever there's a tree-bed or some patch of earth. I thought that was very clever, so I'll do that.
If you have anything you'd like to add to this conversation, please comment below. I'm looking forward to hearing from you! Now, off to plant some wild flowers...
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