Actor-activist Ed Begley Jr. to speak at Purdue as part of Green Week, China-U.S. EcoPartnership activities

September 1, 2011

Ed Begley Jr.

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Actor, author and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. is the keynote speaker on Sept. 26 for a sustainability conference at Purdue University focused on research in advancing biology-based energy alternatives for a global economy.

Begley's visit to Purdue, his second since 2009, is part of the university's Discovery Lecture Series. It coincides with Green Week activities and the four-day kickoff event for a new China-U.S. research partnership, which is addressing environmental challenges posed by alternative energy and climate change in the two countries.

Begley's lecture is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. His talk, titled "Live Simply So That Others Can Simply Live," is free and open to the public. A book signing is planned from 4-5 p.m. in the Fowler Hall atrium. Sponsors are Purdue's Center for the Environment, the Global Sustainability Initiative, Discovery Park and the Lilly Endowment.

"Ed Begley is one of the hottest speakers on eco-living in America and a pioneer for his empowering and humorous message on sustainable living," said John Bickham, director of the Center for the Environment in Discovery Park and a Purdue professor of forestry and natural resources.

"His theme of 'Live Simply So That Others Can Simply Live' has been received by standing ovations at over 125 events in just the last three years. He's convinced that global climate change, pollution and this nation's dependency on Mideast oil are challenges that together we can overcome."

Up to 150 U.S. and Chinese scientists and graduate students in biofuels, environmental impacts and climate research are expected to participate in Purdue's China-U.S. symposium on Sept. 26-29, titled "Global Sustainability Issues in Energy, Climate, Water and Environment: Prospects and Challenges of Growing the Biology-Based Economy."

For the complete agenda, go to To register for the China-U.S. symposium at Purdue, go to

Begley has championed a sustainable lifestyle long before it was in vogue. The veteran actor lives near Los Angeles and his self-sufficient home is powered by solar energy. He has shared his environmental concerns and ways of living "green" through his HGTV show "Living with Ed."

His best-selling books include "Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life," "Ed Begley, Jr.'s Guide to Sustainable Living: Learning to Conserve Resources and Manage an Eco-Conscious Life," and "Living Green (Voices for Green Choices)."

Begley, whose father won the Academy Award for best supporting actor in 1962, first came to audiences' attention for his portrayal of Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the 1980s hit television series, "St. Elsewhere," for which he received six Emmy nominations. Since then, Begley has moved between feature, TV and theater projects.

He has been seen on the recent HBO film "Recount" as well as in recurring roles on "Six Feet Under," "Arrested Development" and "Boston Legal." Feature film credits include "Pineapple Express," many Christopher Guest films including "A Mighty Wind," "Best In Show" and "For Your Consideration," as well as "Batman Forever," "The Accidental Tourist" and "The In-Laws."

In May, the U.S. State Department and the China National Reform Development Commission selected Purdue to lead one of six U.S.-China EcoPartnerships, a five-year initiative focusing on joint research aimed at addressing the combined effects of climate change, renewable energy and human activities on regional and global ecosystems. Research teams also are exploring technologies that would aid in restoring damaged ecosystems.

The U.S. partners on the Purdue-led U.S.-China EcoPartnerships include the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment at the University of Tennessee, the UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Joint Institute for Biological Sciences and Purdue's Center for the Environment.

Since 2006, the team has collaborated with the Chinese Academy of Science as part of the China-U.S. Joint Research Center for Ecosystem and Environmental Change, which is led by the University of Tennessee. The China partners include the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, and the Institute of Applied Ecology.

The EcoPartnership also builds on a five-year agreement between Purdue's Center for the Environment and the Chinese Academy of Sciences called the China-U.S. Joint Research Laboratory on Sustainable Ecosystem. Through that, Purdue and the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Applied Ecology are creating programs that offer opportunities for student, scholar and faculty exchange in research and study.

Through a $1 million gift to Discovery Park from the Lilly Endowment, Purdue launched the Discovery Lecture Series for bringing prominent speakers to campus.

During Green Week 2011, Purdue will highlight its sustainability efforts during a series of campus and community activities on the Purdue Mall, Stadium Mall and throughout Lafayette-West Lafayette. For more information, go to

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Source: John Bickham, 765-494-5146,

Related websites:

Center for the Environment

Energy Center