Global Green Room Interview: Cathy and Ed O'Neill

Cathy and Ed O'Neill are among our 2012 Millennium Awards honorees. Below, they answer questions for our Global Green Room Interview. interview_cathy_oneill

Cathy O'Neill

How did you become environmentally conscious?

I don't know that there was a defining moment. I lived near a lot of woods and a lake so I had an appreciation of nature growing up. I never liked to waste things. In my day, all the cartoons seemed to have a lot of violence and the cats and dogs or Popeye and Bluto were always destroying the whole house and I never liked that. As a senior in high school in 1972, we were all required to do a community service project from a whole list of work opportunities around town -- some quite professional. I chose to clean the trash out of a swamp to protect the habitat of the endangered osprey.

How did you become a supporter of Global Green?

Ed and I attended the Millennium Awards in support of our friend Ed Begley Jr. and enjoyed the evening very much. I have been in discussion around the greening efforts of the Westside Waldorf School with Matt Petersen [Global Green's CEO] for some time and came to be aware of the positive reputation of the organization and its amazing work on issues near and far.

What would surprise us about your work?

Sometimes I go through the trash without my rubber gloves on. (But I always wash my hands ASAP.)

Who is your hero?

I'd have to say Ed Begley, Jr. Besides the fact that he has been doing all these things since the time it was an oddity, I admire the way he never seems anxious or judgmental about what other people are doing or not doing regarding greening their lives. He doesn't seem to flinch internally, like I sometimes have, when people say or do un-green things or display ignorance. I try to emulate that quality and also to be someone that people greener than I won't flinch about. I also appreciate his sense of humor and that he works with his funny and talented wife, Rachelle. Last year at the Millennium Awards, my Ed decided we were like "Living with Ed" in reverse.

What has been a recent work success or accomplishment you can share with us?

I recently got the Board of Trustees at the Westside Waldorf School to agree to include something new in next year's parent handbook -- that there will be an announcement about how to recycle, compost, and dispose of trash at every large gathering of parents and guests (the children are already OK).

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

A magic wand would be just the thing for what I wish to do. I would wave my magic wand and everyone in the world who needs it would wake up from their sleep of the brainwashing that hoarding and stocking up on things and money will save them. They would wake up from thinking that corporations are people and that the United States is a true democracy. They would wake up from the illusion that the earth is not a living thing. They would wake up from thinking that Love, Peace, Sharing, Forgiveness, Understanding, and Compassion are weak and not practical. Then they would end the war and oil and chemical economy and everyone would grow their own biodynamic food and share it with their neighbors and there would be electric cars and solar power and natural and cutting-edge healthcare and ethical and fair business practices for everyone. And then the air and water and soil and animals and people could recover their health and balance and there would be Peace and Partnership everywhere.

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Ed O'Neill

How did you become environmentally conscious?

In the process of going from unconscious to semi-conscious.

How did you become a supporter of Global Green?

I went to the Millennium Awards last year with my wife Cathy to support our friend Ed Begley Jr., who was being honored, and we decided to get involved.

What would surprise us about your work on green projects?

That I've hardly done any.

Who is your hero?

My wife Cathy. She makes up for my confusion, pessimism, and inactivity.

What has been a recent work success or accomplishment you can share?

I remembered to bring my reusable bags to the grocery store last Wednesday.

If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?

I would wish that every polluter would have to be locked in a small room with my wife to have a green discussion.