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Actor Emily DeSchanel. (Photo via TreePeople)

Actor Emily DeSchanel. (Photo via TreePeople)

Emily Deschanel is best known for her role as Dr. Temperance Brennan on the hit show Bones. In addition to acting and producing, Emily is also an avid environmentalist and a TreePeople supporter.  Learn more about how she’s taking action in her life to make Los Angeles green!

What do you feel is the most urgent challenge the world faces today, and what do you think can be done to help?

Global warming is a serious problem that the next generation will inherit. Most of the damage has been done in the last century. It saddens me to think we have done so much harm in such little time, relatively speaking.  I have hope for the future, but people need to take climate change seriously and work to protect our climate future. It will take the participation of every person making little decisions in their lives that will lead to big changes for the environment.  Policy action needs to be taken at the highest levels of government, and world leaders need to work toward sustainability.

How are you taking action in your own life to help our world be more healthy and sustainable?

Being vegan is the #1 thing I do for the environment.  A U.N. study showed that factory farms have more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the world’s transportation combined.  Combined! That means all the airplanes, cars, trains and buses in the world! Think about that. It takes 12 times the land, 13 times the fossil fuel and 15 times the water to produce animal protein versus vegetable protein. Those things add up!

Are you concerned about the drought? How are you fighting drought at home?

Yes, I am seriously concerned about the drought!  Besides eating vegan and saving water with my food choices, my family is conserving water by planting drought tolerant plants in our yard. We also have plans to put in big rain barrels to capture and reuse the rain on our yard and vegetable garden. A grey water system is another project we’re excited to add to our home. We’re always trying to use as little water as possible!

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Emily posing with Bones co-star, David Boreanaz

How long have you been vegan, and what inspired you?

I went vegan 22 years ago. I was initially inspired by Diet For a New America, a documentary about animal suffering in factory farms, the harm these farms inflict on the environment and various health concerns that result from eating meat and dairy products. I became vegetarian on the spot, went fully vegan about two years later and haven’t looked back.

How do you impart your Eco-values to your children?

We have conversations with my oldest son about the drought and why we make certain food choices. He knows he doesn’t get to take a big bath and not to let the water run while brushing teeth.  It is an ongoing discussion.

What’s next on your greening to-do list?

The rain barrels are in progress. After that we want solar panels! I want my electric car to run only on sunshine!

What is one easy step you would recommend to someone looking to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle?

Try a Meatless Monday to start! Just skipping meat one day a week can make a huge impact on the planet and your health. Then make little changes around the house, like challenging yourself to take shorter showers and start recycling and composting as much as you can. A lot of cities will take any compostables in the green bin, too. Your plants don’t get to benefit from the compost if you do that, but it is better than putting those food scraps into the trash.

One place people may not realize they can make a difference is in their workplace. Make sure water isn’t being wasted, people are recycling and power isn’t being wasted unnecessarily. You might also consider planting shade trees near your place of work to cut back on AC!

Why do you support TreePeople?

I discovered the organization in 7th grade when we prepared seedlings to plant in the city, and then found the organization again years later still doing amazing work with not only trees but also water conservation and climate change issues.   I appreciate Andy Lipkis and the TreePeople team for their effort to influence policy by working with city and state officials.  They really are making a difference!  TreePeople is at the forefront of water conservation in Los Angeles, and that matters to me!

(This article originally appeared on TreePeople. It has been reprinted here with permission.)

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