08/07/2013 11:53 am ET
My father was an ardent admirer of the mother of the environmental movement, Rachel Carson. When it when his turn to name his newest baby girl, he chose to name her Rachel. My mother wanted a name with a little more flair, so I became Rachelle. Rachel Carson, a marine biologist, was author of many books and essays, including her most famous tome about the dangers of pesticides and pollution, Silent Spring (1962), which widely credited with launching the environmental cause in the United States. My connection to that cause was limited to our shared name and not littering.
When I moved to Los Angeles 20-some years later to pursue a career in acting, I envisioned a big, shiny life, complete with all the trappings of fame. Little did I know my life would soon more closely resemble Green Acres when it intersected with that of the most ardent believer in conservation and sustainable living, Ed Begley Jr. Needless to say, I wasn’t a duck in this water. I had to take the bus, because we couldn’t drive around in a gas-powered vehicle, and everything we consumed had to be recycled. The goal was to have zero contributions to landfills, and I lived in terror I would be caught with garbage! I gained a valuable education in what can and cannot be recycled, and was schooled in the ways of thermostat control, timed showers, and the art of unplugging (even the curling iron I was about to use for my audition!).