Ask Alexandra – July 2006
I first saw you in American Flyers and have enjoyed your work since. Q. Much Electricity is produced using oil, so does promoting electric cars really help?
BTW – I have not purchased gas from an Exxon station since the Valdez incident.
The gas crisis of the 1970’s prodded us to get off gas and oil for electricity generation , so only 3% of the US electricity is generated by oil (http://www.eia.doe.gov/fuelelectric.html) and that is only in Florida and Long Island, NY.. After the recent rise in oil prices, it’s likely those plants will be shuttered soon due to the cost of fuel. It is really coal we have to worry about: 51.6 % of U.S. electricity is generated from coal (unfortunately, that stat is up from last year). Only 20% of electricity in California is generated by coal.
Here are some sources: http://www.energy.ca.gov/electricity/gross_system_power.html. This gives information on the California grid, probably the cleanest in the country. As you can see, we still have a long way to go on solar and wind, etc, but this is slowly (agonizingly slowly) growing. The total amount of what is considered renewables is over 10% (mostly small hydro) which is much better than the nation as a whole.
For the U.S. percentages, go to www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/epm_sum.html and scroll down to the pie-chart of many colors for the year-to-date (2006) percentages. Nationwide in 2005 wind was .36%, Geothermal was .37% and on the chart I looked at, solar and wind were not even mentioned. If solar or wind (or any other source) do provide a megawatt of electricity, they do not even show up in the stats.
An important thing to note is that even with a grid mix of over 50% coal, an electric car is still cleaner than a gas car. In California, where there is much less coal on its grid, an electric car is 67% cleaner. So the challenge and priority needs to be having a cleaner grid. Call your local utility (like Ian and I have done) and ask for “green power” – a lot of utilities have this program. This means you will be paying for cleaner power like wind, solar, hydro or geothermal, and encouraging the utilities to switch from coal to cleaner alternatives. We are not powerless! (pun intended)
Thank you for your excellent question. I hope I have answered it adequately.
First of all Alexandra i just wanted to say you are such such an awesome actress, you have inspired many people to enter the acting world, Im sure. You are my favorite actress of all time. Im thinking of becoming an actor one day. LOL Anyways here’s my question.
What really inspired you to become an actress and how long did you know you wanted to become an actress?
I was 18 and modeling in New York City, taking a year off before going to Stanford University for college. My modeling agency asked that I take an acting class, because sometimes models get sent on auditions for soap operas and commercials. I started a class with David Mann, and it was like Wow! This is so fun! A whole new world opened up to me, as I had never considered myself in the least creative before. My family was an observer of the arts, certainly not a participant. I had had small parts in high school plays, but I was very intimidated by it all, and my major in college was going to be environmental science. I was very lucky to have David Mann as my first teacher, as he asked a lot of his actors – we couldn’t miss a class and we had to put up a scene every time. He also had a very clear method that he taught me. It was wonderful. I loved doing monologues and scenes in his class.
So I guess you could say that I never dreamed of becoming an actress until I actually became one. Within 9 months I had tested for one soap, shot a tv commercial and then landed the lead in a tv movie (Paper Dolls) that brought me to Los Angeles.
You don’t say how old you are, but if you are thinking of becoming an actor one day, I encourage you to follow your dream. If you are still in school, read all you can about actors and directors in biographies, read books on acting (Larry Moss and Bobby Lewis are some author recommendations; www.samuelfrench.com has plays and books on show business) and see plays and watch independent and foreign films. If you are out of school and you prefer stage, go to New York, Chicago or anywhere there is thriving repertory. If you want to do movie and television, move to Los Angeles or New York.
Good luck to you,
I found the section of your website concerning overpopulation interesting since it focuses on the impact on Earth rather than solely on the quality of life of people. What is your take on Peter Singer’s idea that current famine is actually a global distribution problem rather than a production shortage?
I have heard time and time again that the planet has the capacity to feed well over 6.5 billion people we currently have on earth, it is just about getting the food to them. 852 million people are going hungry every day (about 15% of the world population). Wars and political repression mean that food is hard to send over, even if it is free (note the sanctions on Iraq in the 1990’s and the current situation in North Korea). But the point is, if we cannot get food to the people who need it, then it is secondary why people aren’t being fed. They still starve, plain and simple. Being able to grow food for 9 billion doesn’t mean we will not have problems when the population reaches that number (which it is projected to reach in 45 years). In fact, food distribution will be even more difficult and more people will be hungry.
Another thought is, at what cost are we growing food for so many people, whether they actually are able to eat it or not? The “Green Revolution” of the 1970’s which allowed more crops to be grown on an area of land than ever before, meant an introduction of fertilizers that has poisoned the ground and the water underneath. It has put small farmers out of business and encouraged the planting of monocrops (one type of plant for miles and miles), which are less resistant to pests, hence huge amounts of pesticides are also required. Our food has less vitamins because the soil is weak.
Even if we did have the food for 9 billion people, and were able to feed each and every one of them 2,000 calories a day, would we have enough clean water? Currently, 1.3 billion people have no access to clean water either. Come to think of it, hardly anyone on this planet has access to truly clean water, and it is getting more contaminated for all of us every day, as our world relies more and more on chemicals to get us food and the lifestyle we crave. Ironic…
Peter Singer believes the rich countries should give food aid to the poor countries. I agree, however there is a danger to just supplying countries with food and not looking for ways for them to become self –sufficient. In addition to a lot of aid, I support giving appropriate birth control, building infrastructure (schools, hospitals, roads) and subsidizing education and health care. This is how a country will get back in balance again and be able to feed itself.
When I read your letter, I googled “world hunger” and “Peter Singer, world hunger”. There are many interesting sites to read up on and I encourage readers to do that.
And once again, I stress that the most important issue facing the world at this time is reducing the global human population. With a stable population that eventually goes down to 2.5 billion, we will be able to really solve the big problems we face like global warming, peak oil and world poverty. Until then, we are just trying to keep our heads above water.
Thank you for writing,