Posted on 22nd July 2019

Robert Llewellyn: Actor, comedian and writer.

I drive an electric vehicle and have solar panels on my house, but as proven by my AGA and the flights I take, I certainly haven’t reached an environmental zenith. We all live in the real world and can only afford to make certain changes. Unless you want to live in a cave, sustainable living is about a process of continual improvement, that has been my experience both at home and working on TV productions.

I’m not driven by a worthy ‘greeness,’ I’m fascinated about how we can use less resources in a more efficient way. In my youth I worked with engineering graduates to look at wind power, it was exciting and has always stayed with me. I am still fascinated by the technological advances that enable us to live more sustainably; technology that was once the multi-million pound reserves of NASA can now be bought for a few quid.

I am not opposed to fossil fuels; oil is an amazing and useful product. But, let’s not burn it in machines whose manufacturers have lied about environmental impacts, let’s use the resource smartly. Economics is the tipping point; sustainable technology will soon become vastly cheaper and that will cause a dramatic shift in the way we do things. Productions are already moving towards more sustainable ways of working as it saves money, allowing more to be spent on production sets and dare I say it, actors.

I was previously cursed to play Kryten in a heavy costume under hot studio lighting, but the latest series of Red Dwarf has been shot using cool LED lighting. LED lighting has made a huge improvement to the shooting environment, and equally importantly, the carbon footprint of the production.

Environmentalism can be an inaccessible topic, this has resulted in public ignorance of the scale of the challenges climate change poses to civic sustainability. Some people are turned off by a perceived sense of ‘green fascism’, but without question, others have been hugely influenced by misinformation funded by the fossil fuel industry. Renewables only receive 2% of total energy subsidies with the rest going to the fossil fuel industry. The general public is equally unaware of the economic promise of a sustainable future as achieving public consensus on sustainable living is not easy. We all live in a fossil fuel economy and that makes it difficult to dodge the hypocrisy of speaking out.

It is difficult not to despair or become cynical when contemplating environmental sustainability, but I manage to maintain an optimist stance about the issues. I’ve seen too many governments come and go and experienced how things work out okay in the end. I am also in touch with researchers and understand what is in the pipeline and it is exciting! And if renewable power can also kick the corrupt economics of the fossil fuel industry along with its emissions, then then all the better.