Though Rebekah is a real city kid — a third-generation native New Yorker — she spent my summers in the woods of upstate New York communing with nature. Her father, the writer Kirkpatrick Sale, was a deep ecologist and highlighted humans’ arrogance when it came to the natural world. After college Rebekah got a job organizing Earth Day 1990 and working on a pro-recycling, anti-incinerator campaign with the New York Public Interest Research Group. At the time, the NYC Department of Sanitation was not at all supportive of recycling. At the same time, Rebekah has always been a theatre fan and has gone to Broadway shows for as long as she can remember. She left NYPIRG to work for Broadway producer Rocco Landesman at Jujamcyn Theaters. Rebekah then took 10 years off of full time work to raise her two daughters. When she heard from a former colleague of hers from Jujamcyn (Jennifer Hershey, who is the co-chair of the BGA’s Venues Committee) that the BGA was looking for someone with both theater and environmental experience to become its coordinator it seemed like a great fit. Environmental organizing in the New York theater community is a perfect job for Rebekah’s experience and her interests.
How did you first get involved in the green industry?
I have worked for NYPIRG’s environmental initiatives, for GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, and on organizing Earth Day 1990, ’91 and ’92. But caring about the environment is something I could never not do, even if it wasn’t my job.
What interests you most about being green?
I think somewhere long ago human beings began to see themselves as separate from the natural world. We try and forget that we are animals and that we cannot actually control the planet that we live on nor “rule” over animals and nature. Nature doesn’t care that we think we can. For a long time the conversation on climate change was getting nowhere — “it’s so cold; there’s no global warming” — but then with Hurricane Sandy in New York was a real wakeup call. The more we mess with nature the more out of balance it gets — and we will be the guinea pigs. Plus, climate change will foster famine, war and migration, so it won’t just be all hurricanes and heat waves.
What is your biggest “green” pet peeve?
My biggest green pet peeve (aside from people failing to recycle!) is that people think they can afford to not care about the environment. It’s not a cute, tree-hugging hobby. It’s a way of thinking about our place on the planet that we can’t afford not to do. If we want to continue to live on this planet we have to be less narcissistic and realize that everything is connected.
What green trend is most exciting to you or your industry?
I love the fact that people seem to be thinking smarter. That might get us out of the pickle we are in if enough people do it.
December 24, 2014
The Broadway Green Alliance is an industry-wide initiative that educates, motivates, and inspires the theatre community to adopt eco-friendly practices.