Dolores Davies | Crest Road
|Bruce Bekkar. Photo Dolores Davies.
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It’s Easy Being Green is the first in a series of profiles of Del Mar residents who have embraced a sustainable lifestyle, demonstrating how easy it really is to tread more lightly on the earth, reducing waste and pollution levels and conserving precious resources.
Until recently, Bruce Bekkar was a practicing Ob-Gyn doctor in San Diego, working to preserve human life and helping to get new lives started. About four years ago, he jettisoned his white coat while remaining dedicated to preserving human health by working to preserve our natural world, which as a physician he sees is essential to our happiness and survival as a species.
As a member of Doctors for Climate Health with the American Lung Association and a speaker and mentor for the Climate Reality Project, Bekkar has seen first-hand how a destabilized climate can harm human health and undermine life as we know it. That—coupled with his love for the ocean and the natural environment—has led to his intense commitment to increase awareness of these issues and live as simply and sustainably as possible. A lifelong surfer who has resided in North County since the 1970s—he lived in Del Mar as a pre-med undergrad at UC San Diego—Bekkar was a early member of both the City’s Sustainability Advisory Board and the Sea Level Rise Technical Advisory Committee. For the last year, he has also served as a special advisor for San Diego’s Climate Action Campaign and has been a spokesperson and advocate for the Surfrider Foundation’s STOP Campaign (STOP=Sea Level Rise, Temperature Increase, Ocean Acidification Prevention and Adaptation).
About a decade ago, Bekkar made some conscious decisions to minimize his personal carbon footprint. He bought a Nissan Leaf, remodeled his condo with the help of a Green-certified design professional, installed solar panels on his roof, and traded his incandescent light bulbs for LED versions. He also became more mindful of his diet and clothing, reducing his meat and animal fat consumption to less than 20% and purchasing garments made from sustainable materials like organic cotton from eco-conscious manufacturers such as Patagonia.
“I don’t think people realize how easy it is to live in a more earth- and human-friendly way,” said Bekkar. “And there are so many ways to have a positive as opposed to a negative impact in terms of climate change. Minimizing climate change is in the best interests of everyone—especially children and future generations—and we truly have more economical choices than ever to accomplish this. The bonus is that these efforts often become addictive, because they are good for the earth, but also good for us and our pocketbooks as well.”
His green remodel, said Bekkar, has proven to be both durable and less expensive over time, and it also benefited him through the use of low toxicity materials, which have minimized allergic reactions and other health issues. The installation of solar panels—the cost of which has dropped considerably over the last few years—has significantly reduced his utility bill. Eating less meat has not only led to better health, he said, but he also spends less money on food, due to the relatively high cost of meat and other animal-based products.
“Of course, the more any one person or family can do to minimize their carbon footprint, the better,” said Bekkar. “But, even the little things add up, so what’s important is to start wherever you are and build on that. This is a global problem, but we can all be part of the solution.”