Actress Megan Boone is best known for her role as FBI agent turned blacklist consultant Elizabeth Keen on the hit series “The Blacklist.” Today, she’s using her influence to combat air pollution.  “I saw a real void in the conversation when it came to environmental issues,” Boone tells Mediaplanet.

Air pollution is bad news for everyone, but children are especially vulnerable. Children breathe faster than adults, so they are exposed to more pollution than adults. Further, children’s lungs are still developing, and developing lungs are more sensitive to pollution than fully-formed lungs. “I saw an opportunity from my platform — being a woman who has become a mother in a public way and who plays a new mother on television — to start to bring into the zeitgeist the very real concept that if we don’t start to address environmental issues, we will be negligent as an entire generation of parents.”

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“…if we don’t start to address environmental issues, we will be negligent as an entire generation of parents.”

Where can parents who are new to the conversation start? Boone believes it all starts with education. “You have to understand the connection that your daily habits have to the people in Sudan who are suffering from drought, to the people in Bangladesh whose shores are moving in on them, to the people of Syria whose farming communities have been destabilized,” she explains. “Even our own firefighters in the United States are fighting more and more deadly, rampant forest fires. These things are only going to become more and more exasperated as the planet changes.”

Boone urges families to take ownership of their own personal contributions to climate change. “I bike to work when it’s too far to walk; I carpool whenever it’s too far to bike; and I take the train whenever I can,” she outlines.

Sustainability plays an important role in the actress’ diet, as well. “I almost never eat meat anymore, because it’s such an inefficient way to consume.” In his book “The Food Revolution,” author John Robbins writes that a pound of beef is equivalent in water consumption to six months of showering. “Coffee is very unsustainable, too. I still drink it, but I’m trying to be better.”

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While focusing on your personal carbon footprint is important, Boone cautions that it will take more than individual contributions to affect significant change.

“What we really need is a sustainability revolution,” she urges. “We need our manufacturers to start making products that can be repurposed — that are biodegradable and recyclable. The problem is that we live in a world that is made to go right into the dump because that’s what makes money. We value continual GDP growth over protecting the source of human life.”

The actress urges readers to stay informed and to lobby their local representatives to take action on climate change. “We can cut down on our fossil fuel use, we can buy local, sustainably-farmed food, we can go down the checklist of the things that we need to do more sustainably as individuals, but, ultimately, it’s not going to be the consumer’s responsibility to clean the entire mess. There’s no quick fix.”