Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser’s extreme green: no toilet, no kids

Earlier this year, Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men told UK publication The Guardian that he doesn’t own a car in LA, and lives in a home that is “just a wooden box” without mirrors or even a toilet. Kartheiser does his business at his neighbor’s house when he needs to go. He claimed that his commitment to living a simple lifestyle started as a reaction to all of the free swag that people were giving him that he didn’t want or need.

Kartheiser was interviewed recently as part of MSNBC’s “green week,” where he explained that he honors his commitment to the environment by being a vegetarian and by vowing not to have children.

Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell on ‘Mad Men’ and does not own a toilet, appeared on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon to talk about his “green choices,” which include avoiding driving, eating meat and having kids.

He said he stopped driving four years ago, when his car flooded and he found that taking the train instead “actually enriched my life. It made my life better to slow down a little bit and walk through the city.”

Vincent talked about other choices he has made to minimize his impact.

“I’ve been a vegetarian for four years and I have chosen not to have children, which are both green choices in my life,” he said. “I also xeriscaped my lawn.”

[From The Huffington Post]

A friend in the US once told me that he wouldn’t have children because he was committed to “zero population growth.” (He was older and married, and I wasn’t dating him or anything.) I had to look it up as I’d never heard of it before, but a lot of people think having children is just about the worst thing you can do to the environment. I’ve read that it’s not necessarily bad for the environment if you have one or two children and raise them to respect the earth.

I’m a materialistic person in many ways and I love shoes and clothes, but I do try and do my part by recycling, bringing my own bags to the store and eating meat only occasionally. When I lived in the US, I had friends make fun of me for washing and reusing ziplock bags. Now that I live in Germany, I appreciate how that sort of frugal approach is just part of the culture. More people take public transportation, almost everyone brings their own bags to the store and you buy less when you shop because you have to pack your own groceries. Things are just set up in a way that’s better for the environment, which can seem very inconvenient when you’re coming from the US.

So is there something sanctimonious about Kartheiser’s commitment to the environment, or is it kind of admirable in its way? I agree with Kaiser’s earlier assessment that he seems weird, but I also like what he said about how there are small things we can change in our lives that will make a difference. I hope the guy has a toilet at this point though. Now that I know this about him he just looks like he smells.

REDONDO BEACH, CA - NOVEMBER 07: Actor Vincent Kartheiser attends the 2010 Freedom Awards at the Redondo Beach Peforming Arts Center on November 7, 2010 in Redondo Beach, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images)

REDONDO BEACH, CA - NOVEMBER 07: Actor Vincent Kartheiser attends the 2010 Freedom Awards at the Redondo Beach Peforming Arts Center on November 7, 2010 in Redondo Beach, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images)

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 17: Actors Alison Brie and Vincent Kartheiser attend AMC's Golden Globes viewing party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 17, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15: Actors Vincent Kartheiser (L) and Christina Hendricks attend the Tenth Annual AFI Awards 2009 reception held at Four Seasons Beverly Hills on January 15, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI)

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57 Responses to “Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser’s extreme green: no toilet, no kids”

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  1. cici says:

    oh. well why don’t we all just take our own lives, too. Then we’d REALLY save the planet. sigh.

  2. BB says:

    That is lame about the toilet. I am all for mking green choices, but I despise people who say they are green, but use their neighbours’ or friends’ or families’ facilities.

    I have met many of the sort: Don’t have mobile, but will ask everyone and anyone on multiple occasions if they can use their mobile. Don’t use a TV, but will overstay their welcome at your place to watch everything they want…

    That’s not being green, that’s just being a pretentious cheapskate.

  3. Roma says:

    I find him refreshing, if a little weird. And the weirdness makes him hot.

  4. Arianna says:

    this is pretty admirable, even if a bit extreme.
    but i’d rather have people like this than wasteful, inconsiderate, near-sighted shits

  5. Bunny says:

    Vincent is really underrated. I like his not famewhoring ways and the fact that he really takes his characters and job seriously.
    He changes a lot according to his roles, and you say “Oh! i can’t believe he was on…”.


  6. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    OMG He is so freaking cute when not in his Mad Men garb. Jeez he is soo cute. Can he be in Hot Guy Friday?

    Good for him for being green and all that.

  7. tracking says:

    A bit of a whack-a-doodle, but the world would be so boring without eccentrics! And at least his heart seems to be in the right place.

  8. michkabibbles says:

    mabye i’m missing something, but i don’t understand how using his neighbors toilet makes him greener? he’s still using plumbing and water, just not at his own home. it’d be different if he was using it as compost or something (which: eww i just grossed myself out a little with that). otherwise it’s just a bit pretentious i think to say, i’m environmental because i don’t have a toilet-i just go next door to use theirs.

  9. Jeane says:

    I understand why he doesn’t want to have kids. After all, he was tricked into trying to kill his own father when he returned to this reality after being raised in some hell dimension by a time travelling vampire hunter who kidnapped him from his vampire father out of vengeance for murdering his family back when he didn’t have a soul yet.

  10. poopie says:

    THE “i don’t own a toilet but i go next door and use my neighbors” comment reminds me of someone who says they have ‘quit smoking’ but still bum cigarettes from the other smokers! THAT DOESN’T COUNT! i do like the part about not having kids though.

  11. Kaye says:

    I laughed at the “does his business at his neighbor’s” comment, because I picture him sneaking behind his neighbor’s tree or something. There is such a thing as a composting toilet, so he could have a greener choice at his own house.

  12. jaded says:

    It’s admirable that he’s committed to a green lifestyle, but using someone else’s toilet is sort of like bragging that you don’t own a watch while asking everyone around you what time it is. Buy a composting toilet buddy….

  13. WYIJM says:

    I believe he was remodeling his house when he gave the ‘no toilet’ interview. Don’t think he ever suggested that this was a green lifestyle choice.

  14. Samigirl says:

    I can’t wait for him to knock some chick up. That is all.

  15. Kelbees says:

    Jeane- I hear that kind of stuff will really mess with your head at that age!

  16. Delta Juliet says:

    It sounds pretentious and judgmental to me. Like the first poster said, why don’t we all just kill ourselves and the planet will be safe(sorry, I paraphrased)

  17. LittleDeadGirl says:

    I appreciate the choices he is making but to be honest anything he does is a small drop in a very very giant bucket of water and only serves as a bandaid to make him feel guilt free without really solving any major problems. Don’t get me wrong, I think we should all do our part, but I have to sigh and roll my eyes whenever I hear anyone talk about how “green” they are, it’s all just too pretentious for my taste. I also don’t get the no children, so none of us have children anymore, the human race dies out, and animals continue to each other, fuck, give birth, and die. Hooray?

  18. Samigirl says:

    Jeane, your right. I totally forgot about his “connor” stage. Reading that gave me a HUGE laugh. Thanks :)

  19. Maritza says:

    No toilet, no children, no car, no meat, wow! This guy is a real cheapskate. I agree with Samigirl, I hope he gets some girl pregnant too.

  20. Leticia says:

    He is devout in his devotion to environmentalism. Everyone is religious in some aspect of their lives. For many, environmentalism is their religion. This is not a criticism, just a statement of fact. Just like overzealous Christians can be judgmental or pushy in their beliefs, so can the hyper-greens.

  21. Darla says:

    He is certainly no more whacked than these idiots having 14 kids so they raise a kingdom in heaven or whatever or consupmtive arseholes that keep and heat 4 or 5 huge 4000 sg ft houses all the time. But he’s right that a simpler life is a greener life

    Fewer kids are indeed greener. Most of the problems we have right now are due to population growth. Plus I just really hate kids. Not hate in like I want to kill them (let’s be clear on that), I just can’t be around them for more than a hour without a mighty Exedrine headache. They are loud and sticky and smell bad

  22. lola lola says:

    I read a while back that the toilet thing was because he was renovating his house. I don’t hink you can live in a house without a toilet (you can choose not to use it) but its a hygene law that a house must have one. Anyone else remember reading aout a renovation story too?

  23. texasmom says:

    Yeah, I vote sanctimonious. He should get a composting toilet. I like Ed Begley and Bill Nye’s style, where they are in a heated eco-competition and fix their houses to be carbon footprintless. Mooching off your neighbors doesn’t count!!!

  24. guesty says:

    how rude…& AWKWARD & hypocritical to use a neighbor’s toilet!!! appalling.

  25. Cleo says:

    He looks very Amish with that facial hair.

  26. CR says:

    Sanctimonious douchebag. God I hate actors.

  27. wunderkindt says:

    Great that he’s green . . . but is he a non-bathing ‘stinky’/'organic’green?

  28. Tammy says:

    Good thing his mom and dad didn’t practice the no kids rule!

  29. normades says:

    Pete is my favvvvve on Mad Men and I always thought Vincent was SUPER hot and a great actor. I dig the weirdos.

  30. Johnny Depp's Girl says:

    Are you effing kidding me? He doesnt believe in having a toilet but he goes to his neighbor’s house? Build an outhouse you weirdo!

    I have one kid. SO WHAT???

    This is all crazy. TAKE A BATH!

  31. Lindy says:

    Oh Jeane, that just made my day:) (I am a huge Buffy/Angel fan).

    And honestly, I have to say it kind of makes me respect him. I mean, I read about things like child sweatshop labor and get upset, but I’m ashamed to say that I don’t really do much research on which labels/stores offer sweatshop-free clothing. And on and on. I appreciate people who are willing to make major changes in their lives in order to uphold their ideals.

  32. Dorothy#1 says:

    Yes, Jeane AWESOME!!!! Loved Angel and Buffy too!!!

  33. unknown says:

    I do agree with him about the childfree & no kid point. Otherwise, not too much.

  34. heathen says:

    He strikes me that if he wasn’t an actor he would be a crazy homeless guy. There is something wrong with him — not necessarily the “extreme green” thing — it is just the general vibe I get from him that he is hanging onto sanity by a thread & his success on Mad Men is the only thing keeping him from going over the edge.

    It is good to recycle, and I do it myself, but the fact is until everybody stops driving cars, flying planes AND using electricty (all 3 things and at all times forever), there isn’t going to be any significant impact on the environment. SO, I do admire him for putting his money where his mouth is and actually not driving a car. Now, he has to get everyone else in the entire world to do the same and we might get somewhere.
    The no toilet thing is just freakishly gross though. And I don’t understand how using the neighbor’s toilet helps — dig an outhouse if you want to conserve water.

  35. Annie Mouse says:

    Wow…wouldn’t it make him really green if he’d just skip the toilet all together and just go do his business in his neighbor’s yard and call it free compost!! What a tool?!

  36. MissyA says:

    I really love that people are starting to embrace the green movement – before I was just a cheapass, but now I’m an environmentalist!

    (I totally wash and reuse ziplocs too, CB. Aluminum foil, too. The boyfriend was chided last night for throwing out a chipotle burrito wrapper.)

    A friend of mine built an earthship house in the early 90′s, and I covet it. I’m currently doing what I can to reduce my footprint in an apartment building, but if I’m going to start popping out babies, I want to live in a fully-recycled, carbon-neutral earthship house.

    *sigh* I really do dream of that house. . .

  37. Feebee says:

    Okay this guy’s on a new level from Jason Mraz’s use only two squares of toilet paper to wipe your ass… completely!

    I agree with BB’s comments.

    There’s nothing unenvironmental about human waste (as in natural byproduct) but is it really green to shit on your lawn? (lawns are un-green though… need too much water) Anyway – no, you need to use a loo. But to use your neighbors? Are they so stupid they agree to this? I have no respect for this guy until he builds himself an outhouse and only uses that.

    I think he’s full of it and this is his way of standing out.

  38. Kitten says:

    I dunno, I think he’s damn sexy…I think it’s the “weirdo” thing. Quirkiness gets me hot. And I love that he’s all about the environment.

  39. Carrie says:

    I agree with the zero population growth stance- I have taken the same one in my life, I am not going to have biological children although I am making plans to adopt internationally in the next three years, most likely from Ethiopia.

    For me it is equal measures of not wanting to bring more children into the world when there are 143 million orphans worldwide (according to the most recent UN study), and believing that the human population is growing at an unsustainable rate for the Earth to adequately support.

    People get very defensive about this issue, but they shouldn’t- everyone is entitled to make the choice that is best for themselves and their family.

  40. Jeri says:

    No toilet – too extreme. Shouldn’t expect his neighbors to take care of his needs.

  41. lrm says:

    i’m not defensive, but i find it offensive that people say ‘no children’ along side of recycling and a compost toilet, but say nothing of not having household pets/animals…which frankly are very high ‘carbon freakin’ footprints’….
    like human children are not even the same species of the said adult making the comment.
    sure, have your stance, but don’t publicize it with such disdain for those of us who have and enjoy our children and love being parents. It’s very natural for some of us to have families;it’s not b/c we have not thought about it or are doing it just b/c society says to, or etc, etc.

    Gawd-this green thing is re*tarded people. And I say this as someone who brought my own bags and even jars/containers to the local co-op, 20 years ago!!!! People are being brainwashed and it’s making a mockery of true environmental action. It’s become a trend, and now dissing on human population is the norm/fashionable act. ick. I cannot wait for this phase to be over. People think they are in the know-lol. And you get these pretentious youngsters telling you what’s what. How annoying.

    The other day, the prius in front of us had the driver tossing his cigarette butt out the window. Nice!

    My husband said ‘oh, good, he’s worrieda bout his carbon footprint, but smoking is perfectly fine, as is throwing it out the window. it’s biodegradable, right?’

  42. Jazzlin says:

    holy judgmental. so many of you posters think he’s sanctimonious because he made some ‘green’ lifestyle choices that you don’t approve of?

    sheesh, chill out. people do the best they can. he isn’t preaching, he’s just sharing his story.

    what’s happening here is the natural reaction of anger by readers who feel their’non-green’ or ‘not green enough’ lifestyle is being attacked.

    Sheesh, don’t worry about it. If you have kids or a car, I don’t think the implication is that you’re a selfish jerk whose sole intention is to single-handedly destroy the planet with your environmental ignorance. Please! Dude is just sharing some ideas that work for him. Ask yourself why it’s making you so angry?

  43. Mandhy says:

    Are his neighbors nuts? Who the hell would let their neighbor use their toilet? In a once in a life-time emergency, sure…or does he hold it up all week and then go? Eww, either way,it’s gross and stranger then fiction.

  44. Steph says:

    I admire Vincent Kartheiser’s efforts. The toilet thing doesn’t make much sense, but not having children definitely helps. An old environmentalist professor I use to have would tell us that “cows and cars” were the worst things for the environment and he would always bitch about there being way too many people on the planet. I decided to give up red meat and now I try to walk everywhere as much as I can and living in Los Angeles makes it really hard to do that, but I make an effort. I don’t like to tell people that they shouldn’t have children, I myself may want to have one, but only if I can afford it. I
    also don’t tell people not to eat red meat and not drive, but when someone asks me why I don’t eat red meat or drive as much I tell them. I can’t help but point out, though, that using a lot of oil is not only bad for the environment it funds terrorism.
    Oh and buying electric cars does not help the environment
    Anyway, I think every little bit helps.

    -Love your blog Celebitchy!-

  45. di butler says:

    Funny how he told Kevin Spacey on Kevin’s online show that the “no toliet” thing was completely blown out of proportion and his whole family called after it came out in print last year and were like, “WTF??” He says he had just moved to a rustic place that needed remodeling. You can find the clip on YouTube.

  46. Camille says:

    Yes lets all stop having or have no kids at all and kill off the human race. Now that would *really* be the best way to save the planet.

    lrm: Agreed. :)

  47. Amy says:

    I wonder I long the neighbor will continue to allow him flood their sewer system. Very odd man.

  48. Emily says:

    The toilet thing’s bullsh*t if you ask me. Why doesn’t he just get one with a half flush like normal people do? I understand the thing about kids, though. I want to adopt mine partly for that reason.

  49. kelly says:

    Kids are the worst thing you can do for the environment; Im sorry, there’s just no getting around that. It’s not our fault; generations before us just decided to pass the buck when it came to moderating their behaviour, and now we get the shit end of the stick. (cheers for that)

    I strongly believe that if you’re not desperately longing for children, you should really think hard about having them. I can take or leave them and so can my partner, so we decided not to.

    I wish more people would speak out about how it’s actually okay not to squirt them out; how life goes on, it’s not some empty void etc etc, how in many ways, my life is a hell of a lot better than many of my struggling, and now often regretful, peers. Amazingly, I know people who can look me in the eye and say they wish they’d never procreated. You wouldn’t know they existed for all the discussion that generates. I wish the (seemingly numerous) people who caved to pressure would come out and be honest about how badly it sucks to be a reluctant parent. Maybe others would be a bit more confidant about taking another path without thinking they’re ‘missing out’.

    A kid-free life is a good one, if you’re not particularly maternal, or even if you are! I know Im preaching and it’s perhaps not a palatable reality for some, but it’s another point of view.

    Props, Vincent.

  50. vicvic says:

    Thank goodness someone is speaking publicly about this – I’m in total agreement with him, and Kelly. Having kids is one of the worst things you can do for the environment, these days, whether you’re maternal or not. Consider:

    You have 1, 2, 3, or more children. Each child goes on to have 1, 2, 3, or more children. Now, multiply that by the population of the U.S., or even the whole world, and where the crap does that leave the planet in 20-30 years?

    NOT good. Totally selfish!

  51. I Choose Me says:

    @Jeane. TFF! Thanks for the lols at work. I needed a good laugh.

  52. slymm27 says:

    many people have lost their mind….wtf???? Having kids is the worst thing you can do for the enviroment ??? If you dont want kids, then fine, dont come here and say its the worst thing that can happen to the enviroment. Green this and green that….green my ass, i have no idea why human beings think they are in control of everything.

  53. LT says:

    I can never look at him w/o thinking about him being on Angel. Same w/ short stuff Renner.

  54. Jeri says:

    If he wants no children that is fine. I don’t think he needs to preach about it.

    Someday people will look back on this eras’ Octotots programs and press and believe we were nuts.

    All in moderation.

  55. mystified says:

    Don’t we need to make plenty of children to pay off our national debt and support the retirees on Social Security?

  56. Ally says:

    This is a great interview with Vincent Kartheiser:

    In it, he says the toilet thing was a complete misunderstanding and that he might buy a car at some point. So I think sometimes he sounds a tad more extreme than he actually is.

    Any new living being, animals included, consumes a huge amount of additional resources in gas, water, electricity, in creating waste, etc. That’s just a fact. It doesn’t mean no one should have children, though, just be mindful, I guess.