Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fuel Review

Angela Howe, Ryan Johnson and I recently saw the documentary Fuel. This is Angela's review.

The documentary “Fuel” was directed and narrated by Josh Tickell, the bio-fuel champion who drove his flower-clad biodiesel van around the nation for the past ten years speaking to people about the virtues of organic-based fuel. Naturally, much of this movie is also geared at the promotion of bio-diesel, as evidenced by Josh’s favorite sign: “Change the World” [flip over] “Change Your Fuel.” The movie asserts that America’s addiction to fuel has caused environmental calamities, including water quality degradation and global warming which increases storm occurrences like Hurricane Katrina. The movie also linked the addiction to fuel for what occurred on 9/11, the Iraq war, and what was mentioned several times as the “Military Petroleum Complex.” The film was politically charged and suffice it to say, not unbiased, with interviews of Robert Kennedy, Jr. and a glorification of Jimmy Carter.

Nonetheless, the movie opens your eyes to a new world view – exposing America’s love affair with oil industry through tax breaks and political back-scratching, while juxtaposing European Countries who subsidize alternative energy. It also discusses the world’s food and oil production cycles and addresses the counter-arguments to bio-fuels. The film does a good job of encouraging independent education to its audience, included in the 10 things you can do.

A beautiful underlying lesson of the film is its encouragement of grassroots activism: change your life, then change the laws – and then our addiction to oil will no longer be “a shame, a flat a$$ shame,” (as Elmer Fudd [yes, that was his name] from Texas eloquently summarized in the film).


Scott said...

Ouch! “Glorification of Jimmy Carter” – not sure what you mean with that choice of words, Ang, but jeez, let’s HOPE for glorification of the man…you make it sound so icky tho. Maybe I’m reading it wrong…but I had to live thru Nixon, Ford, Reagan, 2 Bush’s, and I remember the Carter days as some of the best around. Perhaps he was too “Aw, shucks” to be remembered fondly or taken seriously…?…but the guy’s heart was in the right place AND he was whip-smart, not a combination that the others can claim.

What else? For the life of me, I cant remember an overt war during his administration (they all have covert “wars” in their bios) – and when was the last time a foreign country asked any other retired US president to come and observe (basically give credence to) their nascent elections to ensure fairness? I hope Bush2 aint waiting around for that phone call. Hmm…and I haven’t seen any of those other jokers swing hammer one for Habitat For Humanity either…

What else? Can you say Nobel Prize for Peace? How about proto-environmentalist? Talk about a fuel crisis and weaning us off of foreign oil – the guy was on it like a hobo on a ham sandwich! For c*r*s* sake, solar panels on the white house roof ?? – Obama can stand to learn a lesson from that. Those were the years that turned me onto environmentalism, partly because he was setting such a great example (at least as much as you could in the 70s) – can you even say that about Clinton? Sorry, nope. Obama is showing hope, but is hamstrung with flailing economies and, yep, dingbat auto companies allowed to run amok with cheap, subsidized oil for all these years… :(

Mid-East anyone? He got Begin and Saddat to actually meet, in person, to discuss peace – top that! Sadly, that’s probably what got Saddat assassinated, if truth be known… oh, and he was probably solely responsible for the inadvertent feeding and growth of the religious right, for that matter.

…and he’s still around doing good things across the globe; the rest of our old presidents are too dead, dumb, or could care less about anything except their SS escorts and residual privileges to bother with explicit, grassroots public service.

All that, and I haven’t even Google’d the guy yet.

Take time to read Fear and Loathing On The Campaign Trail by Hunter S Thompson – there is a good section in there about Carter, written when he was the darkest dark horse, not even a remote contender (HST signed more autographs than Jimmy, while covering him). The book is hilarious throughout, but takes a serious tone when the time with Carter is described. I cant remember exactly what HST says about Jimmy, but the guy was impressed and it showed that there was a man, an admirable man, behind the “Jimmy” persona.

What were we talking about…? Oh yeah, the movie – and one of the other rarely insightful presidents – Eisenhower… Such a risk he appeared to be taking in warning us of the “Military Industrial Complex”…and such a failure on “our” part for letting it take over our economy, country and lives. $300M/week to run a war in flea-bitten Iraq - WTF? Imagine what $300M/week could do for feeding our sinking economy, if only to hand out free solar systems to anyone with a roof (in the USA vs IRAQ, that is) – what a crazy world we live in…currently owned and operated by…guess who.

…and the history of oil IS politically biased, so how could a story touting an alternative be anything but? Look back, it wont take long to see the trend: right-wing = oilOilOIL, left-wing = notSoMuchOil. Bonus question: how many oil companies did Bush2 run into the ground before he changed careers (to baseball)? Hint: it’s the same number of oil companies he ran into the ground before he ran our country into the ground, in favor of much the same business sector. Sad, REALLY SAD, that…but true.

But even if you use SVO in your diesel vehicle, that rig still needs motor oil, tranny fluid, heaps of rubber, etc, etc, - stuff made from petroleum…so a world of industry (aside from basic gasoline usage) is addicted to petroleum, and it’ll take a LOT more than a movie to roll all of that back, but at least it’s a start!

Chad Nelsen said...

Jimmy Carter started the alternative energy revolution. Just think where we would be if we started seriously building alternative energy infrastructure in 1976!

Europe listened and now Germany has something like 40% of is energy portfolio coming from domestically generated renewables.

When it comes to energy and fuel conservation, Jimmy Carter deserves glorification in my book.