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The Question of FUEL?

"Fields of Fuel" addresses the issue of alternative energy and biofuels with a case that it could even stop war. Eco-crusader Josh Tickell with the help of Willie Nelson, Niel Young, Jimmy Carter and many other famous faces makes the case for why alternative fuels are not only needed but morally right. The film's sentiments are focused on the future of clean and green fuels.

Fuel is the quest to stand up to our country’s addiction to oil and propose alternative solutions. It recently won Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and is in many ways unlike any other documentary I’ve seen recently.

fuel_posterMost documentaries that speak to fuel usage and the global crises it causes are fairly doom and gloom oriented. They paint a hopeless scenario, are pretty heavy-handed with the guilt, and speak vaguely to the need for change. Fuel though is different. While it unequivocally points out the problems with petrochemical corporations and our political dalliance with oil, it does so from a very personal perspective. Tickell tells his own story - from his mother’s heath struggles common to those living near the Louisiana refineries to his experiments with veggiemobiles. His candid approach is a constant reminder that the fuel crisis is not just an abstract phenomenon, but a very personal issue.

But what really sets this film apart is its hopeful outlook for the future. There are alternatives out there - solutions are available, we just need to jump on board. Tickell spends a good portion of the movie describing the early biodiesel/ethanol movement. I appreciated that he dealt head on with the worldwide economic and pollution issues involved in some of the production of those fuels.

But he then moves on to describe better biodiesel options (like algae based fuel grown from wastewater) and the potential behind other alternative energy sources like solar and wind energy. These aren’t vague options he suggests either, but he outlines plans for exactly how these technologies can work, help create jobs, and benefit the economy. Everything from multistory greenhouse gardens that can feed entire cities to Sweden’s plan to be petroleum free by 2020 are presented in this hopeful view of the future. I liked this tangible and practical vision and left the theater wanted to invest or something in algae fuels and windmill technology.

It will take the US government doing what many European governments have done and subsidize the eco-friendly options (instead of our oil addiction). It has to be practical, easy, cheap, and widespread for it to happen. I encourage you to go see the film if it is playing in your area. Get educated about these solutions. We don’t have to be addicted to oil, there are viable alternatives. And this movie is a great reminder that there is hope.

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