Hannah at the Farm Gala
Hollywood actress and political campaigner Daryl Hannah was one of the first to give the off-grid web site an interview (about her former staging post in the Rockies). In her latest chat she says she did not foresee the effect that biofuel production would have on food prices and admits she was “naïve”.

In an interview with Nick Rosen distributed by Reuters news agency, she discusses her long and hard campaign for Americans and others to switch to biofuels rather than fossil fuels like oil and coal. And she is still certain that biofuel is vital for the US economy.

For two decades, spanning many of her major movies including Wall Street, actress Daryl Hannah quietly lived an eco-life on her farm in the Rocky Mountains. She still does, and relies on renewable energy, and water from a spring to meet her needs. She lives there most of the year, growing her own food and rearing and riding her four horses.

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While her house, a former staging post, was being remodeled, Hannah stayed in a Tipi for almost two years. “I still use my tipi summer and fall. They are a beautiful, perfect light impact dwelling. I lived in it year round for years before and while I was winterizing the old stagecoach stop.”

In 2002 she went public with her eco-beliefs and began campaigning for the use of biofuel. She has always driven a bio-powered El Camino and has “a biodiesel 4×4 for pulling my horses and snow conditions” at her estate near Telluride, CO. Hannah insists on “B100” as aficionados call pure 100% biofuel. Hers is “made from waste grease.”

Now food prices are rising fast and ecologist are blaming part of that increase on increased biofuel production. Ethanol production does use food crops, and is likely to do so in the future. “In the case of ethanol and corn production. it is partly responsible” (for food price rises)” Hannah told Rosen.

But she is still certain that “sustainable” biofuel will not damage food production because “there are many other fuel processing techniques and feed stocks that biofuels can come from – for both biodiesel + ethanol,” including “garbage,hemp,algae, moringa, jatropha, cellulose waste and prairie grasses.”

Increasingly the actress has become a political campaigner. Last year she was arrested after refusing to come out of a tree on a farm in central Los Angeles which was threatened by redevelopment. And recently she joined a protest against Occidental Oil. “I’ve personally witnessed the devastation in the Amazon that the oil companies have wrought upon these indigenous communities. There are open, unlined waste pits, rainbow oil slicks on the streams, high cadmium and lead poisoning in the children and wildlife. when you see these crimes, you have no choice but to speak up,” Hannah told Rosen.

Do the Hollywood establishment disapprove of her activities? “It’s of no importance to me what anyone thinks of my participation,” replies Hannah. “What’s important is awareness of the facts and issues. Itruly believe when people have access to information, for the most part they will make wise decisions.”

But Hannah says she was “naïve” to believe people would respond in the right way to her calls for eco-living, on the issue of bio-fuel. “It was naive of me not to realize that of course and unfortunately short sighted greed and opportunism would step right up to the plate as usual, and heavily invest in going down a bad road,” said Hannah, 46, “It’s almost inconceivable that some would….. choose to do things like burn rainforests in Malaysia to plant palm plantations, or make biofuels that compete with basic food supplies.
” We absolutely need biofuels to play a part in solving our energy crisis/demands, but it’s essential to make them sustainably” Hannah co- founded the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance (SBA – http://www.sustainablebiodieselalliance.com), to help set certification criteria for sustainable bio diesel. “I’m glad the message is finally getting across, but I was not
prepared for the enormous amounts of dollars and energy that has gone into producing bio fuels in an unsustainable manner,” she said.

“I’m very happy bio fuels are now not just perceived as a fringe alternative but as a real and important part of the solution.”

Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site

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