Harrelson: Individually, We Must Ease Up on Earth

Harrelson: Individually, We Must Ease Up on Earth
Posted by FoM on May 05, 2001 at 08:46:33 PT
By David Barton, Bee Staff Writer
Source: Sacramento Bee
Woody Harrelson meets a lot of people. When you're a handsome, likable actor with major successes in both TV and film, it just happens. "Every time I go to the airport I meet 20 people," he says. But, he says, his conversations tend to move quickly past the gushings of fans on to more substantial subjects."We talk, and they feel dissatisfied," he says. "They know they're not being represented in this economy and this government."
Like Harrelson, they feel that the mass culture, particularly as regards its industries and their impact on the environment, has become a nature-destroying juggernaut, what Harrelson calls "The Beast.""We have to ask ourselves, 'How are we feeding The Beast on an individual, daily basis?' " he says. "I'm talking about our individual footprint. Do we have a light footprint on the Earth?"It is with those people in mind that Harrelson, 39, is putting the rubber to the road.But no airports this time. Instead, Harrelson and a group of five friends are taking a month to ride down the West Coast, covering 1,500 miles from Seattle to Los Angeles, hoping to raise awareness of the importance of what he calls "simple organic living."Today, Harrelson and his crew will be riding out to Sac State in time for Harrelson to give a free talk at the University Union at noon.Harrelson's devotion to both the practical and the pleasurable uses of the hemp plant -- the bus that is supporting his riding crew runs on hemp oil -- has earned him notoriety. It has also led some to consider his views somehow on the fringe. He begs to differ."I think it's already a fairly popular consciousness in this century," he says by phone from Arcata, a few days before he reaches Sacramento. "There are groups of people all over this country, all over the world, that are talking about sustainability. They are people who want a change, they're not happy with how society is, they want to get off the grid, to live outside of that."Harrelson says that on his coastal ride, he's meeting a lot of people like that."We're meeting up with a lot of different people, from lumberjacks to Ken Kesey (the countercultural rebel of the '60s)," he says. "I stopped yesterday and there was this guy who chisels wood with a chain saw, and the art was amazing, you'd have to see it, I can't describe it. He does all these different animals, and the sound of this chain saw ... well, I never equated a chain saw with art before."But Harrelson says that he's also seen some of the damage that can be done with a chain saw."Riding along, we passed all these trucks going this and that direction with all these corpses of what were magnificent trees," he says. "And all I could think was, 'This is so unnecessary.' Up until the 1800s, 90 percent of paper was made from hemp, from stuff that was agricultural waste, not these gorgeous, irreplaceable trees."But the ride, and the lecture, are not just an occasion for Harrelson to bemoan ecological destruction. He wants to propose, and model, alternatives. A big part of that model is hemp, which has numerous uses, but fell out of favor when its cousin, cannabis sativa, or marijuana, was made illegal.Harrelson says he wears hemp clothing and that the bus that runs on hemp oil is doing just fine. Electricity on the bus is provided by solar panels, and the floor is sustainably harvested cork."It's a model," he says. "There are models for simple, sustainable living out there. I'm encouraging kids to find that model within themselves."Harrelson says that he tries to be a model, noting that he lives in his truck in Hawaii with solar electricity, but he also admits, "I'm not part of this group of people who isn't knocked out by the stimulating carnival of events that surrounds us all the time. I'm no Ed Begley Jr. (an actor acquaintance who Harrelson says is religiously environmentally conscious). But I try."With the idea of empowering individuals, and of uniting people with environmental concerns, Harrelson has started a Web site -- On it, he is currently keeping visitors updated on the bike tour's progress, but it also features information on the tour bus. Eventually, the site will feature "Wood's Goods," what he says will be "a virtual store for small businesses that are making great alternative, sustainable products."And, he adds, when enough people are involved with the site, "I want to start boycotts against multinational corporations who are destroying the environment."But for now, Harrelson says that the change that needs to take place is spiritual as well as practical."I do think we have to change in a lot of outward ways," he says, "But I think that personal transformation equals political transformation. There needs to be a love revolution, really."Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)Author: David Barton, Bee Staff WriterPublished: May 4, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Sacramento BeeAddress: P.O.Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852Contact: opinion sacbee.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Voice Yourself Car To Make Record 10,000-Mile Trip Finally Makes Trip from 60s to 00s
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 17, 2001 at 15:34:35 PT
News Brief From The Associated Press
Actor Woody Harrelson's Wife Injured During Cycling TourMay 17, 2001SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) -- Actor Woody Harrelson's wife was injured Wednesday when she was struck by a big-rig truck while cycling on an environmental tour. Laura Harrelson was listed in good condition late Wednesday at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, a nursing supervisor said. She was struck about 2:30 p.m. while cycling southbound on Highway 101 just north of Isla Vista in Santa Barbara County, a California Highway Patrol dispatcher said. Woody Harrelson, 39, is promoting his eco-activism agenda by riding with friends from Seattle to Southern California. The 1,500-mile trek started April 12. Its goal was to spread the message of Simple Organic Living and is known as the SOL Tour.
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Comment #2 posted by jAHn on May 07, 2001 at 10:48:15 PT
To say the least...
...This article IS beautiful! Thank you soo much for this...I just can't help but to be in love with the Woody! What a human! "..never equated a chain-saw with art before." Yeah..Fresh!!!You're Awesome F0M!!!
Hemp Car
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on May 05, 2001 at 19:19:59 PT:
Woody funds non wood paper mill
CN MB: Woody Funds PulpURL: Dave HaansPubdate: Thu, 31 Aug 2000Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)Copyright: 2000 The Toronto StarContact: lettertoed thestar.comAddress: One Yonge St., Toronto ON, M5E 1E6Fax: (416) 869-4322Website: FUNDS PULP Harrelson backs non-wood mill in Manitoba WINNIPEG ( CP ) -- Actor Woody Harrelson has invested two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in a non-wood pulp mill proposed for Manitoba. If the project - using straw from oats, flax, wheat and, eventually, hemp to make paper - proceeds, it would be the first of its kind in North America. "It's looking really positive right now," Harrelson said Tuesday outside the Hotel Fort Garry. "This place is great. You've got everything you need, man." Harrelson, Canadian Alliance party co-president Clayton Manness and businessman Jeff Golfman have formed Prairie Pulp and Paper Co. and conducted several feasibility studies. "The results are favourable enough that we want to proceed," Manness said in a telephone interview. "We've tried to keep this under wraps for the best part of two years. None of this is a slam-dunk. We're just on the radar map." While much of the money invested was Harrelson's, the Manitoba government has also contributed. Last year, the province gave Man Agra Capital Inc., Manness's company, $50,000 to study the feasibility of the project. In all, government and other supporters have invested $340,000. Harrelson is best known as the dull-witted bartender on television's Cheers, but he has since appeared in several big Hollywood films, including The People vs. Larry Flynt and Natural Born Killers. He was in Winnipeg Tuesday for meetings to set up a slate of officers for Prairie Pulp. Those names have not been released. Harrelson, an outspoken advocate of hemp cultivation, became interested in the project when the federal government passed a law allowing the growing and harvesting of industrial hemp. The actor was recently acquitted of a marijuana possession charge laid after he ceremonially planted four hemp seeds to protest a Kentucky state law that considers hemp the same as marijuana. "His real interest was that trees not be cut down," said Manness. "You've got the natural stuff on the ground here," said Harrelson. "This can work. It really seems possible." While the mill project may someday use hemp, Manness stresses farmers will need other outlets for their crops. "We'd only be taking the waste and there's not enough money for them to dedicate fields just for that," he said. Another Manitoba company already uses straw in an innovative manner. The $142 million Isobord strawboard plant in Elie uses shredded, pressed straw in place of wood chips to make particle board. While the project proposes to begin producing pulp, Manness said the eventual goal is to make the sort of paper that can be used in fax machines. The trio plans to spend close to $3 million for the next phase, hiring engineers and beginning the design process. If that goes well, a $400 million to $700 million mill is another two or three years away. Manness said money would come from financial players in Toronto and New York and from "well heeled individuals" in the environmental community. Harrelson happened to be staying at the Fort Garry, where the national Liberal caucus is currently meeting. "I thought maybe the cameras were for me," he joked after moving through the crowded lobby. "Your Prime Minister is going to be here, right?" -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
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