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Daryl Hannah looks under the environmental hood

blog_dirtHang tight, diehard Cruzans! There may be even a better use for mushrooms—fuel.

All this according to environmental priestess Daryl Hannah. True, using vegetables as a fuel source may sound so very Bonnie Raitt circa 2004, but the topic wasn’t the only thing the popular actress-activist had on her mind during a quick venture into Santa Cruz late Tuesday afternoon. She and other local eco-patriots—well, she actually dislikes the term “eco”—were on hand to discuss the greening of the auto industry on Community TV’s thought-provoking outing, “Eco Review.”  At the top of the list: Ethanol.

And to show off the positive effects of converting your own car to use ethanol, Hannah brought along an old pal—that sexy 1979 Pontiac Trans Am she drove in “Kill Bill.” (I didn’t mind posing in front of it myself, thank you very much.)

Last year, the 50-year-old actress—one of those ‘”you gotta be kidding me” factoids—who made a dent in films like “Splash” and “Steel Magnolias,” converted the Pontiac to run off 85 percent ethanol (E85). She strongly dismisses EPA naysayers who nix using higher blends of ethanol.

“I think that car can run on 100 percent alcohol,” Hannah muses of the Trans. “I don’t use any petroleum in my car.  I have not used any petroleum in my car for about 12 years now. But with anything—biodiesel or alcohol—it still needs to be made responsibly.“

Local eco titan (sorry Daryl, still looking for stellar alternatives to that E word), David Blume was also on hand Tuesday. Blume notes that even though federal regulations limit the amount of ethanol (per gallon) of gas to 10 percent, there’s some hope. For starters, the EPA may allow states to oversee an increase in the maximum alcohol fuel blend—to about 15 percent.

Hannah was asked to appear on “Eco-Review” by host Tom Harvey, quite the enviro wiz, actually. A longtime supporter of the environment—she has worked with green’s Ed Begley Jr., as well—she was drenched in obsidian (leggings, a low-cut free-flowing blouse, a silver necklace) and spoke candidly about what the everyday person can do to make a difference environmentally.

“Every person, no matter what your income status has the ability to buy or make responsible energy, whether it be fuel or power,” she says. “It’s possible. It can be made in so many different ways and we don’t need to be dependent on a centralized system.”

She also warns of carcinogens: “You don’t want any pollutants around you.”

“The way that we get our energy makes a huge impact,” she goes on to tell me. “We have the means. We have the resources. We just need the will. And have to insist that our representatives are representing our will.”

For now, we’re fortunate that she’s representing ours. (At least the collective “greater” green will.) Truth is, Hannah seems to actually walk her talk—a trait often missing in today’s Reality TV/Twitter-obsessed culture.

In other words, you can’t help but get revved up about her and the cause.

Godspeed Ms. D.


Look for ‘Eco-Review’  to re-broadcast “The Greening of the Auto Industry: from Paint to Fuel,” at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays through April 23 on Community TV (Channels 27 and 73).

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