Have you wondered about the differences among biodiesel, vegetable oil, and ethanol? Curious about why we're using gasoline when there are so many cheap and easy alternatives available? At around 45 minutes, Freedom Fuels is a quick and painless way for anyone to get informed. Download it! Pass it on to your friends and neighbors.
"With our distribution system primarily Internet-based, we've bypassed normal methods," remarked producer and director Martin O'Brien in a thick, Irish brogue. "It's like, boom! Kick it out when it's 18 and, you know, let it out into the Internet world and we'll move on and make another film about an important topic."O'Brien, who financed the project and has relied on the help of volunteers, took advantage of the Sundance hubbub to promote Freedom Fuels from a biodiesel school bus on Main Street in Park City last weekend.
"I don't mean to disrespect Sundance, and I have a lot of respect for Robert Redford and everything, but our method is by any means necessary. The Ice Caps are melting."
O'Brien connected with City Academy middle school chemistry teacher Shei Wickelson through the Clean Cities Coalition in Salt Lake City. Her students converted the bus to run on biodiesel.
"I found out about a study that the EPA had done that showed that the air pollution around school buses is 15 times higher than the allowable limits, which is even harder on kids lungs because they're still developing," Wickelson said.
"I started teaching at a really supportive school and they were into the idea [of converting a bus] and so we worked our entire chemistry curriculim around the kids doing research, us making our own biodiesel and getting the bus running. It was a really cool environmental project, but it was also really a great way to teach science. The kids got so into it and felt so important."
Two years later, City Academy continues to use the bus for field trips and excursions, like one to Half Moon Bay, California last summer. (Students already ride public transit to school each day, so the bus is not used for a pick-up route.)
"The whole point of a school bus is not just for media," O'Brien noted. "There are people here from all over the world and they say 'Wow, my kids can run around in a school bus that has clean air coming out the back?' So that makes them take the information back home."
You can take it home, too! ::Freedom Fuels