I consider myself a reasonably well-educated person when it comes to peak oil, climate change, and alternative forms of energy. So Fuel—a film by Joshua Tickell, who's personally invested his life in biodiesel and conducting an "intervention" into our oil addiction—didn't strike me as a must-see film at first. Narrated by Tickell (whose heavy-handed storytelling was accurately described as "schmaltzy" by a woman leaving the theater ahead of me), the first three-quarters of Fuel mirror other recent enviro-docs like An Inconvenient Truth—outlining his crusade to save the planet, Tickell tells us that we have to find another way to fuel our lives. Yeah, no duh.
Tickell's answer is biodiesel. But wait: Isn't biodiesel the stuff that's pushing out food crops on the world's finite arable land, and driving up food prices? It's not like there's enough McDonald's fry grease to fill all of our tanks. This cannot possibly be the answer.
But then Tickell redeems himself: The last quarter of the film is astounding, explaining how biodiesel from algae and from trees that can be grown in the crappiest of soils might really be the answer. Put aside your green Portlander know-it-all attitude (ahem), do yourself a favor, and go check it out. Q&A with director Joshua Tickell during evening screenings on Friday, November 14 and Saturday, November 15. See Movie Times for details.