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Myrvienne Leon

Go Further
By: Myrvienne Leon
College Now Course - SCI 1

Get on the bio-fueled bus with Woody Harrelson and his band of eco-activists as they embark on a 1300 mile road trip from Seattle to Santa Barbara to promote environmental awareness and simple organic living. Counter culture documentarian Ron Mann (grass, comic book confidential, twist) chronicles Harrelson's journey from college campus appearances and encounters with curious onlookers to a visit with 1960s icon Ken Kersey. With his fellow travelers, including one confessed junk food addict, Harrelson is determined to change hearts and minds, one hemp burger and sweet avocado chocolate mousse pie at a time.

In Go Further, director Ron Mann chronicles Woody Harrelson's consciousness-raising tour about sustainable living on a hemp fueled bus down from Oregon to Southern California, offering viable solutions that can help make the world a little better.

In a country saturated by junk food and just junk in general, Harrelson's tour offers alternative choices. As in the book, Fast Food Nation, once you know where some of this stuff comes from, how the animals are treated and what conditions and abuse workers toil under so that you can eat a Whopper for under $2, it all becomes indigestible. When Harrelson tells goofy, likable, Steve, the Junk Food Addict, that all dairy products feature blood and pus, he's incredulous. But, after visiting a dairy farm and seeing cows with distended udders, he realizes that it's true. He continues to spread the gospel about blood and pus with a megaphone.

Rather than just offering a diatribe against corporate America or ambush blame tactics, a la Michael Moore, Mann offers solutions. From the organic raw food chef aboard the bus, to a paper manufacturer that doesn't harm trees, to a worm tea vendor/farmer who offers an alternative to cancer causing pesticides, the very valuable lessons in showing "the better way" healthier for the earth and the population are valid.

Making "ordinary Joe" Steve the star of this film works on various levels. One was to only focus on Woody Harrelson, who has already completed his journey and is now focused on teaching others, maybe off putting and theoretically impossible for others to put into practice because of how advanced he is. By focusing on Steve, a junk food junkie horn dog who spews out sayings and is completely disarming, anyone with even a mild interest in this earth can look at him and decide that maybe eating at 7/11 for every meal is not the best way to go. Maybe going to a farmer's market and getting seasonal food is better than buying bananas and tomatoes that taste like cardboard. By having a movie star as the vehicle for change instead of the main attraction, the general public can focus more attention on the issues.

Part of the charm of the film is following the people invited onboard, Sarah, a college student who shops at the Gap, never exercises and doesn't pay much attention to where her meals come from, joins the tour. By the end, like Steve, she has tried yoga, is cycling, watching what she eats and is, in general, more conscious of the world around her. And, that's Harrelson's goal. That it is possible.

Go Further is a documentary following Woody Harrelson as he travels across the United States with a message about organic living. But, surprisingly enough, considering that virtually every participant in the film is either a vegetarian or a vegan, the movie never comes off as preachy. Harrelson and his gang are essentially fun-loving hippies, and their easy-going vibe is infectious. Director Ron Mann keeps things light, but occasional staged sequences call into question the film's veracity. Still, there's no denying that Go Further is a crowd pleaser in its purest form, and while I won't admit to have quit chocolate or other assorted animal by-products, the movie did encourage me to stop drinking milk for a couple of weeks afterwards (don't even ask what's in milk besides milk, trust me).

In this movie, the actors were also talking about renewable energy. Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources - such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat - which are renewable (naturally replenished). In 2006, about 18% of global final energy consumption came from renewable sources, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, such as wood-burning. Hydroelectricity was the next largest renewable source, providing 3% (15% of global electricity generation), followed by solar hot water/heating, which contributed 1.3%. Modern technologies, such as geothermal energy, wind power, solar power, and ocean energy together provided some 0.8% of final energy consumption.

Climate change concerns coupled with high oil prices, peak oil and increasing government support are driving increasing renewable energy legislation, incentives and commercialization.

While there are many large-scale renewable energy projects and production, renewable technologies are also suited to small off-grid applications, sometimes in rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial in human development. Kenya has the world's highest household solar ownership rate with roughly 30,000 small solar power systems sold per year.

Some renewable energy technologies are criticized for being intermittent or unsightly, yet the market is growing for many forms of renewable energy. Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are key to creating a clean energy future for, not only the nation, but the world.

And, through this movie, we can see that Esso is destroying the planet, and it is sabotaging global action on climate change. Esso doesn't support clean and renewable energy.

Woody Harrison said,"you can transform your life if you change your basic consumer behavior you can become a powerful force in transforming the world." His idea is very good, but it's not only changing our basic consumer behavior, it is also knowing the different scientific experience with our planet.

The nation is in crisis. We have to transform the world together. The environment is very important in our life. We have to know what we are eating and buying and how these things are produced to have healthy living. The survival of this planet begins with the small personal transformation within the grass roots that reaches in every one of us, and them we will go further.