Josh Tickell grew up in a place where you could fish in nearby streams and cool down in the bayou across a shady lane. This was a place of abundance and beauty where neighbors served up mouth watering stews from local waters, then laugh and say “We eat everything that don’t eat us first.”
Things began to change. Josh watched the streams turn to sledge and the clear waters became so poisonous that most of the fish died and the ones that survived were too toxic to eat. The air turned the color of tar and stunk. Everybody got headaches and some become sick and a few died. Everyone knew what was going on. The government did nothing more than put up a few signs warning not to fish or “Water unfit for swimming.” Oil refineries had come to Louisiana and Big Oil money kept politicians wealthy and silent.
These events deeply angered Josh who made a terrific film called Fuel. His anger motivated him to find alternatives to Big Oil. He spent his life documenting the rise of bio-fuels like corn, algae, solar, wind and ocean currents. He bought an old van and installed a diesel engine and fueled it with used vegetable oil he recovered from fast food restaurants. He drove across the country spreading the word about a cleaner way to power up.
What’s most gripping about Fuel is watching Josh change. Anger is a powerful motivator. It moved Josh to take action against Big Oil. Anger can also fuel wars. Bush/Cheney were able to harness the anger over 911 and use it to convince American’s to attack Iraq even though Iraq was not involved in 911. Sustained anger has a price. It causes burn out, apathy and depression. So Josh changed his strategy. “I stopped fighting from anger and I started looking for partners.” Maybe that’s what we all need to do. Share our personal story of hurt, betrayal, and rage. Next reach out beyond our hurt and connect with a community of partners and take action.