Seth Warren and Tyler Bradt are two world-class kayakers who met while kayaking in Montana and became good friends, despite the 9 year age difference. When they had both finished school, they met again on the banks of the White Nile in Uganda and decided to plan for the ultimate road-trip on the Pan-American Highway. They devised a schedule to follow summer from Alaska to Argentina, while kayaking on some of the best white water in the west.
During the early stages of their planning, they realized that the biggest expense by far would be the petroleum needed to fuel their journey. One day, Seth ran into a group of people who were fueling their cars with waste vegetable oil from fast food restaurants. As they began researching alternative fuel sources, they realized they could use their trip to set an example for others: vegetable oil burns cleaner than petroleum, and since it can be produced locally it would reduce foreign dependence on oil. They decided to make a film about their project, Oil + Water, to help them teach others about recycling and using cleaner fuels.
|Seth and Tyler (www.oilandwaterproject.org)|
They made a list of their ideas, and created a presentation on their proposal to elicit sponsors to fill their remaining budget. Before long, they were being sponsored by some of the outdoor industries' most environmentally-conscious companies. In October of 2005, they travelled to Mexico to learn Spanish. They wanted to be able to relay their message to the developing nations that were being affected the most by the petroleum monopoly. In January of 2006, they started to build a vehicle that could run on natural oil. In March of that year, they drove through more than 50 cities in the US and Canada to test the components of their new vehicle, a red Japanese fire truck named Baby. On their way, they distributed curriculums and spoke to youths about the benefits of alternative fuels. After they finished their tour of the US and Canada, they headed up to Alaska to begin their 21,000+ mile journey from Alaska to Argentina.
As they drove, they fueled their car with completely natural waste by-products: salmon oil, a by-product of Alaska's fishing industry, waste vegetable oil from fast-food restaurants, and the waste pig lard commonly used for frying chicharones. News of their journey preceded them, and when they reached San Salvador the local government offered assistance to organize schools, demonstrations, and press conferences so they could talk about their project. They were hosted by the Minister of Environment in San Salvador, who stated, "This project allows us to show the people that we can re-utilize materials that are seen as waste to protect the environment. We would like to promote the recycling of used cooking oil so it doesn't go down the drain. Not only does it impact our waters, but we can use it as a clean fuel."
|Filtering oil to use in Baby's engine (www.myhero.com)|
Baby is currently on a tour of the US, travelling to different schools to speak during the school year. They are teaching youths about the value of alternative fuels, including solar, wind, and hydropower. Perhaps, if enough people learn about alternative fuel sources, we can protect and even repair the damage to our environment.