Monday, January 14, 2008

posted by Jason @ 5:32 PM
Looking over at the upcoming concert list on the right, I see Willie Nelson's name. One of the bigger regrets of my concert career is that I haven't seen him yet. I had hoped to at Bonaroo '04, but he pulled out due to health problems (although he was ably replaced by Steve Winwood, who was frankly stunning).

It's pretty hard not to like Willie. Between the pot smoking, the tax dodging, the charitable concerts, and the forward thinking views he presents to a fan base that isn't known for being so forward thinking, he represents a complex human face in a sea of two-dimensional acts. I've written before about FarmAid's sustainable food practices and how they could and should be a model for all other large festivals. He's also well-known for his love of biodiesel, and over the last couple of years he's gone and started his own line of the stuff, under the brand name Biowillie. He's even starting Willie's Place, a truck stop in Texas, to sell the stuff.

Biodiesel, ethanol, and other biofuels shouldn't be viewed as any kind of a panacea, no matter what Willie tells you. They don't do a thing to improve vehicle efficiency, they're typically mixed with fossil fuels, they usually rely on petroleum-based fertilizer, they do nothing to break the bounds of a continued corporate monoculture, and they are linked to significant water quality issues (PDF link). But all that aside, supporting biofuels as one piece of the solution to fixing our energy woes is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. I'd rather see a tour bus running on biofuels and supporting family farmers than a tour bus running on fossil fuels and supporting ExxonMobil.

For some reason, I can't get YouTube to embed on this post, but here's a clip of Willie on NPR talking about the reasons he got into biodiesel (his wife talked him into it):

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