Daryl Hannah has a massive commitment to the environment, and unusually amongst the Hollywood A-list, she puts in real time and effort to forward her beliefs. In this exclusive interview she spoke to Off-Grid’s Steve Spence.  Off-Grid 2005

Daryl Hannah and Charris Ford
Daryl Hannah & Charris Ford – promoting biodiesel (Jason Hudepohl)

Actress Daryl Hannah is often referred to as the Blonde Goddess of Hollywood, but as far as we’re concerned she’s the Green Goddess of the Rocky Mountains. Hannah lives there, off the grid, and she spoke to us about her setup and why she got into that life. The details were fascinating, from the technology of her farm-tractor to the soft couch in her living room made of moss covered stone.

She was in New York with Charris Ford who has lived off-grid for the past 18 years. They are on a tour to promote use of bio-diesel fuel, one of the issues that most concerns her. She started learning about the environment as a pre-teen, and she found nature to be the thing that has centered her, where she can think about things.

Charris, who runs Grassolean Solutions , got Daryl into bio-diesel as a way of reducing energy consumption on the planet, and now, as is well known she drives a bio-El Camino as well as running a bio-truck, and a bio-tractor on her farm in the Rockies.

But Hannah is not a one-issue campaigner. Her whole way of being is all about the interconnectedness of things and her favourite saying is on that theme:

There’s a phrase I really love, she said pulling out her pockebook — I actually wrote it on my wallet thou canst not stir a flower without the troubling of a star.

It just speaks to the interconnectedness of things, she says,

I have been a vegetarian since I was 11, and I eat organic , and my belief is that all these things are tied together, everyone says to me what’s your issue? but its all the same (its about) humanity — all environmental interests are tied together.

And really that is Daryl’s consistent theme — which she has been able to put into practice in her off-grid home:

My house in the Rockies was an old stagecoach stop. Its pretty small, and I restored and put solar power in, and we have spring water because there’s a spring next to it. It basically all runs on solar, and we have a back up bio-diesel generator.

I took a barn that was being torn down to put up a new post office, all made of old growth hazel (wood), and they said that if I took it before they tore it down then I could have it. So we took it all apart and numbered it and put it back together and that’s now the winterised dwelling.

The stagecoach stop was not insulated really except with newspapers, for about a hundred years every traveller who came through would put up an extra layer of newspapers from wherever they were from, so it was not very warm but there were newspapers from the 1800’s.

Anyway, so we winterised the barn and we turned it into the hillside (on one side) and directed it towards the Southwest (on the other) so it is getting both passive and active (solar energy),

I call it the art barn, and I have a big art space for creative endeavours, whatever that may be, music or painting or what movies or whatever.

“We also have an organic garden, and we get worm juice, ” she giggled. ” The bottom portion of it is all greenhoused in , and we let the water come running through  there’s a little creek  (which) keeps it half humidified as well and waters the plants.

We saved the most amazing detail for last. If there was an Oscar for recyling, Daryl Hannah would be the only nominee. She has actually made a couch out of mossy stone.

All the stone and scrub oak that needed to be moved when we put the barn in, we used it inside the house. The stone that had moss on it we use as a couch, and we water the couch to keep the moss alive.

Now that�s what we call off-grid.

The photo here is one of Daryl�s favourites �I have a nice picture of me in front of my tepee (near the house),� she told us. �You can�t really see my face that well, but I like it.�

Daryl Hannah's favourite photo of herself (Jeff Lipsky)
Daryl Hannah’s favourite photo of herself.

We think it says a lot about her that the photo is outside her teepee in the grounds of her home, and that you cannot really see her face. She is a modest woman who really cares about the environment rather than latching on to it as a new fad. Please write to the editor if you would like a larger format, higher-res copy of the photo.
My initiation into the natural world was through summer camp,” she told Off-Grid in her interview. “I grew up on the 47th floor of a building in downtown Chicago, and I was so disassociated and alien to the world and my dad saw that I was having issues at school, basically my teachers were saying that nothing was really sticking, everything was going in one ear and out the other.

�I kind of lived in some fantasy world, and his solution was to send me off to the camps where he went to as a kid, which was in the mountains in the Rockies, in Colorado, and it was a camp where you lived in covered wagons for two months and you horse pack and you backpack. You know, you�d have to dig a fire pit and you�d have to dig a latrine , you have to pitch a tent, you have to feed the horses groom them and bridle and saddle them; pack your tent, pack your food and clothes, for two months, you know and I did that every year from when I was 7 to when I was 17, every summer.

�We�d do technical climbing, and I�d even do solos, you know they�d send you out for 24 hours with no sleeping bag, no water� she said laughing at the memory of it. �And you�d go and think about things, essentially, you know.

�I never did any (foraging), I never did eat anything (out in the wood) but it would give you time to think and appreciate things, you know.

�Anyway, that was when I found my centre in a way, you know I found my �things made more sense to me when I was in nature. Things kind of pinned together and I started feeling more of this world. And I�ve always kept that connection. And I felt strong around and always been around people who have very strong environmental convictions, and a lot of them even though they preach them and they don�t necessarily live by them, At a certain point when I was older I took my life into my own hand and I just decided I wanted to try and live by my beliefs as much is possible.�

We are hoping Daryl will work more closely with Off-Grid on future projects, and will let readers know when there are any new developments on this front.

� Off-Grid 2005

13 Responses

  1. I
    mean DARYL HANNAH ON BEING OFF-GRID | Living Off the Grid:
    Free Yourself is kinda plain. Just my opinion,
    it would bring your website a little bit more interesting.

  2. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it
    to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
    put the shell to her ear and screamed. There
    was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!

    LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  3. I am located in the North East and I am seeking some environmentally conscious people to join me in an extremely lucrative business distributing green energy through the local utility to homes and businesses. I am a law enforcement officer who does this business part time. The CEO of my company is an environmentalist who has cracked the code of bringing green energy to the masses at a discount to the utility. Sustainability married to profitability! As we grow and become more profitable, we create more demand for green energy, its genius! Join my team, email me and lets make some money together while saving our planet!

  4. I have a 423 lot approval for a village ,1hour from the gold coast Australia and ideally would like to develop OFF THE GRID. Sydney university wants to set up a university of sustainability on site and consult on the project, Hope to sell house and land lots for $350,000 . Just need 423 interested people so i can get started. Peter.

  5. We are looking for people, preferably a couple for a small community of 4-6 people (no children) who are looking to retire and live a quiet life on a farm. We are a young couple who are looking to buy some land and live off of it. We are looking in Southwest Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and similar areas which have comfortable climates year round.

    We are looking for a riverfront property with 100 acres + and are looking for likeminded individuals who fit and able to help. If you are interested in becoming a part of the community and live a very quiet, high quality life, please respond. You must be easy going and open minded and non-violent. We just want to live a nice quiet life on an organic farm in nature. So if you love nature, scenery and are interested in being a part of this community with your help, please respond to this ad.

  6. WAY TO GO ,jadene f.,:) I agree!!! Daryl , I’ve ALWAYS been a big fan!!! … YOU make me PROUD!!! THANK You,Daryl,for all you do!Your voice will go FAR to help save this planet,if we aren’t to late!!!… I appreciate you & EVERYONE out there who tries to do their part, GO GREEN, KEEP IT CLEAN!!! SAY NO TO G.M.O.!!! ~PEACE!~

  7. Well, I wonder how to achieve celebrity support like Darryl’s for something really deep like the Supreme Court’s ruling to give corporations the status of natural persons. This shocking decision extends basic constitutional rights like free speech (unlimited dollars=speech) to Monsanto, MacDonald’s, Exxon, and foreign corporations. It is the end of democracy and affects simply everything.
    What needs to happen is for everyone to take a stand and reverse the decision as soon as possible. For those of us who don’t watch television, we can expect to avoid some of the worst mega-multimillion dollar corporate advertising campaigns; however, newspapers, magazines, radio, and billboards will show the political campaigns they’ll be running, we’ll all get more robo-calls, and worse.
    Genetically modified seed drift has already closed down many smaller-than-factory-farm-sized independent organic farming operations. How will voters make their decisions on resolutions and bills in a climate of unlimited direct contributions from corporations to political campaigns?
    I like that Darryl recognizes the connectedness of all environmental issues. That is how it really is. What those of us who are awake must do, I believe, is work cooperatively as a collective of people and organizations saying that corporate influence in government and food production has gotten out of hand. We need to take back our nation.
    This is the big one.
    For more information visit https://eco-logic-action.blogspot.com/

  8. I like Daryl. She’s really a TreeHugger for she has defended the sustainability of the off-grid system. What I would like to stress is that currently the bio-fuel is on debate for its productivity has shortened the area available for food agriculture, which in turn is producing a dramatic situation on developing countries. I think the better source for vehicle fuel is solar, if the economic source for investigation is solved. Furthermore, using water as fuel is debatable too for the scarcity of sweet water. Sustainable planning and compact urbanism, along with massive transport must be enhanced too. Green architecture is important as well.

  9. I have been involved in biomass conversion (wood and agriculture wastes)and am tying to get a unit from Europe (400 portable units built each year for the last 5 years and no units in the US) It can provide electricty, heat, purified water, and other bio by-products such as fuels, fertilizers, herbicides, insectcides, pesticides that can be used within the community from their own waste. This would be an ideal technology to provide rural communities and can be utilized to rebuild their economic development from within the community.

    Do you know anyone that can help me?

    Community Biomass Technologies
    P.O. Box 12908
    Reno, NV 89510-2908

  10. Love you guys! Keep up the good work – we have a world to save! I would be interested in any synergistic networking and strategic alliances to get this show on the road. I’m a singer/songwriter turned presidential candidate (as a visualization art project) – what else could I do?

    Did anyone see the ’04 Pentagon report on global cooling? Since it came out well before the last presidential election I was just curious as to why neither of the two-party-system candidates addressed it. I don’t know about you but I get pretty scarey when the freaking Pentagon issues an environmental warning of that magnitude. When was the last time they gave a hoot about the environment? E-gads.

    We’ve definately got some work to do. As for Daryl…I got to see her on one of the late night talk shows. How very refreshing – positive and upbeat and unstopable. That’s how it gets done. (You go girl).

  11. hi, Daryl if you read this, i hear your interconectivity
    we are doing a ‘thing’ to get people CF lighting, and LED lights
    the really latest stuff that is ultra bright 4-5 watts replacing 60 watt edison’s.. and cheap as anything, down do the street level,
    4-7 bulbs to houses apartments anyone that wants them. with the facts on how much it will save, it is a beautiful thing,. practical stuff
    but it works, and still the new houses like mine use over 2000 WATTs!
    in just the BULBS!
    ugh.. anyways keep up

  12. This is what he should be building right now. In my opinion Ford and GM will go bankrupt before they even begin to catch on.

    For about the past year I have offered anyone who would listen the following info: None of the American automobile companies have even responded. I have had some positive response from several educational institutions but – as far as I know – none have done any experimental work to verify my claims.

    Here is what I have been proposing:

    Fuel cells or Hydrogen will never become a significant power source for automotive power. Anyone who has taken a careful look at it knows this.

    If we could find someone in our auto industry with just a tiny bit of imagination, who knows what we could do? In one scale or another everyone of these systems have been proven.

    Like to produce a vehicle that can burn rubber on takeoff on all four wheels and get 90+ mpg?

    What I would like to see the automakers working on would have:

    A turbocharged, two cylinder opposed, 2-cycle, air-cooled diesel directly
    driving a generator. (It would not be running most of the time.) A 111 volt Lithium-Ion Polymer battery pack. Nothing but wires going from the
    controller to every wheel, except for the necessary additional friction
    brakes (of course). An added advantage of this would be the ability to recharge from the electrical grid while at home, saving even more on fuel.

    Each wheel, depending on the feedback to the controller from wheel speed sensors would drive with just the right power depending on the accelerator position. You would get recharging from deceleration just as you do in today’s hybrids. You would also use this feedback to stop the wheel from skidding.

    Each wheel would have a stationary stator and a series of fixed magnets
    closely adjacent all around the inside of the wheel. In a sense it would
    operate each wheel in a very similar fashion that the mag-lev trains use,
    except the motion would be circular, of course. Something very different
    about this type of motor is that the stators are fixed to the axles and the
    magnets are driven around them. This gives a significant increase in
    mechanical advantage. That’s like turning an ordinary electric motor inside out.

    There would be no need for ordinary electric motor brushes. In fact, many electric motors operating today are brushless.

    Such motors already exist in the model airplane field and their efficiently
    is amazing – approaching 90%. I’ve got a couple and doubt that I would ever buy any other type.

    It’s possible to hang the model on the prop right out in front of you and
    accelerate straight up, like a rocket, with this type motor

    In the vehicle the motor/generator would not turn on to recharge the
    batteries until they needed it. There are already experimental Lithium-Ion
    driven cars that can get in excess of 200 miles before they have to be
    recharged by plugging them in. You would top off you batteries overnight by plugging them in. Some cutting edge research by Toshiba – employing nano-technology – indicates that recharging can be done so fast that you could top off while eating lunch.

    Lithium -Ion battery technology is so new that I doubt that very many
    automotive engineers have even heard of them, much less thought to use them in this manner. Their energy density exceeds that of any other form of rechargeable energy storage.

    The Lithium Ion battery is the most efficient battery available right now. So is the outer rotor electric motor the most efficient motor.

    Build an Automobile right and it will weight less and have simpler, easier to repair/replace modules.

    Lets see what we can eliminate while improving performance and efficiency.

    Transmission – None

    Ignition system – None

    Liquid cooling – None

    Valves and valve train – None

    Use bio-oil/fuels for both fuel and lubrication.

    Feel free to pass this along to anyone you know in the Transportation business. I suffer from no delusion that any of them have the imagination to be able to see how something like this could jump them ahead of the competition.

    I bought a Honda Civic Hybrid last summer. I enjoy it more than any vehicle I’ve ever owned. I will Never buy another vehicle that isn’t a Hybrid and doesn’t get at least 50 mpg.

    As far as I can tell, Detroit isn’t even thinking the same way I and the vast majority of it’s potential customers are.

    William Lucas Jones
    490 Mauldin Rd.
    Sautee, GA 30571-3159

    (706) 219-3333

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