The BioBus tour is stopping at high schools, universities and in communities across the U.S. in an effort to raise the awareness about climate change and sustainable energy solutions.
By Matthew Gordon
Like many people, Ethan Burke and Alan Palm found themselves dissatisfied with the state of our society and our environment but they did not know the best way to change things. They wanted a chance to experience the people, the land, and the culture of our country and they wanted a chance to get their views heard. In an inspired move early last year, they purchased a vegetable oil-powered school bus and decided to take a journey across the country. That first trip took them from Massachusetts to Nevada. Nights spent reading Kerouac and debating politics on the bus while exploring the heart
of our country have invigorated them to continue to ride the bus around the nation in an effort to raise awareness about climate change and sustainable energy solutions. They will be stopping at high schools, universities, and in communities across the entire continental United States to give presentations and to talk to people for at least the next two years.
The school bus they are riding has a six-cylinder diesel engine that has had slight modifications to the fuel system so that it can run on vegetable oil from farms and restaurants that use deep fryers. The exterior of the bus has been adorned with a few solar panels which provide electricity for lights, laptops, and other electrical devices on board the bus. The fuel costs and the environmental costs for running the bus are virtually non-existent compared to a traditional gas vehicle. Knowing that the technology is out there, it is really startling that more people have not switched over to similar setups. Surely it is only a matter of time until they do.
It really is a tremendous experience to watch how people flock to the bus when it comes down the street. People are immediately full of questions about the bus, the journey, and the future of energy in this country.
BioTour has a wonderful website and blog about their travels on http://www.biotour.org. I highly recommend logging on to learn more about their mission. If your schedule is open anytime soon, they accept applications to ride the bus on their website. I can certainly attest to the fact that riding on BioTour is an amazingly fun and grounding experience as I’ll be on the bus at the end of this summer!