Meet the Flipsters

Conversations on the Bridge

A Conversation with Daryl Hannah
(The complete Flip interview, with only minor edits, not found in the book)

Daryl Hannah ( is an accomplished actress, with films such as Splash, Blade Runner, Steel Magnolias, and Kill Bill to her credit. More important to Ms. Hannah is her commitment to the environment. She is a strong advocate for biodiesel, a clean, renewable fuel alternative for cars and other vehicles. In addition to supporting environmental causes and projects, Daryl is a person who has already made the flip, so we asked her how she puts her principles into action. “I have always been fascinated by, and felt a kinship to, people who live in harmony with nature. But it wasn’t until I reached my thirties that I finally realized I had all of the tools to change my own life. It’s embarrassing how we tend to buy what we’re sold, rather than thinking for ourselves. Big corporations seldom have the best – let alone long-term – interests of the planet and humanity in mind. Yet if we use common sense, nature has provided everything that we need, and all we have to do is live gracefully within it.

“I have two homes. When I’m in the Rockies I’m not even connected to the power grid. I’m completely self-sufficient. In California, I contribute to the grid. Instead of bills, I receive checks from General Electric – only a couple of dollars sometimes – but I quite often produce more electricity than I need. And I was able to get into a ‘neighbors program’ when one of my solar systems was installed, so the company also installed a free unit for a low-income family. That was great!

“No one wants to be a slave to big corporations and their power crises. The power went down in LA the other day, and I didn’t even know it. I couldn’t understand why people weren’t returning my calls and such. I just figured everybody was having a lazy day. I had no clue!

“I drive a 1983 El Camino Diesel, using 100 percent biodiesel. It can run on straight vegetable oil with a small inexpensive modification and it can run on bio-diesel, which is thinned with ethanol to be the same viscosity as diesel so that it can run through the engine. My car has what is called a closed-carbon loop. The same amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted from the tail pipe of the engine is consumed by the plants when they’re growing, essentially causing no new greenhouse gases. It’s basically lower in every other particulate toxin except for one. It’s the cleanest fuel that’s available today.”

We wouldn’t expect a movie star to hold such strong convictions, so naturally we asked what “drove” her to use such an alternative fuel choice. Daryl was direct. “Obviously, we have limited fossil fuel supplies. That’s not even negotiable. Why rely on fossil fuels when we have sustainable energy technology and bio-fuels? Plus, bio-fuels are made from oil seed crops like soy, canola, rapeseed, and mustard, so using biodiesel is a way to support American farmers who grow these crops – and support our economy. American farmers have been suffering for a long time, this is a way for them to earn a decent income and help the planet.

“The fact is that we’ve had the technology and the ability to be able to produce cleaner burning fuel for over 105 years. Yet our kids are still riding on school buses that are completely poisonous. After Rudolph Diesel’s mysterious death [he went missing on a business trip to England and was found floating in the English Channel] the diesel engine was converted to run on petroleum-based products rather than vegetable oil. So the car industry went in another direction than the inventor of the diesel engine intended.
Rudolph Diesel really didn’t have any part in developing the fuel that’s named after him – just the engine.

“The diesel engine can and still does run just fine on vegetable oil. You have to start it from a small add-on tank of bio- or petroleum diesel, because straight vegetable oil (SVO) is too thick to run through a cold engine. But once it’s hot, the engine switches over to the main tank and runs off the SVO.

“Now that biodiesel is less expensive than gas, interest is growing rapidly. People can make it, but I don’t advise them to because of the chemicals involved. It’s easy to go online and get a map of where these alternative fuels are sold. They’re becoming more readily available. We just opened the first B100 (100% biodiesel) truck stop in Texas. Everyone is going to be carrying at least a blend of something soon.”

Since Daryl is so passionate about the environment, we asked her what she was doing to champion the cause. “It’s ridiculous that we haven’t been more educated about our options in this country. People don’t realize how available the alternatives are and how well they work. We don’t have to give up the modern conveniences to be able to live in harmony with nature anymore. We have all the tools at our disposal to live however we choose. We can paint our walls with non-toxic paints. We can have huge refrigerators and use less energy.

“I’m doing everything I can to get information out there. I’ve been doing some green corresponding for Good Morning America about different issues like the importance of shopping at local farmer’s markets, organics, and the difference between genetically modified foods and conventional and organic products. Information is the key. Once people have the information, it empowers them. I think people are hungry for it and people are open to it more than ever before. It’s not so much the ‘crunchy granola hippy thing’ associated with self-sufficiency anymore. It boils down to common sense and independence and self-determination.”

We noticed that Daryl didn’t mention protest marches. “Angry protests are understandable, and they have their place and time,” said Daryl. “There’s a lot we might wish we had done differently. There are always others we could point at and blame. But it’s ultimately demoralizing to one’s spirit. That’s another reason I made the changes in my own life; I just got so frustrated and despondent looking at the big picture that I decided to take matters into by own hands. I believe the best way to affect change is to show what can be done. We’re not helpless, and individual actions can make a difference.

“More and more people are realizing these things. I was just in the grocery store yesterday and a woman had seen one of the segments that I did on Good Morning America. She was taking notes and asking me all sorts of questions because she’s going to change her house to solar power. She was asking me what kind of car she should buy and stuff like that. It’s an example that people are now realizing, ‘Oh my god, I have real options.’”

We asked Daryl if the younger generation was open to being socially responsible? “That’s something I’m optimistic about. I read some articles that say the youth of today are apathetic, and I beg to differ. The kids that I come across don’t even question those kinds of choices, they just make them, because to them it’s, ‘Why would I do something else? Why wouldn’t I try to eat healthy food or drive a fuel-efficient car so I don’t get gouged at the fuel pump? Why would I poison the environment?’ They’re not even trying to be altruistic; to them it’s just straightforward common sense.”

Indeed it is.


The Flip, by Jared Rosen and David Rippe, illuminates a clear path to a vibrant enlightened world where millions of people already live and thrive. It describes in vivid detail and real examples evidence of an upside down world in decay and a Right Side Up world of authentic beings bright with possibility.
The Flip is an owner’s manual for the twenty-first century full of insights, conversations with recognized experts, thought leaders, and visionaries, and actionable exercises and tips you can use to begin your own personal flip.

To read more about The Flip and additional interviews from other luminaries, experts and bestselling authors, please visit

The Flip is available at your local bookstore or online at, Barnes & Noble, Joseph-Beth, and Borders.


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