MOTHER's Newsworthies: Jim Weaver, Amory and Hunter Lovins and Junior Johnson

Learn how Jim Weaver works to create jobs and reduce pollution, Amory and Hunter Lovins film a documentary concerning alternative energy resources and Junior Johnson builds a homestead retreat.

| May/June 1982

Movers and shakers are all around. Here are some celebrities doing right...

Congressman Jim Weaver Aims to Turn Waste Into Energy

Every spring and fall, smokestacks smear the blue skies over Oregon's forests with haze as thousands of tons of logging slash are burned to clear the ground for reforestation. The goal of Congressman Jim Weaver (D-Oregon) is to turn that waste into useful energy and — at the same time — to create jobs and reduce pollution.

Since much of the slash is produced on government-owned forest lands, Weaver decided that government agencies should take the initiative in reclaiming this resource. So, the legislator sponsored the Wood Waste Utilization Act (which is now law) to provide monetary incentives which will — it's hoped — prod such agencies as the Forest Service to sell their waste slash to small independent logging companies. The same agencies are now also responsible for helping to make the slash-recovery operations more profitable by researching new equipment and methods.

Once it's out of the forest, however, the slash still needs to be used wisely. To aid that effort, Weaver visited a privately owned wood-waste thermal plant in California that produces electricity for a mere 4¢ per kilowatt hour ... and also provides 500 jobs based on a Forest Service guarantee of a constant 30-year supply of wood-waste. Impressed by what he saw there, the Oregon lawmaker is now arranging funding for the establishment of similar plants in his state, and working out a slash-supply agreement with the Willamette National Forest. In recognition of his efforts, the Wood Energy Institute recently proclaimed Congressman Weaver the "Champion of the West."

Jim has made energy conservation a part of his day-to-day life, too. He's installed a solar water heater and had a solar greenhouse added to his well-insulated home, attached his stationary exercise bicycle to a battery storage system and plans to construct a wind generator. His ultimate goal is to have an energy-independent house in an energy-independent state.

Amory and Hunter Lovins Star in an Eco-Documentary

Amory and Hunter Lovins — the husband and wife team whose concept of the "soft path" to a renewable technology helped spark today's widespread interest in alternative sources of energy — are the stars of a recently released film called Lovins on the Soft Path (Bullfrog Films, 1982), a 36-minute documentary that attempts to present the basic principles that, if followed, could bring about an economically viable future. The film poses three critical questions: How much energy do we need? What kinds of energy? Where can we get it?

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