Green Living: Documentary Offers Energy Solutions

PHOTO With a in the Middle East and gas prices hitting alarming levels, alternative solutions to fossil fuels have become popular discussions of debate.
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With a crisis in the Middle East and gas prices hitting alarming levels, alternative solutions to fossil fuels have become popular discussions of debate. A recent documentary called "Carbon Nation" explores these solutions and focuses on a greener way of living -- and it's geared to audiences who believe in climate change, and those who don't.

"Carbon Nation," directed and filmed by Peter Byck, follows everyday Americans and their quests to live energy-efficient lives.

The film opens by presenting alternative energies and showing how the U.S. compares with the rest of the world. Not well. Byck then takes the audience through four different types of energy being used around the country -- wind, electricity, water and solar power. From a "Green Jobs Not Jails" initiative in Richmond, California, to water recycling in Alaska, "Carbon Nation" gives viewers an inside look into energy solutions and why they're so important.

"A lot of times films can be kind of preachy in this realm of environment. We just didn't want to be preachy, we didn't want to talk down to anybody," Byck told ABCNews, on a recent visit to Austin for the opening of his film. "There's a large group of folks in this country that don't want to be told they're doing something wrong, but they want to know about solutions."

Byck traveled the country in search of solutions. Performing 326 interviews along with 240 hours of footage, he talked to citizens, scientists, environmentalists, business owners and past government officials.

His overall goal: to start a conversation.

Avoiding Finger Pointing

"We want the hate and the anger and the pointing fingers, let's just put that away because it's really not based on anything factual," Byck said. "Let's just start from a place of 'Do you like clean air and do you like clean water?'"

The film features a wide range of characters who aren't the typical line-up for an environmental documentary. CEO of Duke Energy James Rogers, who as head of a major power company advocates saving energy rather than making energy; Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways; and former CIA director James Woolsey are just a few.

"You don't have to be concerned about climate change or terrorism or anything to want to drive at 10 percent of the cost of what you're driving at now," Woolsey says in the documentary.

And Dan Nolan, former Army Colonel and member of the Department of Defense, says the carbon footprint is more than just an environmental threat.

"Climate change is in fact a national security issues, we need to change the way we think about things," Nolan says. He appears in the film early on, speaking passionately, signaling to the audience that "Carbon Nation" will use a broad brush in presenting issues of the environment.

'Carbon Nation' Hits Home

In his interview with his ABC News, Byck said the main concept of the film "hit home" for him when he was filming in Alaska. While there, he met Berni Karl, an Alaskan pioneer who'd found a way to use 165 degree water to create geothermal power, which usually requires 250 to 400 degree water temperature. Since his discovery, Karl has now partnered with Goldman Sachs to sell units to oil companies across the country.

"Do I think man is causing global warming? No. But that doesn't make any difference. I want clean water, I want clean air and that's so simple-geothermal," Karl says in the film.

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