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Daryl Hannah


“I just don’t want to be part of the polluting, fossil fuel economy”, says Daryl Hannah, the actress, and she has certainly been trying to kick the hydrocarbon habit for longer than most. for the last twenty years she has lived off the grid — and she is given to gulping down a glass of the sustainable biofuel on which she runs her classic chevrolet El camino coupe utility to emphasise that its toxicity is “somewhere between table salt and maple syrup”. She was talking to Our planet at a ‘Slow life’ environmental symposium, organised by the luxury resort company Six Senses at Soneva fushi in the Maldives. getting there naturally involved burning jet fuel, so as she freely admits, she has only partially succeeded. “I’m obviously not completely out of it because of travel and other things”, she says. “But I do try to keep it to specifi c areas, and being off grid means that I am opting out to a certain extent.” She buys carbon offsets for her travel and — since Sir Richard Branson outlined his plans to develop a clean aviation fuel at the same Symposium — she can perhaps look forward to the day when she may eventually be able to tick off that area too.

The Splash and Kill Bill star grew up on the 47th fl oor of a skyscraper in downtown chicago which, she has said, made her so “disassociated and alien to the world” that she had “issues at school”. Her parents responded by sending her to summer camp in the colorado Rockies for two months every year between the ages of 7 and 17 and there, in the wilderness, as she puts it, “found my centre”.

And it was to the Rockies that she returned to “overhaul” her lifestyle back in 1991, when— long before it became fashionable — she created a zero-carbon home. She restored an old stage coach station, berming

it into the landscape to provide added insulation; using non-toxic and recycled, and reclaimed materials; maximising passive solar energy: and installing solar photovoltaic panels which supply almost all of its power (a generator running on sustainable biodiesel provides back-up).

water comes from a spring and wastewater is recycled to the organic garden where — as a vegetarian since the age of 11 — she grows a wide variety of produce, from potatoes to persimmons, pomegranates and passion fruit. She has a compost lavatory, but no television and the fi nishing touch is supplied by a stone, covered in (periodically watered) moss from the original site which is used indoors as a couch.

Even outside the home, she is determined to live sustainably. Her biodiesel for both house and car comes from the waste oil of local restaurants. “I know who makes my biofuel, how it’s made and how it’s processed “ she says adding that she can’t remember when she last visited a petrol station “except to use the restroom”. Her other car — her ‘Kill Bill Trans-Am’ — has been converted to run on alcohol.