A year ago, I was making history by being the first person to drive across country (and back) in a truck that was fueled solely by cellulosic ethanol. C.E. is a clean, low-emission gasoline replacement that can be made from corn cobs, leaves and stalks, as well as from waste paper, lumber and plant matter. It does not compete with food supplies, because it can be made from inedible, discarded or otherwise unusable items.
The office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) asked if EcoTrek could help coordinate an educational outreach program to promote the Secretary of the Navy’s mandate to use more renewable fuels. I agreed and began planning “EcoTrek’s Protect and Preserve America Tour.”
Since then, while also researching the military’s development of renewable energy, I have spend much time on San Nicolas Island, which is owned by the U.S. Navy. Unregulated “archaeologist,” hunters, collectors and sheep farmers, as well as pollution, nearly destroyed the treasures of this island (and some battles continue today). Yet, the Navy has “protected and preserved” much of SNI’s natural and cultural treasures and maintains meaningful preservation programs there.
During the Protect and Preserve America Tour, we will visit similarly protected sites and encourage further preservation programs.
Almost immediately after I began discussions with the Navy, they notified me that they had no funding for this tour. (Why is it always up to the little guy with the big ideas to have to fund things?)
Discouraged, but not defeated, I began soliciting sponsorships.
One of my requirements for sponsors was to work with companies that are either in America, or in countries that are allies of America. To be frank, I’m tired of supporting the growth of countries that are either unfriendly or outright confrontational to us, or those that support our enemies. Sponsors also had to have an environmental policy or product in play.
Without hesitation, Kia Motors of America stepped up and I embraced their participation. Here are some of the reasons why…
- While the production of many “American” cars was being outsourced to other countries, Kia began building Optimas and Sorentos in West Point, Georgia. Between that facility and their offices in Irvine, California, they employ thousands of Americans.
- Kia’s plant in West Point is noted for setting a high environmental standard.
- South Korea is an immensely important ally to America and hosts a massive and very strategic American military base.
- Kia’s Optima Hybrid has one of the most efficient hybrid drive systems. This system is much smaller and lighter than those in other popular hybrid vehicles, which mean less waste at the end of its life-cycle. Also, it is comprised of multiple energy cells, any of which can be replaced individually if it fails, as opposed to having to replace the whole system.
- Kia’s new cars are amazing. We’re displaying a Sorento SX and Optima Hybrid during the Tour. Check these cars out and make up your own mind.
With the Navy and Kia on board, other sponsors began to trickle in. I’ll be writing about many of them later, but in the meantime, please check out their logos on our website/links at www.ecotrek.com. (They’ll be up soon.)
I would, however, like to mention one supporter in particular now. Drew Kilberg of Southern Air Systems (www.southernairsystems.com) heard about the EcoTrek Foundation from our Tour Director Rebekah Schecter. Drew shares our vision for renewable fuels and personally provided funding for our tour. Without him, the tour would not have started as successfully as it has. Hopefully, his generosity will be contagious and other individuals will follow Drew’s lead by supporting our vision for developing domestic renewable fuels to support our economy, the environment, national security and the lives of our troops.
The 2012 Protect and Preserve America Tour will set up displays at 19 Air Shows and Navy Week events with the Blue Angels flight team. We will also display at the 2012 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. I’m sure other events will be added, as well. Please follow us on twitter, Facebook and on our website, where you can see our tour schedule, etc.
Most importantly, please add your comments to our blogs. EcoTrek is not about forcing our opinions on anyone. We’re about passing on knowledge regarding the protection and preservation of cultural and natural resource, and promoting renewable energy. We greatly appreciate your help and input in getting that knowledge out to the public.
Tom Holm, Executive Director