Local targets global warming by example
In his Carhartt overalls and 1975 Mercedes, Park City snow groomer, John "Bish" Neuhauser may seem an unlikely candidate for the Sundance red carpet treatment, but he was perfectly cast as a working class hero in the documentary "Everything’s Cool."
Neuhauser’s informal audition took place three years ago at the wheel of a giant snowcat with two acclaimed documentary filmmakers along for the ride. Judith Helfand and Dan Gold were looking for stories about global warming that would spread the message in a way that regular people could understand, and Neuhauser fit the bill.
At the time, Neuhauser was already wondering whether his high school science teachers might have been right, after all, about global warming and he was on a mission to do something about it.
Having pushed snow around at Utah ski resorts for two decades, he was beginning to see some subtle and unsettling changes in the local climate and in response he was determined to make an alternative type of fuel for his car. In a funky old garage in Park City he and a few like-minded friends started brewing batches of biodiesel fuel using left over cooking oil from the No Name Saloon.
These days, of course, biodiesel is a buzzword and Neuhauser can just pull up to a pump in Salt Lake to fill his new/old Mercedes (he’s upgraded to a 1985). And he is no longer alone in demanding cleaner burning fuel. Nevertheless, the world needs more of his kind.
"Everything’s Cool" doesn’t say much that environmentally conscious Parkites haven’t already heard. But the film isn’t intended as a lecture it is meant to be a call to activism.
In that vein, on Monday, the filmmakers are staging a community event to mobilize a counterattack on the oil industry’s well-funded campaign to discredit climate scientists and confuse the public about the looming environmental crisis.
Local students are being invited to participate in sending a message to an Inuit village’s "Global Warning" shown in the film. They will be arranged outside in a way that will spell out a reply to the village that their warning has been heeded.
Parkites are already attempting to make environmental amends. They are recycling, conserving energy and counting carbon emissions. But there is much more to be done. Neuhauser and others have helped to blaze the trail and filmmakers like Helfand and Gold are lighting the way but more of us need to get involved.
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Skier, mountaineer, environmental activist and Park City resident Caroline Gleich writes that Andy Beerman’s commitment to the climate is vital to Park City’s future.