Woody Harrelson, star of the television show Cheers and movies including Natural Born Killers, stopped in Brookings Wednesday as part of an environmental bike tour.
Harrelson was in town with the Simple Organic Living bike tour that began April 12 at the University of Washington in Seattle. The group camped overnight at Harris Beach State Park.
The purpose of the trip is to educate people about having a light footprint on the earth and what can be done individually. Being conscious of individual actions having a ripple effect, Harrelson said.
The tour is stopping at colleges to talk and meet people randomly, Harrelson said.
In addition to Harrelson, the tour includes David Frankel and Joe Hickey.
Frankel is an attorney who works with Harrelson on environmental projects including industrial hemp, sustainable development and global warming issues.
He said Harrelson inspired him to learn about being a vegetarian, raw food and yoga.
Frankel was a corporate lawyer before he started 4th Wave Law in 1998.
I realized I could use my skills to help people versus helping large entities win a few points, he said.
Frankel began reading about banning hemp, which led him to meet Harrelson through two other friends involved with the issue.
Things have not been the same since, he said. Woody showed me I could practice and live certain ideals.
Hickey is involved with the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association.
The association promotes industrial hemp products and allowing farmers to grow and process those products, he said.
Why is the United States the only industrialized country that doesnt allow farmers to do the same thing that is legal in other countries? Hickey said.
According to the associations Web site, it views industrial hemp as an agricultural crop with the potential of revitalizing our rural communities and unequivocally do not support, promote or favor the legalization of marijuana, period.
Harrelsons interest and support of the cooperative's efforts led Hickey to meet him and work with him in forming the company, Tierra Madre or "Mother Earth."
The companys purpose is to develop products that create sustainability, Hickey said.
The Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association states that industrial hemp is not marijuana....Most experts recognized industrial hemp as those varieties containing less than one percent THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana), and that those varieties have no drug value.
We just want people to think. In order to change the world, you have to change yourself, Hickey said.
The bike tour is being followed by the Mothership, a bus that Harrelson designed to be environmentally friendly. The bus was parked at Harris Beach Wednesday.
Harrelson said the bus is fueled by hemp oil. Solar panels provide electricity, the roof is covered with hemp fabric and the flooring and underlay are made from cork, he said.
The next scheduled stop for the tour is today (April 28) in Arcata, Calif., at Humboldt State Universitys Renewable Energy Fair beginning at 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The tour ends May 14 in San Louis Obispo, Calif.
Information about the tour and organic living can be found on Harrelsons Web site at http://www.voiceyourself.com