Climate Conscious Transportation


“Like many people, I was pretty oblivious to climate change until a few years ago. My ‘awakening’ came at a Wings Over the Rockies event, where Robert Sandford [Chair in Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health] spoke about the need to protect, restore and rehabilitate natural systems in the wake of British Columbia’s new and more turbulent climate regime.”

It was a moment of profound revelation for Tracy Flynn, a resident of the Columbia Valley, and she says “It was then and there that I resolved to do my part.” One step she knew she could take right away was to reduce the amount of driving she did – and make whatever driving was necessary, emissions-free.

“We Canadians are in love with our trucks, and we often drive long distances. It’s no wonder that transportation is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. We can change our driving habits, though,” she counters. “I don’t think we’re far off from the time when those of us who live in cities will no longer need private vehicles, a time when it will be easier – and cheaper – to dial-up an automated electric vehicle ride-share. But, for those of us who live in rural areas, switching to an EV is a great option.”

For her part, Tracy and her husband chose a Tesla – “it was a sleek, sporty-looking car with nifty features and gadgets. So, I got the guilt-free driving and my husband got a car he loves to drive!” she laughs.

Any buyer remorse? None. “Buy one! They’re amazing. Just do your homework to ensure you are getting one that suits your driving habits and has the necessary range.” The purchase has been even more satisfying as time has gone on, Tracy says, because “Our EV is constantly improving. Regular online updates that download while it charges steadily improve the driving experience.”

Perhaps even more important, however, is that owning an electric vehicle has forced Tracy to think about whether a trip is necessary, or if errands could be combined, before even setting out. And, she admits, it does require trip-planning. “The lack of fast-charging infrastructure can be frustrating. We charge our car with solar panels at home; but longer trips, especially into Alberta, can be tricky. This is where government investment and incentives need to step in.”

That said, she loves the Tesla for short trips in the Valley and there are still advantages to long-distance trips, too. “Taking a trip to Vancouver, for instance, is a lot less stressful with the hands-free driving feature, the ultra-comfortable seats, the music system, and the ‘excuse’ to stop every 3 hours for charging.”

“There’s a lot of beautiful country to see, and the view is better from an EV.”