I don’t consider myself a “tree hugger” in the classic sense, but I suppose I’m more of one than some other folks I know. I do care a lot about sustainability and how our community, country, and world need to respond to the growing threat posed by climate change. I can’t make much of an impact on national or global issues, but I can speak out on steps we as individuals can take in our local community.
My application to serve as an alternate on the city’s environmental committee was approved at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. I’d like to thank the mayor and council for allowing me to serve.
The environmental committee has a long record of encouraging local food production through community gardens, residential gardens, and the fruit peninsula on Main Street. I consider it a personal victory to have not killed the two loquat trees in my front yard.
The committee has weighed in on other issues in the past and I look forward to participating in these discussions and discussions about sustainable food production going forward. As an alternate member of the committee, I’ll once again have to be careful what I post, in order to remain in compliance with Florida’s public meeting laws.
While perhaps not a tree hugger, I’ve had quite a bit of exposure to environmental issues over the years. This included learning about “leave no trace” camping with the scouts and becoming very aware of how our actions effect our water supply during my time on the Tampa Bay Water board.
It may surprise some of you to learn that my embrace of the transition from gas to electric vehicles has been driven far more by economics, my passion for high tech, and my love of high performance cars than by any environmental concerns. I stumbled into driving a plug-in car more by happenstance than anything else. A quick recap:
At the beginning of 2016, my son moved from California to Japan for his next duty station and we found ourselves car-sitting his Plug-in Prius (PiP). A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle like the PiP is classified as a PHEV, and can be thought of as an “EV with training wheels”. It didn’t take long for me to realize how rarely the gasoline engine on the Prius actually turned on during the regular course of driving it. It became a bit of a game to see how often I could get 800+ miles on a tank of gas.
Just before my son came back stateside at the end of 2018, a friend mentioned that a dealer in St. Petersburg had a relatively low mileage Nissan Leaf for sale, so I went by to check it out and traded in my Chevy Silverado for the Leaf. The Leaf served me well and was a great little car for local use. Not quite three years ago, I decided to trade the Leaf in for a Tesla Model 3 that was better suited for the road trips.
Today, I understand that EVs offer more than just blistering acceleration and thousands of dollars in savings over the life of the car. That they are actually better for the environment is simply the icing on the top. I’ll bring my perspective as an EV owner to the Environmental Committee.
I’m looking forward on serving on the environmental committee and helping to identify ways that the city can continue to develop and improve in a responsible and sustainable fashion. If you’d like to get involved, the committee meets at 6pm on the first Thursday evening of the month in the New Port Richey Public Library. There are a number of other volunteer committees that you might be interested in participating in. Membership in most of the committees is limited to city residents. You can find more information on the city website.