This Guest Blog is about the brand new 100% electric Nissan Leaf. Lynette Evans is a Program Officer at the U.S. Department of State. She has worked on the Global Conversations: Climate social media properties – which include a Facebook page, Twitter feed and this blog – for the last two years. She hopes that her work will encourage and inspire others to incorporate green practices into their daily life and become stewards for the environment.
In December 2011, my fiancé and I joined 10,000 other eager Americans across the country to be the first to own the Nissan Leaf, a no gas, 100% electric car. According to the World Resource Institute, “Worldwide, motor vehicles currently emit well over 900 million metric tons of [carbon emissions] each year. These emissions account for more than 15 percent of global fossil fuel release[d] into the atmosphere.” With this in mind, my fiancé and I decided it was time to turn over a new leaf – a phrase that means to begin to act in a better way – by getting rid of our gas guzzling car and trading it in for a zero emission vehicle.
Working on the climate change portfolio at work for the last two years has made me more conscious of how my actions impact the environment. So when the opportunity presented it, my fiancé and I decided to make this small change to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, but more importantly to be a part of the growing movement to create a greener vehicle culture in the United States. In order for car companies to produce more electric vehicles there needs to be a demand for it. In order for more infrastructure to be built to support these vehicles, more of them need to be on the road. So with this simple act, we are serving as advocates for the changes we’d like to see in our community, in the country and around the world.
Education is important to understanding, mitigating and adapting to climate change. Driving the Nissan Leaf has become an important tool to create awareness about climate change and the importance of energy efficiency, energy conservation and savings. People are genuinely interested in learning more about this technology and what these vehicles can do. I’ve had so many interesting conversations in the oddest places about the car: from people walking up to me in the parking lot at the grocery store as I put my bags in the car to ask me questions about it , to people frantically gesturing at me to roll down my window at stoplights to make a quick inquiry. My favorite part of each conversation is watching people’s skepticism about the vehicle melt away as I dispel myths about electric cars, educate them about the financial and environmental benefits and share my joy of driving the vehicle.
So every time I get into my light blue Nissan Leaf, hit the on button and back out of my driveway to zip around town I wear a smile on my face. I don’t hear the purr of the engine nor do I see a puff of smoke escape from my exhaust pipe. I am off on another exciting journey to educate others about the merits of zero emission vehicles and doing my part to save the environment.