For over a year I had the privilege of working with the David Suzuki Foundation staff on the Blue Dot Tour, a 21 city coast-to-coast logistical adventure. Such tours typically take a lot of heat for their massive carbon footprint, but the plan for this trek was focused around utilizing the electric vehicle charging infrastructure already in place along the Trans-Canada Highway, electric vehicles from EV owner volunteers and a novel ridesharing format.
Part of my Sun Country Highway responsibilities for the Blue Dot Tour meant I got to select myself to spend several hours over a number of days with David Suzuki and shuttling him around. In Toronto traffic, I learned that the 78 year-old geneticist also owns a Toyota Prius Plug-in. It was good to learn he had an appreciation for EV technology but like many, he longs for greater battery range. After many trips in my Sun Country Highway Chevy Volt with the Nature of Things host, driving him to and from media appearances in the GTHA, I really came to understand one of our nation's greatest citizens on a very personal level.
I found David, as he prefers to be called, is wonderfully outspoken, candid and often times a comical activist who is relentless in his efforts to inspire future environmental leaders. His vision is nothing less than getting the right to a clean and healthy environment enshrined in our Charter of Rights.
One of the best tour stories involved working with Tour Coordinator, Monica Davis. We came up with a plan to bring together a network of EV owners across the country in a rideshare program. As the President and Founder of the Golden Horseshoe Electric Vehicle Association (GHEVA), I was able to leverage a network of EV owner volunteers and friends to help get the tour's talent, crew and David to hotels and other venues in EVs. For a charitable group low cost is best, of course, and this turned out to be a big EcoFiscal success. We shared a Google Docs spreadsheet with EV clubs from across the country. All that was required of volunteers was to enter their name and contact information into a time slot and then wait for a call.
Many of the EV club members in each province I talked to after the dust settled told me they had a wonderful experience when they got to meet David and the celebrity talent such as Blue Rodeo. It was really a great opportunity to also get high profile 'butts in seats' from an EV advocacy perspective. Getting key influencers to talk about how they got from A to B in a Tesla, Volt or Leaf that generated zero emissions is what the game plan was from the beginning.
Having the chance to exchange heady thoughts with David on the merits of electrification and on where future transportation technology like SkySMART by Shweeb can take us was a thrill of a lifetime.
Video © 2014 and approved by David Suzuki and the David Suzuki Foundation