Dave Cornelius was at the charging station in Rossland last week after arriving back in town from an extended road trip. The Rossland man drove across the United States and back to the Golden City in his fully electric Tesla Model S that features onboard information on energy usage. That means no gas or emissions

Locals take extra steps to reduce carbon footprint

Province gears up for tighter climate change guidelines, asks for public input

Driving electric cars, using heat from the earth, rays from the sun or living off grid entirely – there’s no question many locals are consciously lessening their carbon footprint on the planet.

Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore and her family made a decision to reduce their carbon footprint a number of years ago. First, they had geothermal energy installed in their home even though it had a long pay back period, she explained. Changes to the billing plan discourages use of the system today, but she and husband Dave Cornelius remain eco-driven with their choice of vehicle.

Cornelius is passionate about driving green in his grey sedan. He arrived back in town last week after a three-month road trip across the States in his Tesla Model S.

The unit is called an 85D, he explained. “(The) 85 stands for the capacity of the battery in kilowatt hours and “D” stands for dual motor for all wheel drive.”

The car goes about 400 kilometres on a full charge, Cornelius noted, giving the example of a common Kootenay to Okanagan trip.

“We have driven to Kelowna where we charged it up and then drove back to Rossland,” he said, mentioning road trip planning for an electric car requires more forethought than gas-driven vehicles.

Everyday in small and big ways, these actions acknowledge climate change, also known as global warming, by showing commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

Now the province wants to hear from the Lower Columbia and people across B.C. about what should top the to-do list in its renewed Climate Leadership Plan.

A public consultation period began last week with the release of an online discussion paper and survey at engage.gov.bc.ca/climateleadership.

Respondents are questioned about options of reducing GHG and priorities that influence everyday life, such as changes to public transportation and the way goods and services are transported, or tightening “green” regulations at home and work.

The survey is open until Aug. 17, and according to Mary Polak, Minister of Environment, the plan will influence work, travel and life for decades to come, so it’s important for as many people as possible to take part.

“The climate challenges that lie ahead are significant,” said Polak in a July 24 news release. “But so are the rewards if we act on them now. Together we can do this – we can fight climate change, protect the planet and improve our quality of life.

From car to home, there’s one couple living near Salmo that for 12 years, has taken living green a step further than most.

Shelly Grice Gold and her partner built a simple home that is heated by wood in winter. That’s it – no electricity or running water, by choice.

“I don’t think about it too much because it’s just something we do,” she explained. “I don’t feel I am missing out. It didn’t make sense to me to have bills for my home first of all, and I don’t agree with the big hydro dams they are building,” she added. “I thought I would speak with my money and my actions because I am only responsible for myself, and I didn’t want electricity in my home.”

For a decade, the pair gathered water from a stream running through their land and wheelbarrowed it back home. Now, they fill up in the village because creek levels have been too low. But showers are still heated by solar as are Grice Gold’s meals in the summer months, when her solar oven heats up to 350 degrees in 10 or so minutes on a sunny day.

“I don’t feel like I am missing out,” she said. “People always go camping to get away from it all, so I get away from it all everyday.”

On Tuesday, the ministry extended the window for written submissions to Sept. 14 after several groups requested more time to prepare extensive submissions.

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