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The New Model T
13Mar
2011

Henry Ford revolutionized the automotive industry with his Model T back in 1908. He claimed the customer could have a car “any color that he wanted, so long as it was black”.

It was a car designed for the masses, from the well-heeled, affluent captains of industry to the lowly assembly-line workers.  Ford’s vehicles, though made with the highest quality materials, were extremely affordable.

We have journeyed over a century away from the launch of the Model T, and as Ian Clifford indicates, we might just be “on the verge of very, very significant change, very disruptive change, sort of at a scale that we haven’t seen for a very long time.”

Model T Ford Roadster

The thought of an electric car is a bit like the concept of 3D films; the idea is old, the concept has taken off a few times and failed, but we might just be getting closer to making it happen for good.

Hybrids have been on the market for a few years now, and several companies such as Dynasty Electric Cars, Miles Electric Vehicles, Global Electric Motorcars and Clifford’s ZENN Motor Company are pushing the boundaries of electric car technology.

The fact that these cars are still not easily accessible is due not only to their currently inflated prices, but also to the electrical power overload that this whole transition implies for our current electrical supply.

Tesla Roadster, all-electric sports car, charging

The future of electric vehicles still holds a lot of uncertainty. For example, where will we charge them? Replacing gas stations with battery charging stations is always a possibility. One idea floating around is that consumers should be able to buy multiple car batteries that can actually slide in and out of their cars.

This would allow us to have back ups for whenever we run out of juice. The only thing certain is that with the rising cost of oil and the climate changes we are facing, we are indeed at a moment of change, perhaps a change that will lead us to have ‘any color–so long as it’s electric.’

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters! Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

BY ELISA L. IANNACONE

It takes one particular person to walk the road less traveled before everyone else follows, and soon enough it becomes the one most traveled. Ansel Adams was a true pioneer in the field of photography, creating a ‘Zone System’ in order to control exposure within the image.

His photographs make full use of the film’s latitude, from true black to true white. It is that passion for innovation that later inspired Ian Clifford, after mentoring with Ansel Adams, to apply this innovative mentality to the rest of his life.

His electric car is revolutionizing the way we understand transportation today, and will, no doubt, continue to do so in the future. Take, for example, the recent hybrids rolling off the assembly lines of the major auto manufacturers.

The Tetons & The Snake River

Photo Credit : Ansel Adams

Adams used photography to convey the richness and beauty of the world’s environments and the need to preserve them. Clifford’s ZENN Motor Company is focused on the development of electric cars.

The whole principle of Zero Emission No Noise is to eliminate the waste products that are generated through internal combustion engines. This change, which is slowly gaining momentum, is imperative for the conservation of the planet.

Linked through the camera, each carving his own path, both Adams and Clifford have made significant contributions to the environment. While the former published works such as The John Muir Trail, which led to the creation of a National Park, the latter continues to develop a way to take cars to a more ecologically sound level.

Both men bring a strong sense of social responsibility and action into their work. Hence, it is their kind of mentality and energy that is needed in order to generate a change that begins at the road less traveled.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters!
Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

20 YOUNG MEN & WOMEN WHO ARE SAVING THE PLANET

Ed. Emily Hunter. San Francisco: Conari Press. 2011.

REVIEWED BY: ALICE VAN WART

If we need proof that young people are neither apathetic nor in what is going on around the world, here we have it.

If anything, judging from the voices in this collection, young people around the world are passionately committed to counteracting the problems created by the powerful few who have squandered and destroyed much of the earth’s bounty.

Their voices need to be heard since their very commitment might just save the planet.

In The Next Eco-Warriors, Emily Hunter, daughter of Greenpeace founder Robert Hunter, has collected the stories of twenty-two people that redefine the meaning of activism.

Hunter’s purpose is a plea for a global movement that puts the value of the planet before the value of profit and progress.

Ranging in age from their early twenties to their thirties and geographically spanning the globe from North America to China, their stories are as diverse as their characters.

Hunter calls them the new global ‘Eco-warriors’, a term coined by her father.

The stories of these Eco-warriors prove beyond doubt that it is not just those with power who can effect change. As their stories show anyone who cares can be an Eco-warrior; it is a matter of passion and commitment.

To help make the world a better place to live, they tackle problems of climate change, energy use, overfishing, the disappearance of indigenous cultures, animal species, and various ecosystems.

Enei Begaye, a Dine activist uses protest to stop the coal mining that is destroying the land and culture of her her people in the south western United States.

Kevin Ochien, a young Kenyan, leads a peaceful climate movement not just in Kenya but across Africa. Win

Bo, a Chinese activist, started the first Greenpeace in mainland China, while African American Tanya Fields uses urban farming as a way of fighting poverty in her community of the Bronx in New York City.

Their tactics are as different as their goals; ranging from individual protest and group demonstration, to more radical actions of confrontation and subterfuge, as well as artistic expression to draw attention to the problems they see.

Australian Andy Riley first conceives his idea of Earth Hour in Sydney. Now it takes place around the globe.

The American Jamie Henn founds the movement 350.org to help lower carbon emissions.

Rob Stewart makes a documentary to reveal the brutality behind the shark fishing that supplies fins for shark fin soup, while Jo-Anne McArthur uses photography to reveal the cruelty animals often suffer in the name of fashion, fad, and sport.

Each story in this collection offers another example of the various ways we can all help save the planet.

As Hunter says in her introduction, “the world of revolution is open to everyone who wants to make a substantial difference.” As a collection, this book offers hope and inspiration to us all.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters! Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

The Toronto Auto Show this past month saw the more traditional gas-guzzling machines we typically associate with car shows displayed alongside some of the world’s newest electric vehicles, showing consumers they really do have the option to go green when purchasing a new without having to sacrifice style and comfort.

From zippy two wheelers to more spacious mid-sized cars, the e-vehicle was out in full force this passed February.

Cars such as the new Fiat, the all-wheel-drive Mini and the new 100 % electric Smart showed off their sleek new looks. The Smart’s “ForTwo” has a fun interior with details such as a lime green speedometers and is totally silent when it drives.

From Ford comes “The Focus Electric” the first fuel-free rechargeable passenger car from Ford and the flagship of the company’s growing school of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. They are scheduled to arrive in North America and Europe by late 2013. This e-car boasts an advanced lithium-ion battery engineered by Ford with help from supplier LG Chem. It has the ability to charge completely in three to four hours using a 240-volt charge station.

Other models made use of electric power in conjunction with existing, traditional fuel technologies, such as the 2012 Infinity M Hybrid. This M35h benefits from Infiniti’s V6 engine paired with a 50 kW electric motor. It can drive on electric power alone at speeds up to 100 km/h and can travel on electric propulsion for almost 2 kilometres.

Whether it is speed, sleek design or just a green way to get around, the Toronto Auto Show showed us all the electric car is the way to go.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters! Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

There is a lot more support for electric cars than in back in 2007, and currently rebates are offered for plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (EV), as well as special carpool lanes for drivers of these vehicles.

Take a look at this article from the Toronto Sun published this past Thursday, March 3rd:

Ontario charges up support for electric cars

Rick Mercer interviewed Ian Clifford in 2007 and had some fun test driving the ZENN car:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ri2BG2qOvCg[/youtube]

Things have changed since then, and there is much more widespread acceptance and support for EV’s.

But driving an electric car doesn’t mean that your car is slower or less fun to drive than a gas or diesel powered car.

In the 2009 video below, John Wayland’s street legal EV, the White Zombie, sets drag racing world records running on lead-acid batteries:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=369h-SEBXd8[/youtube]

Running on lithium-ion batteries makes this car even faster! Below is Wayland & the White Zombie at the Portland International Auto Show:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2tUHK2sJ_4[/youtube]

Would you drive an electric car if the price point or rebate incentive was just right?

Tell us what your favourite EV or PHEV is and why in the comments below.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters!
Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Since early January of this year articles and blogs have been telling us 2011 is going to be “The Year of the Electric Car”. This mighty title was taken from an early January Globe and Mail article of the same name and has re-opened talk around Ontario’s sometimes unclear stance on electric cars on our roads.

Electric car use is presently at provincial-level jurisdiction, but that wasn’t always the case. Transport Canada originally approved electric cars for sale and use, but left the finer details to be worked out province by province.

The perception that Ontario didn’t allow electric cars is not correct, but it does speak of the quandary of legislation it passed which rendered these e-vehicles of very little use to everyday drivers. The stringent safety standards set out by the province meant the low-speed e-vehicles in existence could not be driven on most Ontario roads.

This left e-cars like the Zenn in a position to operate only in closed, private spaces – hardly practical. It also forced the Canadian manufacturer Zenn, to sell its product in the United States and other countries with more reasonable safety standards.

However, 2010 saw the provincial government express more interest in the possibilities e-vehicles present. Safety standards have stayed consistent which allowed car-makers to catch up. Cash rebates are also offered to those purchasing electric cars as of July 1st 2010.

This incentive deal is coupled with the vast array of choices consumers now have when sourcing an e-car, in 2011 models from such manufacturers as Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and even the sexy Porsche and Tesla companies are being rolled out to compete in this new corner of the market.

The Ontario government has more recently taken further steps to promote use of e-cars, announcing it wants to see 5% of all vehicles on Ontario roads are electric by the year 2020. Ontario energy companies are busy preparing for the upcoming demand this will place on the grid by investing $7 million into Ryerson University’s new Centre for Urban Energy over the next 5 years.

This cash infusion will allow Ryerson University to tackle such tough energy supply issues as ways that cities can produce more energy, how to distribute it cleanly, and improving energy storage techniques.

It took a while, but Ontario is bringing the electric car back to life.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters!
Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Carbon emissions are a huge contributor to our rapid declining in air quality. Pollution and smog affect our health, our environment and our quality of life. Vehicles of all kinds play a serious part in creating this problem, but we all need transportation. That’s why Toronto based Ian Clifford took action and co-created the Zenn car in 2006. Zenn stands for Zero Emission, No Noise and is a totally electric vehicle.

Ian Clifford’s journey to GreenHerodom started later in life. His career saw him begin as a professionally trained photographer under the mentorship of Ansel Adams. He soon became a leading corporate photographer before co-founding digIT Interactive, a marketing company in 1995. After selling digIT Interactive in 2000, Ian was looking for a more meaningful project and began to think of ways he could make a positive contribution to human impact upon the earth.

In 2001 he co- founded Feel Good Cars (now ZENN Motor Company) and began producing vehicles that allow for zero-emission transport. These cars, like the CityZenn take less than 8 minutes to fully charge and can reach top speeds of 125 km/hour! A great replacement for gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks.

Zenn now owns 10.7 percent of Texas-based EEStor, a company that develops technology used to store electric energy. They provide the batteries for the Zenn vehicles and this collaboration allows Zenn to continue to stay on the cutting edge of electric storage breakthroughs.

Since February 2011, Ian has been Vice Chairman of ZENN Motor Company and continues to be involved with the production of these green machines.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters! Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Photo credit: Shetu Modi

Corder became vegan when he realized how unethically animals were treated in much of agriculture. He credits his dietary change for paving the way to his current career, explaining that as an omnivore, he didn’t cook much.

“It’s how I found out what I’m passionate about,” he says.

While Corder didn’t initially consider the positive effects his new diet would have on the environment, he says it’s factored into his decision to stay a vegan.

“The Western diet is so meat-centric,” he says, adding that feeding the world on a similar diet wouldn’t be sustainable—given how livestock agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, and also consumes a large amount of the world’s freshwater.

Corder became vegan when he realized how unethically animals were treated in much of agriculture. He credits his dietary change for paving the way to his current career, explaining that as an omnivore, he didn’t cook much.

“It’s how I found out what I’m passionate about,” he says.

While Corder didn’t initially consider the positive effects his new diet would have on the environment, he says it’s factored into his decision to stay a vegan.

“The Western diet is so meat-centric,” he says, adding that feeding the world on a similar diet wouldn’t be sustainable—given how livestock agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, and also consumes a large amount of the world’s freshwater.

Photo credit: Shetu Modi

Even for those who aren’t looking to cut meat, dairy and eggs out of their diets, Corder has advice on eating sustainably.

“Learn where your food comes from,” he says. He recommends the documentary Food Inc., which he says doesn’t have a vegan slant but still details the industrialization of food and how destructive it is for the environment.

For those who do want to become vegan, Corder says it’s not that difficult.

“It’s not as hard as people tell you it is,” he says. He realizes that the most accessible food isn’t vegan, but adds that because of the growing prominence of the environmental movement, it’s now fairly easy to find vegan-related resources.

While avoiding animal products can significantly offset one’s carbon footprint, Corder acknowledges that it’s not the only way. And his advice for anyone looking to go green is pretty simple.

“Be mindful of your impact,” he says.

– Shetu Modi, Journalist

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, consumption and everyday actions have consequences. Share your story of making the eco-conscious switch in your choices by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Credit : Justine Warrington

By John Bessai

Sometimes you remember details about an experience long afterwards once something jars your memory.

I met Emily Hunter I thought for the first time when she gave a speech to some high school students in September 2010. Below is a video of the event:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpWFCjQlPE[/youtube]

But after she gave her speech that day I realized that I had actually met Emily over 15 years ago one sunny afternoon in the suburbs of Toronto.

I was working on a video acknowledging the 25th anniversary of GreenPeace and was over at her Father’s house with a camera crew.

I had just read Robert Hunter’s Warriors of the Rainbow which had completely inspired me.  This book told the incredible story of the founding of GreenPeace in the 1970’s.  And, in stunning fashion how a bunch of 20 something adventurers (like Emily today) had confronted a Soviet whaling fleet on the Pacific high seas and brought world wide attention the senseless slaughter of these super intelligent mammals who were by then endangered.

This actually led to an international moratorium which largely ended the hunt.

The interview with Robert 20 years later remains one of my most treasured memories, but also to my amazement that day I met another mammal, the Hunter family turtle who was the size of a large beaver and who wad swimming in the back yard pool! Emily rushed in just home from school to ask her Dad if she could go swimming too.

Lucky for her, I thought.  Such a cool dad and even a  cool turtle to swim with!  I am glad Emily has continued on with the work of her parents, keeping us inspired to stay conscious about ecological imperatives.  Her call to action makes me think there is hope that in future millions more turtles will be still swimming!

– John Bessai, Creative Director & Executive Producer, GreenHeroes Campaign

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, consumption and everyday actions have consequences. Share your story of making the eco-conscious switch in your choices by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

By Emily Hunter

People tell me the “green fad” is dead. It’s no longer the hot news story in the media, after the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. For some, it might seem that our revolution was short lived.

My generation’s eco-battle began with Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth that awakened us all to our own self-made thermageddon and ended at the UN summit that sealed a suicidal century with politicizing the climate.

Well, they’re wrong. The movement may be struggling to get airtime, but it’s not dead. Every day I hear of stories of heroism, victories and the continued struggles of individuals around the world who are sparking meaningful change for this planet, its inhabitants and us.

Just last week, Sea Shepherd, an organization I fought on the frontlines with to help save whales in the Antarctic ocean realized its decade-old dream – they shut down Japan’s whaling fleet.

After years of battle, what has been dubbed the “Whale War,” the Japanese whaling fleet ending their whaling season early after clashes with the Sea Shepherd activists. They may have killed an estimated 80 -100 whales this season, but the whalers were far from their goal of a thousand that usually include endangered species.

Nearly a year after the Copenhagen debacle, 350.org organized the most widespread day of action across the globe. As world leaders fell asleep at the helm, more than 7,000 rallies were held in 188 countries on Oct. 10, 2010 (10/10/10).

People from all walks of life got to work on climate change by installing solar panels, weatherizing homes and planting trees. In Bangladesh, citizens demonstrated knee deep in the flood-waters that are affecting hundreds of thousands of people. In South Africa, a local business installed solar panels on the roof of an orphanage.

In the United States, there were over 2,000 rallies with events in all 50 states. As for Canada, there was an event in every province and territory, from the northern reaches of the Arctic to isolated islands.

If that’s not impressive enough for you, try this number on for size: 1.3 billion – that’s the number of people that participated in the last Earth Hour. Imagine: that’s over one-sixth the earth’s population that is a part of this movement.

This year’s Earth Hour is expected to have even more join in the revolution on March 26th.

So I will repeat again, the movement is not dead. We’re just getting started!

– Emily Hunter, Eco-Warrior


Join the Revolution: Emily’s new book “The Next Eco-Warriors,” tells these stories and more on today’s growing environmental movement.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, consumption and everyday actions have consequences. Share your story of making the eco-conscious switch in your choices by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!


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