Monday, July 13, 2015

Sierra Club Shows its Pride and Patriotism with EV’s

Electric Cars and Solar Powered Electric Boat Featured in Parades


While many Americans took vacation or enjoyed the holiday, the past two weekends were a busy time for the volunteers of the Florida Healthy Air Campaign in Tampa Bay. We got out on the streets to show hundreds of thousands of our neighbors that electric cars, and even electric boats, are now available for sale as fun, safe and quiet alternatives to noisy, expensive cars and boats that pollute as you cruise.
St. Pete Pride is Florida’s largest Pride event, and we’re proud to be part of the business community that hosts it annually.  St. Pete’s 2015 PrideFest was the biggest yet, with ¼ million filling our state office’s home street, Central Avenue, for the annual Saturday night parade. After the Supreme Court decision the day before on marriage equality, our street was the happiest place on Earth.

For the 3rd consecutive year, after our move to the city’s 1st net zero office building a block past the end of the parade, our crew once again had a theme of Freedom from Oil with Green Transportation. But instead of electric cars as we’d featured the previous two years, this time we put the spotlight on a solar powered electric boat! 
Electric Marina owner Nancy Frainetti decorated both the
port and starboard sides with the Club’s logo and the phrase:
“Our PRIDE Shines on SOLAR Powered ELECTRIC Boats”.
 

Our safety monitors kept their solar powered spotlights on this sign throughout the parade as they pointed it out to spectators, getting a thrilled reaction as thousands learned for the first time such a thing existed. We danced on the boat and on the street to songs like The Electric Slide and Electric Avenue, as we waved a rainbow flag off the bow next to our sign: “I HEART Clean Air!

The next day folks who’d attended the parade saw us and a representative of The Electric Marina at our booth at the Pride Street Festival. As passes for free rides on the electric boat on nearby Tampa Bay were given out, we told hundreds to save the date for our September 12 St. Pete Drive Electric On The Bay event, which will take place near the home of The Electric Marina. We’ll include free Ride & Drives with the electric boat along with rides in various EVs provided by local dealerships.

Ready to roll in Temple Terrace with a Volt and a Leaf. 
But it’s hard to stop with just one parade when it’s parade season. The following Saturday our crew joined the Temple Terrace 4th of July Parade with two our EVs capturing folks’ attention there. Temple Terrace, next to Tampa & the University of South Florida, leads the region in policies supporting green transportation options, from making streets safe for bikes, legal for electric golf carts, to installing the region’s first Fast Charge station at City Hall.

Our crew told hundreds of families on the 2 mile route that today is the day to “Declare Your Independence from Oil”. Many told us they had no idea cars like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf were available for sale, that they looked so great, and that electric cars are real cars – not just odd little experimental models still impractical for everyday commuting. Our Uncle Sam passed out flyers about St. Pete Drive Electric Day On The Bay. We’re sure some won’t wait for Sept. 12th to go to a nearby dealership and find out how they can get a car that frees them from the tyranny of the gas pump.

Phil Compton, Senior Organizing Representative
Sierra Club National Beyond Oil / Florida Healthy Air Campaign Lead Organizer
1990 Central Avenue    St. Petersburg, FL 33712      phil.compton@sierraclub.org