Yes, we survived the Alaska Highway on electric cars but, what else did we do in Canada?
In Whitehorse we met with Janna Swales, the director of the Yukon Transportation Museum, and Natalie Pendergast policy advisor to the “Climate Change and Energy Solutions Center” of the Government of Yukon. They were super excited to meet us and share what we are doing. The Yukon Government is pushing to make Electric Vehicles (EV) more affordable and charging more accessible, yet most people are still skeptical about EVs and prefer their good old trucks. We did a Facebook live together to share about our trip, which you can check out here. Also, while working on the co-space Yukontruct, we met with Shane Wolffe Shane. He has focused his career on green buildings and how to make buildings more energy efficient to help fight climate change. In Canada, they can have some of the harshest winters. Inefficient homes running on fossil fuels are great contributors to climate change. He shared his book, “How to Future Proof Your Home: A Guide to Building with Energy Intelligence in Cold Climates” and many other ideas such as those of Passive House.
After Whitehorse, we spent a couple of days with Sam Medysky, a rad Canadian kiteboarder and old friend of Oli. He lives in Squamish in an “off-the-grid”home and invited us to stay with him, his soon-to-be wife, and their beautiful dog, Nelson. Only to get there is hard for most people as you have to drive to the top of a mountain, through winding dirt roads, getting deep into the rain coast forest. Once you arrive, you see Sam’s home surrounded by lush green. It is just amazing the spectacular and cozy place he has up here. And 100% off-the-grid! Most of his energy comes from the river upstream (hydroelectric power) and he uses lots of wood from the surrounding trees to warm his home (hard work from him). He is planning to make his home more efficient to warm it up faster using the Passive House principles, like Shane.
Of course aside from admiring his home there was time for some action: mountain biking and kiting with “The Chief” in the background, famous among rock climbers. We were supposed to be joined by another Canadian rider, Samantha Chilvers yet unfortunately she got COVID and could not join, bummer.
Lastly, Vancouver. It was intense, not because we enjoyed its great nightlife, the parks or the rest of the tourist attractions, but because we were packed with meeting people and organizing interviews! There are so many NGOs and sustainable projects in what is called the “Green City” of America that we wanted to meet people with different projects and backgrounds. That is how we ended up interviewing:
- SWIM DRINK FISH We joined this NGO for a water sampling day in Vancouver! It was a fun way of collaborating with community science while exploring Vancouver.
- RAINCOAST CONSERVATION FOUNDATION They are a team of scientists and conservationists empowered by their research to safeguard the land, waters, and wildlife of coastal British Columbia. We talked about Whales with talented Valeria Vergara and Wolves with Chelsea Greer.
- CITY STUDIO VANCOUVER –City Studio is an innovation hub that brings together city staff, students, faculty and community to co-create experimental projects that make Vancouver more sustainable, liveable, joyful, and inclusive. The idea to start this hub began when the plan to make Vancouver the “greenest city of America ” started, and great things have come from here! The best part? You can replicate City Studio in your own city with their support!!
- Simon Donner – This was one of our personal favorites because of the message he shared. We highly recommend you to hear his TEDx talk to understand his view on how “Climate Change” is a failure of our imaginations.
After all these meetings, our brains were filled with information and we needed a well deserved rest. We headed to the US border, and drove all the way to Hood River to relax by the river surrounded by mountains for some days.