by Dale Burgos
Gavin with our electric motorcycle
Peaches from our garden
Blueberries from our garden
As many of you already know, I’ve developed a green thumb over the course of six years living in B.C. The house we purchased had a plethora of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Elizabeth and I got rid of quite of bit, but we added so much more to give it the ol’ Burgos touch. Now that summer is upon us, we’re now getting to enjoy the fruits of our labour – literally and figuratively.
Early spring our roses, petunias, poppies, orchids, and tulips bloom. Early summer the rhododendrons, hydrangeas and lilacs pop up. Hard to imagine? Ever been to Butchart Gardens in Victoria? Think that, but much smaller.
As beautiful as the spring months are, my favourite time is July and August when we start to pick our blueberries, strawberries, wild blackberries, plums, peaches, and figs. When I retire, I think I’ll open my garden for tours and U-Pick! That should help alleviate some of the gardening and watering costs.
The “green” theme has extended into my work and personal life as well. My employer has put an emphasis on environmental stewardship and sustainability. Printer paper, for example: we’ve used up to 50 million sheets in one year. How many trees is that? In my department, we are now focused on creating everything digital. No more will our brochures, annual reports or board meeting agendas be printed. That is just one example of how we plan to lessen our use of paper products. Recently, our school district was chosen to pilot an electric school bus program. We’ve got two in our fleet with more on the way. I have to say, it is a weird feeling to not hear the typical school bus sounds as one approaches.
Closer to home, my focus has been to use less gasoline and carbon emissions. In July, I shared on social media that the cost of premium gas in Nanaimo hit $1.88 per litre. For my American friends, that is $7.12 per gallon!
Back in May of 2012, I wrote a two-part series for Pilipino Express on what was required in Manitoba to get your motorcycle license. Out of that experience, I’ve grown very fond of the two-wheeled machines. It is freeing to be on the road on two wheels with the wind blowing in my hair (if I had any). While motorcycles are great, I’ve learned that they can be expensive to maintain and insure. I turned my attention to 49cc scooters, which are much more economical as you don’t need to get a motorcycle license, produces less emissions, and it is a lot cheaper to insure. To fill up? Less than 10 Canadian dollars, even with these astronomical gas prices.
Back in June, Elizabeth and I went to the local bike shop to look at a Vespa, an Italian made scooter that is very popular in Europe. I’m not keen on the looks of these but we went to check them out anyways. As suspected, none of them set my heart aflutter. As I was ready to leave, I saw it tucked away in a corner, a rad looking motorcycle, one I’ve never seen before. To our surprise, it was electric. This time my heart skipped a beat! I took it out for a test drive and by the time I got back, Elizabeth was already wheeling and dealing – she knew I’d want it.
The benefits to the electric motorcycle are many. No gas, no emissions, no motorcycle license needed to drive, it costs the same price to insure as a scooter and best of all, I received a government rebate of $1,500! My commute to work has been very enjoyable and very clean.
Our journey to going green didn’t stop there. Back in July, I started researching electric bicycles as I have had a heck of a time biking up the monstrous hills found here on the west coast. The electrically assisted bikes have grown in popularity over the years. In the Netherlands, where biking is already popular, almost half of bikes sold are electric. According to a report by Allied Market Research, it is expected that global ebike sales will hit $65.83 billion by 2030. Our dependency on fossil fuels and our current climate crisis has led me to reflect on what I can do for future generations. I hope you do the same.
You can fully expect future Bit of Burgos articles chronicling our many “green” adventures. Stay tuned!
Dale manages the communications department for a school district in B.C.