“Whoever does not have a good father should procure one.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
My father Arran has always been more interested in gardening than cars. His Nature’s Path business card titles are ‘Co-CEO’ and ‘Garden-keeper’. Dad makes the world greener and warmer and brighter. Like Johnny Appleseed, wherever dad goes, he sows seeds: of vegetables and fruits, of kindness. After eating a particularly good tomato or plum, Dad will spit out the seeds onto a napkin to dry and save (to plant). Even when residing in a temporary home whose garden had no vegetable beds, Dad planted several zucchinis and tomatoes in and amongst the decorative floral landscaping. When Dad came to visit our new home, clippers were out within minutes, dead was taken out of trees and bushes. Lunch long-forgotten, berry clippings were planted and seeds sown. A dedicated visionary, Dad even turned the back of the parking lot at Nature’s Path head office into a vegetable garden.
Now, I’ve been asked by a few folks to post about Dad’s new car, the Tesla Model S built and designed in California. This seems like an appropriate Father’s Day post. Although Dad is not a typical car fanatic, I’ve never seen him get more excited about a car. Ever. He’s driven a whole slew of motor vehicles since I was a kid, which, regardless of how pretty and clean they start off – usually end up being turned into soil-covered utilitarian vehicles in which to haul plants, compost, and gardening tools.
Now I’m not a car buff myself. In a vehicle, I value functionality, beauty, and environmental sustainability in the reverse order. We humans are addicted to fossil fuels, even knowing full well that they are hurting us. It’s a drug and we can’t seem to stop using. (Myself included). When I moved back to Canada 4 years ago, I had to choose a car (as our trusty little Belgian-bought Peugeot couldn’t move with us). My criteria for a car was “Whatever, however, as long as it’s a hybrid”. When asked “What colour?”, my response was “Whatever, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s a hybrid”.
Everyone agrees that fossil fuel consumption is unsustainable, and that if one must drive, drive an electric car fuelled by clean renewable energy (not coal-based power plants for example). Rob Stewart, film-maker, was one of the motivators for me to write this blog. He explains in his film that we have billions of reasons to kick the fossil fuel habit. We have the technology to make change but we lack the political will. We know the problem and we know the solution. We just have to put it together.
After driving dad’s Tesla, I am super thrilled for the future of the electric car. The Tesla is going down in history as tipping the point. I am no car expert folks but I can tell you a few things neat things about the Model S. First of all, dad can drive from Vancouver to Victoria and back (with a trunk full of seedlings and fruits of course) on a single charge. The key is shaped like a car, the door handles pop out, the top is an all-glass panoramic roof. Plus there is a cool large screen which does everything like open the garage door, babysit your children and buy your groceries (just kidding it doesn’t buy your groceries, But the next model will). Sitting in the middle part of back isn’t a punishment because there is no hump in the middle of the floor. The Model S is wider than regular cars so 3 adults fit comfortably in the back. This is all very nice.
But what is truly amazing about the Tesla Model S is the silent, ridiculously-rapid acceleration. This is the reason why every one who drives a Tesla will want one. It’s like being in a quiet rocket. It’s science-fiction. It’s 0-97 km/h in 4.2 seconds. That’s like roller-coaster, stomach-dropping, rocket-ship fast. I have a strong stomach. I am someone who enjoys airplane turbulence (the bumpiness is soothing) and I like amusement park rides with names such as ‘Twister ‘ and ‘Kamikaze’. But when Dad accelerates too fast, a mischievous look in his eyes, I get motion sickness. The Model S model is that fast.
My father has always spoken out against what is wrong and voiced his soft tenor for what is right. Being a custodian of the Earth, he has always defended nature, spoken out against conventional (chemical fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides) farming and GMOs which are poisoning our planet un-necessarily. Being an organic gardener, dad knows first hand what soil needs to be healthy: sweat, toil and love. He knows what the long-term data shows: Organic methods meet or beat GMOs production in yields. We need bees, we need birds, we need biodiversity and love and compassion for all. With his head in the clouds and his feet on the ground, Organic gardening, Tesla-driving Dad is one of my greatest heroes. I can’t think of a better father, a better example for me – and everyone – to live by.
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads who toil in the soil, who envision, support and spark change. To the fathers who support the Earth – even when they could make more money by spoiling it. I’ve heard dad say this a million times but each time it resonates and strikes a different chord inside me. In everything we do, whatever we do, “Always leave the soil better than you found it”. I need to share this as it is now what drives my every conscious action or purpose; in effectuating change we stand up against what’s wrong and stand up for what’s right. In symphony with other salient, common sense truths, that mantra of leaving the earth better than we found it sings every day, ever louder in my heart.