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Published on September 15th, 2017 | by Cynthia Shahan

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Irma Reflections — Charging My Nissan LEAF After Mother Nature Aimed & Hit Two Trump States

September 15th, 2017 by  


I experienced my first tornado at the age of 5, and my first hurricane (category 3) at the age of 22. I am fortunate — never hurt or compromised. The water (everywhere) and the wind clearing out the atmosphere is refreshing (if houses remain and people are fine). The darkness without electricity for a day or so can be relaxing. Sunrise, sunset — they become more like what they were for most of our ancestors. At the same time, I grieve emphatically for all the lost lives and broken people who hurricanes have ripped apart.

Damage from Irma — Sarasota, FL

Shutters. Shutters. Shutters. Going into Irma, I watched everyone’s adrenals amp up (I’m sure they are exhausted now). People change. As a life-threatening, home-plundering storm creeps near, people change, and then people change more. It is nice to have a roof and a bed.

For the most part, though, I noticed with Irma that people turned for the better, became more pleasant. There were lots of caring glances, wishes and good hopes for meeting again on the other side of Irma. Blessings were shared in large volumes. It was rather nice, almost like people came more deeply into their hearts.

I wondered if I could broach the subject of EVs with some of them. More explicitly, since Florida was a Trump state — accepting a bully and not a woman who would have kept the environment and climate change a priority (along with compassionate health insurance for pre-existing conditions) — I wondered about broaching the subject of global warming and climate change. I wondered if it was safe to mention global warming, climate change, and larger hurricanes (to the Trump community facing a hurricane)?

Not sure, I broached the subject lightly (warmer weather, warmer waters, and larger hurricane size) with a few Trump acquaintances. Two Trump supporters look at me more passively than usual. Maybe they finally see my point of view as I mention the effect of warmer waters on the size of a hurricane. At least, they do not have a response. A Trump supporter (not in town) calls to see how I am. I do not find a good reaction when I mention my feelings on climate change. This one does not like the nerve I hit. Is it I who wagers guilt as I express my concern for my grandchildren (and their generation) due to climate change?

The Con. President Trump’s genius is reality con. The reality-show con wizard leads our administration. This is the best thing I can say about this man. He is talented at conning people. He has a dark legacy as does the administration that supports him. The head of the union? No light there.

I’ll stick to the subject of electric vehicles. It’s not good to mention climate change unless the Trump supporter is tired out from boarding the house with storm shutters (and wondering if they will have a roof soon). Warm waters = larger storms, hurricanes, monsoons. This costs lives, homes, and billions if not trillions of dollars of economic damage. Being “pro life” and “pro fossil fuels” doesn’t make sense — it’s an emotional oxymoron.

I plugged in my Nissan LEAF at a BP station — or rather, behind it. I was on my way to park the LEAF in the safest spot I could figure before Irma hit — a parking garage. The day was calm visually. Although, the mass hysteria pre hurricane had taken hold, as usual. For some, that anxiety may be needed to push them on their way to evacuation early and not too late. I watched gas stations fill up with long lines for a few days. I walked around BP to see what was happening at the gas pumps this time. Nada.

Day before Irma — Sarasota FL

The day before Irma — plenty of chargers available.

As I walked back to the charger, I passed a man who had come to get diesel for his truck. I said, “I’m happy to have an EV today.” He was a bit skeptical and pointed out, “if the power goes off, you won’t be charging soon.” True. Like everyone else, I need a backup generator. A backup solar generator. Many Floridians do buy generators, but the big thing I’m hearing about now is a whole-house generator.

Day 1 of Irma’s hit, I think that I may need a bicycle for transportation temporarily — as well as everyone else. I think to invest in the Hummingbird when it comes out with an electric motor.

The fluidity, versatility, and spirit of service of bicyclists sometimes do play significant roles in disaster recovery. They did in Sandy’s aftermath, as I remembered writing 4½ years earlier. Amidst the shock, the confusion, the grief, and the fright of Sandy, many heroes emerged. The ability to jump on bike and “be there” for victims of Hurricane Sandy resulted in immediate and genuine relief. The humanitarian efforts must have made many Americans forever grateful.

The power has been blown out over most parts of Sarasota, so I do wonder if I will be able to charge. Tesla unlocked more battery charge for some Tesla owners in the hurricane zone, but Nissan cannot offer that for early LEAF drivers. It seems like it is a good time to have a hybrid like my sister has. She offers me her hybrid if I can’t get a charge in my 2015 all-electric Nissan LEAF.

On day 3, even though gas is not very easy to find, is a charge?

Irma aftermath — Sarasota, FL

The day after Irma, we did not have power. I checked the LEAF at the garage. All good. No damage. Parked in a safe spot. I did not look for a charger.

Day 2 after Irma, I went to Nissan and charged up the LEAF just fine. We only had a category 2 hurricane in Sarasota after all, and we did not flood as badly as other cities in Florida. No power at home, but I was charging fine. Thanks, Nissan. I did not need the Hummingbird this time. I still want one.

Sarasota’s Indian princess/angel off the shore from Siesta Key was protective again. Naples, Fort Myers, Miami, the Keys, and even places like Jacksonville north of us seemed to have more problems overall. We are still not up to full power from the storm (my own power was off for 2–3 days), but I’ve been fortunate again.

Though, I hear that some areas of Sarasota will be out of power till September 21st. Some don’t have running water.

On day 3 after Irma, though, I’ve found all my usual EV charging stations working. They are apparently quite resilient, as long as the grid has power coming to them or they have built-in power backup.

A tree that fell down the next lot over. Sarasota, FL

Irma decided it was this tree’s time to tip, crushing a sidewalk in the process. Sarasota, FL

We should avoid more of the adrenal fatigue of hurricanes and strong storms — support wind farms. I hope all the people living in the tropics and elsewhere read our earlier story about ways to mitigate the enormous power of hurricanes while also preventing the global warming that creates and strengthens more of them.

CleanTechnica‘s James Ayre reported in 2014: “Large offshore wind farms — ones possessing thousands of wind turbines — hold the potential to notably diminish the power of large hurricanes, according to new research from Stanford University and the University of Delaware.

“In particular, the research found that such wind farms could have limited the power of three recent real-life hurricanes (Sandy, Isaac, and Katrina), both decreasing their wind speeds and limiting the accompanying storm surge. These are factors which would have greatly lessened the billions of dollars in damages that the storms all caused.”

Another bonus from the cleanest electricity source out there.

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Images: Photos of Irma by Cynthia Shahan © All Rights Reserved


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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan started writing by doing research as a social cultural and sometimes medical anthropology thinker. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education. Eventually becoming an organic farmer, licensed AP, anthropologist, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)



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