Jessi Cruickshank on being that 11 yr. old environmental hall monitor and her new-found love for the electric car

By Jessi Cruickshank, WWF supporter

I’ve always been passionate about the environment. In Grade 6, I started an anti-litter campaign in my elementary school called “Clean Up Your Act”– I was that kid. When I worked at Canada’s Wonderland as a “Pirate Wench” (actual job title), I brought my own recycling bins to and from the green room, collecting pop cans that would otherwise be thrown in the trash. And when I moved to LA, one of the most polluted cities in America, I was determined to continue to keep my carbon footprint small.

Jessi now vs. Jessi, age 11.

I bought a Prius. It has great gas mileage, lower emissions and produces less air pollutants than other vehicles. Plus, it was a more subtle way of telling the world I care about the environment than yelling at 11-year-olds to pick up trash. My Prius and I embarked on a beautiful relationship, driving around L.A looking adorable together and helping the environment in the process.

One day, as I pulled my Prius into the Grove Shopping Mall, I noticed that my usual parking spot was now ‘Reserved for EV’. “Who the heck is EV?!” I thought “and why is he taking my parking spot!?” Then I noticed a whole row of parking spots were also ‘Reserved for EV,’ with each spot featuring a small charging station. A quick Google search taught me that ‘EV’ stood for ‘Electric Vehicle’ and a quick scan of that parking lot taught me that these vehicles were more popular than ever.

In fact, in Canada, there are more than 5,000 EV’s on the roads and in California there are nearly 40,000! Charging stations are now in parking lots at malls, movie theatres, grocery stores, gyms, and even at Disneyland! The fact that a pure EV can go 120 km between charges means it fits every lifestyle and can reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent. Not to mention the fact that they are more affordable and adorable than ever.

When I was 11 years old and telling kids to clean up their trash, I never would have believed that I would drive an electric car in my lifetime. But now the technology exists, it works, and it’s more popular than ever. It’s one of the lifestyle choices that we can make that will have a true and profound impact on tackling climate change. Choosing an EV is choosing to make a difference. I’ve done the research, I’ve seen the evidence and I can proudly say that as a lifelong environmentalist, my next car will be an EV… just don’t tell my Prius.

Learn more about WWF’s work on electric vehicles, sustainable transportation solutions and climate change in Canada by visit

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