Eco El Paso hosts first Drive Electric Festival

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Eco El Paso hosts first Drive Electric Festival

Eco El Paso hosts the city’s first-ever National Drive Electric Festival Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Sunland Park Mall’s south parking lot.

Eco El Paso hosts the city’s first-ever National Drive Electric Festival Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Sunland Park Mall’s south parking lot.

Margaret Cataldi

Eco El Paso hosts the city’s first-ever National Drive Electric Festival Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Sunland Park Mall’s south parking lot.

Margaret Cataldi

Margaret Cataldi

Eco El Paso hosts the city’s first-ever National Drive Electric Festival Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Sunland Park Mall’s south parking lot.

Margaret Cataldi, Staff Reporter

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Eco El Paso, a local environmental organization, partnered with National Drive Electric Week to host the city’s firstever National Drive Electric Festival Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Sunland Park Mall’s south parking lot.  

National Drive Electric Week is a yearly nationwide celebration that seeks to bring public awareness to the widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and promote the assets of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks, motorcycles and more.  

The event was free to the public and featured a number of tents ran by local sponsors such as El Paso Electric, Erus Energy and Solar Solutions, where people learned more about how to transform their home and lifestyle into one that is environmentally and economically friendly.   

The event was mainly organized by Eco El Paso, a local nonprofit organization founded in 2009 for the purpose of promoting sustainability in construction practices and operations throughout the community. Their goal with the Drive Electric Festival was to spread awareness of electric vehicles in the city 

“We hope to get people to recognize that electric vehicles are more sustainable, and they’re present; they’re here, you know, and it’s time for the community to start embracing it,” said Eco El Paso Board Member Robert Moss, who is also the Assistant Vice President of Environmental Health & Safety at UTEP 

To any adult who’s interested in moving on from fossil fuels, this is an opportunity to really be more sustainable and recognize that our community is suffering from climate change,” Moss said.  

According to the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA)97 percent of climate scientists agree that global-warming trends over the past century can be linked to human activity. The traditional gasoline-powered vehicles that the majority of Americans use daily emit carbon-dioxide, which produces large amounts of greenhouse gas that can be responsible for increases in global temperatures 

Researchers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center have found that the average car emits close to one pound of carbon dioxide per mile. Electric vehicles however, reduce this emission by up to three fifths.  

Climate change is affecting everybody. Our heat loads are growing every year,” said Eco El Paso Board Member Jesse Sanchez. “We’re finding out that in some places, we are 50 years ahead of schedule of where researchers 20 years ago predicted we would be with climate change.  

El Paso is of course no exception to the rise in temperature experienced across the board. Sanchez went on to recount the climate research that he conducted within the El Paso area 25 years ago. He stated that back then, temperatures above 100 degrees were observed just 13 days out of the entire year. “Last year, we were at 47 days,” Sanchez said 

“Unfortunately, my generation has spoiled the future for you,” Moss said. “But it’s not enough to blame the generation before you. It’s really important to just get involved and start working towards a better future.” 

A huge way to get involved is by using your voice and becoming an advocate for change, which is exactly what the organization known as Sunrise El Paso aims to do.  

The Sunrise Movement is a nationwide organization that pushes for government implementation of meaningful climate change policies, such as the proposed Green New Deal, to address the climate emergency. Miguel Escoto is a coordinator for the Sunrise El Paso branch and was present at the Drive Electric Festival to promote the organization and inform onlookers about the upcoming Climate Strike happening nationwide, and in our city.  

Sunrise El Paso will host a protest and demonstration at noon Friday, Sept. 20 at Memorial Park. They will also feature a series of speakers to discuss the different local environmental struggles such as pipeline leakage, factory pollution and more.    

“Our city government should be doing a lot more than what we’re doing right now,” said Escoto. “So we’re focusing on local environmental justice, and trying to create a momentum.”  

For more information about Sunrise El Paso and the upcoming Climate Strike, you can visit their Facebook Page at SunriseElPaso.  

Margaret Cataldi can be reached at [email protected] 

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