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Ben Whalen is a co-founder of Bumbleroot Organic Farms in Windham and is on the board of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
As a farmer and small-business owner, I care deeply about my local environment and know other Mainers do, too. At Bumbleroot Organic Farm, we work hard everyday to sustainably grow organic food and flowers for our community. Though stewarding the land and cultivating the highest quality product is our focus, we recognize our environmental impact doesn’t stop at the edge of our fields. That’s why we use an electric van to deliver our produce and flowers throughout our community.
Clean air is central to a thriving community. Everyday, polluting cars and trucks threaten the breathability of our air and contribute to our climate crisis. We see the impacts of climate change every day — particularly this summer — with wildfires, floods and other climate disasters hitting us all very close to home. Cleaning up the transportation sector is key to addressing the climate crisis because it is the most highly emitting sector in Maine, accounting for nearly half of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
At Bumbleroot, we have been serving Greater Portland for nine years. This is a tremendous privilege, and one we don’t take for granted. Taking steps toward reducing our carbon footprint is critical to our mission and is key in reducing our negative impact on the environment while upholding the health of our community. Driving an electric vehicle has been a simple, enjoyable and easy transition that has helped us reach our sustainability goals.
Having the option to go electric and access to the right type of electric vehicle to fit our unique needs was key in facilitating our own transition to a carbon-free vehicle. I am confident that if provided with a range of efficient and accessible options, other small businesses will be able to make the transition. Electric vehicles have the benefit of not only cleaning up our air and reducing carbon emissions, but also saving small-business owners, like myself, money on maintenance and fuel.
Strong electric vehicle rules are key to reducing the carbon emissions of our transportation sector and getting more electric vehicles into our communities. Operating an electric vehicle has been a joy and we are encouraged by increasing investments in electric vehicle infrastructure and more availability of a range of models. Here at Bumbleroot, we are doing our part to facilitate the thoughtful and intentional transition to a transportation option that does not harm the climate by delivering our products in an electric delivery van and encouraging our neighbors to do the same.
Earlier this month, Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection announced that it is considering adopting the advanced clean trucks program that aims to get more electric trucks on the road by setting sales targets so an increasing percentage of new vehicles sold will be clean. Already, increasing public and private investments in electric infrastructure and incentives are making the transition to electric easier for consumers and businesses across the state.
It is clear to us as a local business operating in Maine that we are ready for the advanced clean truck program. It’s time for Maine businesses, large and small, to start thinking about reducing fossil emissions and swiftly adopting the advanced clean truck standard will help.