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John Walsh, a 100-year-old man living in Ireland, is sending a strong message with his recent purchase of an electric car: It’s never too late to save the planet.

His new Nissan LEAF also happens to be the first new car he’s ever purchased. It’s 100% electric and runs with zero carbon emissions. He also doesn’t have to make trips to the gas station any longer.

“I would never have dreamt of buying a car at this stage,” he said. But he wanted to do his part to help the environment.

Walsh first learned to drive on the first mass-produced affordable automobile, Henry Ford’s Model T in the 1930s, which belonged to his father. Often they would drive 70 miles, going about 20 mph, for his father’s job, which he called “a hell of a journey.” Now he can drive that trip in less than two hours on one electric charge.

Walsh watched the price of fuel influence economic decisions of countries and world leaders for a century. He remembers directly being affected by fossil fuel shortages during WWII. The shortage led him to switch to bicycling as public and private transportation were limited and strained.

If an electric car were available at the time Walsh was born — Sept. 10, 1915 — he would have saved about €120,000, or $135,000 USD during his lifetime.

But he’s just as happy to be doing his part to cut down on fossil fuel emissions now more than ever.

“I am convinced that we have to do something about global warming and pollution. I am a late convert to environmental protection and a bit of a late starter driving an electric car but this is my way of playing my part,” Walsh told The Irish Times.

At the age of 100, to base your purchases on consideration for the environment impact is a great outlook on life. His switch to electric from fossil fuel engine is a reminder that it’s never too late to make a change in your lifestyle.

While his son, and future generations already, enjoy driving Walsh’s new car he still plans to drive it around visiting friends and family throughout Ireland for the time being.

“My son also enjoys driving the car on longer distances, but I have priority on it,” he said.

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Defend the Planet

100-Year-Old Man Shows It's Never Too Late to Save the Planet

By Meghan Werft