Pellerin: 2020 Vision – How an Ottawa co-op aims to fight climate change

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By Brigitte Pellerin, Ottawa Citizen, December 23, 2019

A fresh decade means fresh ideas. Beginning today, Brigitte Pellerin features some of the local people who are innovating – some in small ways, some in big ones, some in community-focused enterprises. Today: Aaron Thornell describes the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative.

Not every quixotic battle has to involve tilting at windmills. Striving for visionary ideals can mean regular folks banding together to tackle a common enemy. In this case, fighting climate change by investing in small-scale, sustainable, community-owned renewable energy projects.

Cervantes’ most famous character would have liked the work done by the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative. Founded in 2010, OREC gives people in Eastern Ontario the opportunity to invest in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote the democratization of energy production – and grow their nest eggs.

The City of Ottawa declared a climate emergency in April 2019, and the Ontario government plans to reduce our emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, a target in line with federal commitments. But how can we, regular folks with modest resources, do our part for the climate without feeling like Sancho Panza’s travelling companion?