Watching the federal election campaign unfold it’s clear that we must remind candidates that without a safe and healthy environment for generations to come, nothing else really matters. To do that, we have to reduce (not increase!) pollution and transition our economy off fossil fuel and onto renewable energy. (For tools to help tell that message to candidates, click here.)
If you want to see how some Ontarians are already making this transition, keep Saturday October 3rd free. That’s the day that more than 100 places across Ontario open their doors to show how new developments in sustainable energy are working. This is a project is run by Green Energy Doors Open, under the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association .
You can meet people who use (and sell!) renewable energy. They show that it’s possible for us to reduce greenhouse gases, pollution and the use of fossil fuels and still have the lights on and our homes heated.
One of the most interesting groups participating is SolarShare, the largest renewable energy co-operative in Canada. SolarShare’s a non-profit which installs solar projects across Ontario. And you can be part of it without owning a roof for solar panels.
On Saturday (Oct 3rd) SolarShare is demonstrating one of their solar projects, a 600 kW system hosted by OK Tire Inc. 520 Abilene Dr. Mississauga. OK Tires is an automotive company that offers maintenance, repair and tires.
Since July they have had solar panels on one of their warehouse roofs in Mississauga, ON.
As a result, Solarshare has made $382,598 on the solar energy they’ve sold to the grid. They have sold enough energy to power 74 homes and prevented 57 tonnes of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere.
This is how it works (the investing, not the solar energy): You join the co-op. A lifetime membership costs $40. Then you can purchase their Solar Bonds. Those are used to finance their projects and they give a return on your investment. This is often called 'impact investing', which means that your money is invested in projects with your values. In this case it creates local jobs that are central to a sustainable energy future for Ontario.
Solarshare partners with a company which – in this example – allowed solar panels to be installed on the company's flat roof. The collected renewable energy SolarShare sells to the grid, making money and replacing fossil fuel energy.
If you’re thinking of attending you can get details here.
If you live in another part of Ontario click here for a map of local events near you.
This is how some communities are doing it for themselves! This video demonstrates how those who have seen the destruction that comes with fossil fuels - in this case the tar sands - are determined to build a future with renewable energy.
If you want to know more about how to ensure a prosperous economy that protects Canada’s air and water and accelerates our transition to a renewable energy economy, read the Greenpeace report. It proposes a pathway to a 100% sustainable energy supply, ending CO2 emissions and phasing out nuclear energy.
We can’t wait for the big utilities to do this. This has been the hottest year on earth, ever. We have a few weeks where we can maybe stir politicians to be serious about climate change. Let’s do it. Act now.