Launching Season 2 of the Green Room!

Welcome back to Envirocentre’s Green Room! We’re thrilled to be bringing you Season 2.  

It’s hard to engage in climate action when you can’t picture the future you are striving to build. For Season 2 of EnviroCentre’s Green Room Podcast, we’re focusing on how we can create the good climate future here in Ottawa. Throughout this season, we’ll be diving a little deeper into what needs to be done to reach Ottawa’s climate targets,  exploring local climate solutions and chatting with the people who are making them happen! 

EPISODE 1: Demystifying Ottawa’s Climate Targets with Sharon Coward 

We’re kicking off season 2 with a wonderful conversation with Sharon Coward, EnviroCentre’s executive director, about Ottawa’s climate targets.

We break down what it’s going to take to reach the goal of hitting net zero emissions by 2050, and where the bulk of our emissions come from here in Ottawa. The good news is, we have the solutions: “In the most basic, simple sense, what we need to do to achieve these targets is rapidly scale up renewable sources of electricity, massively improve the energy efficiency of everything, and electrify everything.”

But achieving our climate targets will require a massive transition project, and we still have a lot of work to do to get there. “If we want to hit those targets, there is no easing in. Not anymore. We need to do all the things, and we need to do them at a pace that doesn’t feel intuitively ‘safe,’ or ‘reasonable. We’re going to need to dig in and regard this whole thing as a big, collective project.”

Sharon lays out the top three things we can do on a personal level to take action for the climate:

Net-zero your home

45% of Ottawa’s emissions come from buildings.  We can cut those emissions by improving our homes to be energy efficient, and electrifying them to draw on 100% clean energy.  In broad strokes, we all need to do this by 2040, which means roughly 20,000 of us need to do it this year, and every year, until we’re done.  This is something you can do.  This is something you can talk about with your friends, family, neighbours, landlords and City councillors and get them to do. 

Zero-carbon your travel

Another 45% of Ottawa’s emissions comes from transportation, largely our gas-burning single cars beetling around town to work, shop and live.  These trips need to go 100% electric or zero-carbon by 2050.  That means your next car is electric.  It means that electrified public transit system Ottawa is struggling to build really matters.  It means that any trips you can shorten, eliminate or do via zero-carbon walking, rolling or pedalling will make a difference.  Today’s lives in Ottawa are built around non-stop gas-powered journeys.  Tomorrow’s are not.  You can do the work of figuring out how to zero-carbon your travel for tomorrow’s world.  You won’t be alone.

Push for systemic change

When you are pondering the climate-damaging pieces of your life that you feel you can’t fix (the mountains of plastic that come with all our food supplies, the questionable production methods behind your t-shirt and shoes, the habitat destruction associated with the beef in your favorite meal), focus on one, and start to ask those who can make a difference to change their ways.  You, one person, probably can’t address every part of the big picture.  We do literally nothing else over here at EnviroCentre, and we still just scratch the surface on a few big, local things.  But you are not alone.  One million Ottawa residents making their voice heard on one big climate issue is a big force for change.

Listen to the Full Episode

This episode’s calls to action:

Learn more about how we are doing so far with Ottawa’s climate targets by reading the latest 2021 Status Update on the Climate Change Masterplan. 

Keep track of how we are doing globally in the fight against climate change with CO2 Earth.

Take one step to work towards Sharon’s top 3 climate actions and tell us about it at

  • Net zero your home
  • Zero Carbon your travel
  • Push for systemic change in one area that matters to you