Heroes Issues Making Headlines
Thanks to celebrities like Neil Young and Yoko Ono, timely issues like the annual dolphin capture in Tajii Japan and the threat of an expanded tar sands development near Fort McMurray are in the news this month.
Green Hero, Ric O’Barry’s campaign to stop the annual dolphin capture that condemns these beautiful sea creatures to a life of captivity or worse, slaughter, led celebrated peace activist,artist, and wife of the late John Lennon, to write to the government of her native country, Japan on January 20.
Ric’s campaign to end the inhuman practice began more than forty years ago. As a former dolphin trainer, his life made a one hundred and eighty degree turn when his star pupil Flipper died in his arms, a victim of neglect after the hit 1960s TV series came to an end.
Ric’s campaign finally caught the attention of photographer Louis Psihoyos. nearly thirty years later. Although Louis had never made a film, the documentary he made about Ric and his campaign resulted in an Academy award for his directorial debut The Cove.
The film’s success raised awareness far and wide and caught the attention of female racecar driver, marine biologist, and Green Hero Leilani Munter. Leilani was so moved by the film, that her racecar and racing gear now carry the film’s logo to racetracks like Daytona, where it reaches millions of racing fans.
Leilani’s campaign to protect the planet is featured on-line and in the Green Heroes’ TV episode Oil Changers. The episode, which also stars hockey defenceman Andrew Ference and Tar Sands campaigner Clayton Thomas Muller airs on TVO.
Clayton Thomas Muller is our featured hero this month for the work he has done raising awareness of the impact Tar Sands development is having on First Nations communities. His campaign gained added support earlier this month when musician Neil Young staged a series of concerts with Diana Krall to raise funds to support the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations with Neil asking the government to honour the treaties made with First Nations people and put a stop to further expansion of the tar sands in native lands.
Since then Neil’s stance has garnered further support from other artists including Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, actor Neve Campbell, author Michael Ondaatjje and Green Heroes Sarah Harmer, Gord Downie, Tzeporah Berman, Andrew Nikiforuk and David Suzuki.