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Ray Anderson has 7 stages to climb what he calls Mount Sustainability.

he first one of these is thinking about eliminating waste at work. This can be done more easily than you think.  In Canada there is an annual campaign called Waste Reduction Week which has some pretty funny and very short videos featuring Oscar the Grouch to help inspire us.

Who better to lead us in the battle against garbage?  Waste Reduction Week isn’t until October of this year (Oct. 17-23, 2011), but the 2 PSAs for this annual campaign are amusing if you are a fan of Oscar.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjienlArV18[/youtube]

Think of Oscar the next time you need to throw out something at work rather than using a re-usable container.  Taking reusable containers to work just for your sandwiches would be a huge step for anyone who currently wraps their lunch with disposable plastic.

Start the climb on Mount Sustainability. Try to bring less garbage to your workplace.  It might make Oscar mad, but he is always in a bad mood!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmgAlc2uLPc[/youtube]

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, scale the sustainability mountain. Share your story of how you’re scaling the sustainability mountain by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Sometimes change comes in stages, as is often the case for businesses deciding to “go green”. Interface Global, an international carpet manufacturer, wasn’t always clean and green. But under the leadership of GreenHero Ray Anderson, the business is well on its way to reaching its peak of sustainability.

Ray Anderson is an enlightened business leader who listened to the call of his customers over a decade ago.

When buyers asked what Interface Global was doing to help the environment, Ray had an epiphany; the task at hand required new leadership and bold decisions to reshape production.

Springing into action, his company broke the seemingly mountainous task of “greening” into 7 stages, attempting to mimic nature by recycling everything and eliminating waste.

What resulted was a world-leading company in corporate social responsibility with low waste and emissions, and a world-class business model for other industries to follow.Take action now to help your company scale the sustainability mountain!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, scale the sustainability mountain. Share your story of how you’re scaling the sustainability mountain by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Nadine Guimond works with ING DIRECT, an online investment and banking company. Her experiences with the company demonstrate a growing trend towards corporate social responsibility in the workplace.

Sharing Willa Black’s enthusiasm for positive green activities at Cisco, Nadine shares her hopes with us for more projects that help us connect to our environments, like ING’s playscape.


By Nadine Guimond

Nadine GuimondEarly in 2009, my employer, ING DIRECT put forward a staff challenge to come up with an idea to get as many employees as possible involved in a community improvement project. I put forward the winning idea of building the city of Toronto’s first natural playground.

On September 17th 2009, close to 500 ING DIRECT employees transformed McCleary Park into an innovative playscape featuring a hill slide, climbing boulders, sand area, musical instruments, mature trees as well as an inverted tree.

ING DIRECT has since created a natural playground in Ottawa and added natural elements to play areas of a Toronto community housing residence in October 2010. The company that helped make all of this possible isBienenstock Natural Playgrounds.

I’m passionate about the necessity of reconnecting children with nature. Preferences for electronic entertainment along with highly scheduled extracurricular activities often leaves little time for nutritious meals and unstructured play, resulting in a rise of childhood obesity.

If the trend continues, for the first time in history North American children will have a shorter lifespan than the generation before them.

I grew up in Temagami, a small town in the middle of a nature preserve in Northern Ontario. My childhood was spent building forts, climbing trees, hiking through the woods and exploring the world around me.

My early years definitely instilled a passion for a healthy lifestyle and environment. There’s a Native American proverb that says, “We do not inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Let’s do what we can to make nature something all children care about and have a deep connection to!

Cisco recognizes 25 Canadians

over the past 25 years

This year, Willa was presented with another challenge – to do something meaningful to celebrateCisco’s 25th anniversary.

Her response – The 25 Transformative Canadians project. This awareness campaign celebrates 25 living Canadians who have made a difference. This time she partnered with the Globe and Mailnewspaper. Readers were invited to nominate Canadians who fit this description.

Here are four videos of nominees who in particular have worked to help save the planet.

1. Sheila Watt-Cloutier who made climate change a human rights issue:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1RloC4O8AE[/youtube]

2. Geoff Green who leads Arctic expeditions with an environmental message:

3. Kelly Hawke Baxter who through “The Natural Step Canada” helps inspire ways to lessen harmful environmental impacts:

4. David Suzuki who everyone knows is a scientist, environmentalist, broadcaster and author who has had a huge impact on how we think about the future of our planet:

Click here for the complete list of the 25 transformative Canadians.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, act on your ideas. Share your story of how you’re ideas into action by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

True GreenHeroes are spread far and wide, often unrecognized for their “green”, innovative contributions. But at GreenHeroes.tv, we’re all about shining a spotlight on these everyday heroes, folks like us who are taking simple steps to make the world a better place.

Perhaps inspired by our own familiar GreenHeroes, from singer/songwriters Sarah Harmer and Gord Downie, to racecar driver Leilani Münter, some budding GreenHeroes are beginning to surface through our GreenHeroes.tv contest!

Check out some of these incredible GreenHero nominees, and see who else is nominated!

Tom Rand

Chris Chopik

Want to enter the contest yourself? Want to nominate someone else? Here’s what you need to know:

Who are GreenHeroes?

GreenHeroes are remarkable people who acted on their idea and heroically “ventured forth” to protect our planet. Through their stories, our goal is to inspire people, like you, to become GreenHeroes too.

On the web and on our TV show, GreenHeroes tells the story of change – of how people improved their lives, what their tipping point moments were and how they overcome obstacles to become a GreenHero.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Nominate – Tell us a great story of how your or your nominee are acting in new and exciting ways to make our world a greener place.

2. Upload your video or photo – Videos and images will be available on GreenHeroes.tv so that others can view, rate, and comment on your entry. The highest ranked will be featured on GreenHeroes.tv, then move on to the next level of competition and be featured on television! (Learn more about the prizes!)

3. ACT! Get involved in your world, then share your experience in action, by visiting our campaign pages. Perhaps you’ll be inspired and find a GreenHero in the actions you take! Or, you might even consider contributing to our Take Action blog.

4. Share – We believe that the way to make a change is to make videos and help spread the word to others. We encourage to comment, rate, and share our inspiring content through your social networks!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, act on your ideas. Share your story of how you’re ideas into action by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

n the making of her webisode, we got an insightful opportunity to sit down with Willa Black and environmentalist David Suzuki, to learn more about how One Million Acts of Green came to be.

Their thoughtful words on an incredibly successful project demonstrate even their surprise at the power of the human network and the amazing effects that come in numbers. Check out ourcampaign page to learn how to act on your ideas!

You can find Part 1 of the interview here.

Photo Credit : Devin Lund

David Suzuki: People are realizing that this is something we can’t ignore. The problem is if we keep lumbering environmentalists as those treehuggers, it ain’t going to work. First of all, we have to embrace the corporate sector, which means getting in bed with some nasty people.

We are not going to make it just as individuals; if we don’t have the corporate sector working with us than we can forget it.

We also have to broaden it. If we don’t deal with chronic levels of high unemployment, if we don’t deal with people who have no opportunity of justice or security, if we don’t deal with populations that are under genocide, or terror, or war, they can’t be concerned about the environment.

Just because you are a corporate executive or a Native living in Africa somewhere, you breathe the same air, you are dealing with the same water and we’re human beings. The challenge is this: we have never had to act as a single species. We have no mechanism to respond as a species. We have to work together as a species and that’s very tough.

Nature is very vast and very complex, and maybe if we learn to pull back as we are trying to do with a million acts of green, maybe nature will surprise us and be far more generous than we deserve. Nature will reveal that there are other options. Saying it’s too late doesn’t accomplish anything except to destroy any hope that you try.

I think what we need to do is rediscover our home as the earth, and we can’t keep thinking of the environment as something out there. We are the environment. That rediscovery of our place is our biggest challenge. It doesn’t matter if you are an executive from Cisco, Shell or Walmart; first of all, you are a human being living on this planet. You need air and you need food as an animal. Those are the most important things you need everyday and I think that’s what changes the world, when you realize that.

Willa Black: Understand the potential of what you can achieve. Even the shyest and most disengaged person, everybody can do something. It’s not about being an environmentalist, it’s about being good citizenry. It’s about being role models for your children. It’s about wanting the very best for your planet. It’s about knowing yourself and knowing you can play a part in that.

When we first started talking about a million acts of green, it would have been easy to say no. I’m so glad that we had the courage and that Cisco stood behind us, and I am really delighted that we caught the attention of great global leaders like David who I respect so much, because we all come from different backgrounds. Serendipity brought us together because we all care so much about it, and it does feel good that we were able to make a little dent.

DS: My great hero was my father. He lived a full life, died when he was 85 and when he was dying…he kept saying over and over, ‘David, I die a rich man’. He didn’t have a penny to his name. He was a poor man. All we talked about was family, friends, and neighbours and what we did together, and that’s why his wealth had nothing to do with money or stuff. It’s people. Your real wealth is people and what we do together and especially with our children. So let’s get refocused on what the priorities are in life.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, act on your ideas. Share your story of how you’re ideas into action by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

In the making of her webisode, we got an insightful opportunity to sit down with Willa Black and environmentalist David Suzuki, to learn more about how One Million Acts of Green came to be.

Their thoughtful words on an incredibly successful project demonstrate even their surprise at the power of the human network and the amazing effects that come in numbers. Check out ourcampaign page to learn how to act on your ideas!

Photo credit : Devin Lund

David Suzuki: We had tried to engage citizens for several years. We called it the Nature Challenge…People would say, ‘listen Suzuki, I got your message but what can I do, I don’t want to waste time on something that is not significant, I want to change my life and I want to begin to reduce my ecological footprint’. So we partnered with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and asked, how do ordinary people impact the environment so that we can figure out how to lighten our impact?

Immediately, it was obvious that it’s what you eat, where you live, and how you move…We got a list of the ten most effective things which we called the Nature Challenge. I got the list and threw it on the floor. I said, ‘Come on, this is too easy – give up meat one day a week, leave your car at home one day a week’. But, if you get enough people doing these simple steps, UCS said, guess what – it adds up.

The importance of saying a million acts of green is that a million people actually made a commitment. I think that the fact that so many citizens chose to be engaged is a very telling thing that I don’t think politicians can ignore.

Willa Black: I certainly didn’t expect to get a million acts. I think people really had a way more vested personal interest in what they could do and the changes they could make than I ever expected. It is one thing to make people go to a website…It’s another thing to get them to register and to act. It worked for everybody, from a five-year-old child to an 80-year-old grandmother, from a business to a community.

DS: Just think, if we citizens of Canada committed to picking up one piece of garbage a day, that’s 365 multiplied by 35 million, that comes out to a lot of garbage.

My commitment was I will pick up one piece every day, and it’s been a very interesting exercise. I often find when I reach down to do it, there are four or five things, so I clean up a little piece. Just think, one person picking up one piece a day is nothing; 35 million is huge, and it’s those kinds of simple acts that can become very significant.

WB: When you hear what is happening to our world and the environmental damage that is going on, it seems so terrifying and so overwhelming. A lot of people would say, ‘Oh there is no way I can do anything about that’, and what we were hoping to do with a million acts of green, is to convince them [that they can] and it doesn’t have to be enormous.

DS: During the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, I used to run around saying, “Think globally, Act locally”. I really think in the end it turns out that was a mistake…Thinking globally tends to disempower us, making us feel totally helpless. Thomas Berry, one of the greatest philosophers, said we got to change that to think locally and act locally if we are going to have any effect globally.

It’s at the local level where you can actually see the impact that you do and you can arouse a community.

WB: That was one of the great things that the campaign did. Everybody could see what the impact of their contribution was, and they could see the green house gases that they were saving with their acts.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the interview!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, act on your ideas. Share your story of how you’re ideas into action by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Melissa Shin is the former Managing Editor of Corporate Knights Magazine, the magazine for clean capitalism. Aiming to humanize the marketplace, Corporate Knights covers topics from corporate social responsibility to health and food, to leaders and innovators in the corporate sector.

The magazine makes it easier to synch market decisions with environmental concerns, a topic which Cisco exec Willa Black is familiar with too. Check out her webisode, and visit her campaign pageto learn how to spark your ideas into action!


By Melissa Shin

Former Managing Editor, Corporate Knights Magazine

If the environment were a bank, we would have saved it already.

This amusing yet sobering socialist protest mantra illustrates the misguided view our markets take of the invisible economy—the environmental goods and services like clean air and water that quietly sustain us every day, for “free.”

Not sure what I mean? Watch this:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZWnMaX_bsY[/youtube]

Right now, it takes too long for ecosystem losses to filter down into economic losses. Only when we lose something of “value”—maybe a waterway has been over-fished and the local community can’t make a living, or a crop of oranges freezes because of wild weather in Florida—do policymakers pay attention.

Based on his research from The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Report, United Nations Advisor Pavan Sukdhev says we need to think about what happens if we don’t have things like clean air, fresh water, or bee-based pollination, and how much we will need to spend on alternatives.

For example, the value of nutrients and fresh water flowing into farmers’ fields can be established by calculating the cost of alternatives such as nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium-based fertilizers and irrigation systems. If we know that, we know how much polluters should be paying.

Slowly, the world is starting to wake up to the reality that if we don’t protect our ecosystem services, we’ll lose them forever and have a huge bill on our hands. As a result, companies are starting to take environmental and social information into account, linking their executive pay toenvironmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.

But is it happening fast enough? We need to factor the value of nature into buying decisions and add a line for Natural Capital into corporations’ annual reports and countries’ GDP.

The conclusion of the TEEB report is simple and chilling: do nothing to protect our natural capital, and we’ll lose trillions.


Remember – in the battle to save the planet, act on your ideas. Share your story of how you’re ideas into action by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Acting On An Idea
03Jan
2011

Imagine the changes we could see in the world if every person acted on their ideas. For Ciscobusinesswoman, Willa Black, acting on her idea led to over a million changes; a million acts of green to be exact.

When her workplace challenged Cisco employees to come up with an idea to bring the human network effect to life, Willa rose to the challenge, recognizing that major changes could come about by bringing together lots of people.

Willa Black

Photo credit: Devin Lund

After examining her own life and daily habits, Willa contemplated the idea of power in numbers. She imagined changing simple acts in her daily life, such as turning off lights, washing clothes with cold water, carpooling, or planting a tree, and was excited by the potential reverberations if mimicked by a street, a city, and a country of others.

Acting on the principle of Corpoate Social Responsibility, Willa turned a marketing challenge into a green opportunity, resulting in over 4 million acts of green committed, and bringing about monumental change. Got an idea to change the world? Set your ideas into action!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, act on your ideas. Share your story of how you’re ideas into action by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Happy New Year!
02Jan
2011

We at GreenHeroes are looking forward to the year ahead with more webisodes and take action campaigns to get you involved.

Between now and mid-June we will be introducing you to more GreenHeroes who acted on their ideas to bring about environmental change.

We start the year off with webisodes that show how corporate responsibility and green initiatives cango hand in hand.

January 3 – Willa Black – Willa is a Cisco executive and inspiration behind the successful One Million Acts of Green that in 105 days had Canadians reach the goal of 1 million Green Acts to help the planet.

January 17 – Ray Anderson – Crowned America’s Greenest CEO, Ray turned his carpet manufacturing company into an example of sustainability that also turns a sizeable profit.

January 31st – Shane Price – is Founder of Green Circle Salons an initiative that recycles and reuses waste from hair dressing salons.

Other heroes to watch for in the coming year

Ian Clifford (creator of the Zenn Electric Car)

Emily Hunter (MTV eco-journalist and daughter of Greenpeace’s co-founders, Robert and Bobbie Hunter)

Ric O’Barry (star of the Academy Award winning documentary – The Cove)

Also featured are profiles of Green Giant, David Suzuki, Musician Bruce Cockburn, Owl Magazine Founder, Annabel Slaight, Clayoquot Sound hero Tzeporah Berman, and Bullfrog Power founder,Tom Heintzman

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, healthy communities matter. Share your story of how you are affecting the health of your neighbours and your local environment, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

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