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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.

Emmanuel Jal is a former boy soldier from Sudan who has chosen music as a path to make his footprint in the world. After his Toronto performance at Super Market (268 Augusta Ave.) during Canada Music Week, GreenHeroes got a chance to meet with him briefly to hear more about his current journey.

Emmanuel Jal's performance at Super Market, March 12th, 2011. Photo Credit: Elisa L. Iannacone

“The war tore my people, so I can never change my history, but I can use my experience to try to educate young people so that they can change the past mistakes and act now to change the future. (…) I’m an entertainer, but an entertainer with responsibility.” His work, though strongly geared towards peace, is also a call for humanity to take a stance for Earth. Emmanuel Jal has witnessed the destruction of people, and urges us to realize that ‘environment’ is also ‘people’. “The worst people on Earth are not the people who commit the crime, are not the people who pollute the environment, but are the people who sit down and watch it happen.”

Emmanuel Jal on stage. Photo credit: Elisa L. Iannacone

Below is a transcription of a few of the things that Emmanuel mentioned during our interview. Click on the audio link to listen to him speak as you read along.

“A lot of things are happening. There’s issues about wars, there is starvation, there is education, there’s environment crisis now, the world is speaking to us. The world is talking. The Earth is shaking. There’s flooding, there’s famine, you know? Seasons are confused. 90 million tons of CO2 are pumped into the air, every day, and people don’t know the side effects that it creates for the environment.

Like, we are 7 billion people now, and around 2 billion people live comfortably. So the other 4.something billion are probably living on less than dollar-a-day. We’re running out of resources. So if you live according to the standard of England, then only 3 billion people can enjoy the resources. You know, if we live to the standards of India then we can have 15 billion people. We have one part of the world like America. So, the whole world is crumbling because they want to live to the standard of the West. If we try to live to the standard of the West, the resources are not enough, because the Earth cannot sustain that number of people. You see all the wars and all of these things have a side effect.

Environment is not just pollution. It’s also the people, the living things. People are getting killed in Darfour and everywhere; we’re all part of the environment. The worst people on Earth are not the people who commit the crime, are not the people who pollute the environment, but are the people who sit down and watch it happen; because every human being has the power to change. You don’t have to go far, begin with yourself, begin within yourself, what are you doing? You can’t wait for the government to fix it. You need to start fixing it.

You know, if you’re really concerned about the environment, then try to save money and buy a car that is a hybrid. If you care about fair trade, then look for fair trade products and buy them. You see like, if we look at it in terms of genocide, we are intertwined into it. Sometimes you can wear a T-shirt; you don’t know where the ink came from. Or where the cotton came from. You can wear gold or diamond; you don’t know where that diamond came from. Sometimes you don’t know where that fuel comes from, in Sudan we’ve got genocide, Libya-crisis. So all we have to do is take a measure. Slowly by slowly we can make the world a better place. We’re in better times now compared to 60 years ago because we’ve got the Internet—the people’s power. Probably, it was set up for control, but now, the people can use that to make change.”


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1ZEJWVSiEI[/youtube]

Visit Emmanuel Jal’s Website for videos, news, releases and social media contact:

http://www.emmanueljal.com/

For information on GUA Africa, founded by Emmanuel Jal, go to:

http://www.gua-africa.org/

This past week CineFocus and The GreenHeroes Team headed to Canada Music Week that took place in Toronto.

Along with big names like Sammy Hagar and Sarah McLachlan, this celebration of Canadian talent included more than 100 performers from all over the world.

CineFocus captured some great performances by Eco-conscious musicians, attended interviews and asked performers to weigh-in on why the environment is so important to them.

Several celebrated musicians have used their fame to spread the word about greener, healthier living and treating the earth with greater respect. There are some great examples in the music world of how fame can serve as a place to increase awareness.

Melissa Etheridge, who was in attendance at this Canada music week, won an Academy Award for the song she penned for Al Gore’s An Inconvienient Truth.
Appropriately entitled “I Need to Wake Up” this song sends a warning message and provided a great audio backdrop for Gore’s successful film. In 2006, Etheridge once again brought attention to ecologically friendly living when she toured through Canada and the U.S. using exclusively bio-desiels for all her vehicles.

Stay tuned for updates from our team as they share their spoils from Music Week.

BY ELISA L. IANNACONE

It takes one particular person to walk the road less traveled before everyone else follows, and soon enough it becomes the one most traveled. Ansel Adams was a true pioneer in the field of photography, creating a ‘Zone System’ in order to control exposure within the image.

His photographs make full use of the film’s latitude, from true black to true white. It is that passion for innovation that later inspired Ian Clifford, after mentoring with Ansel Adams, to apply this innovative mentality to the rest of his life.

His electric car is revolutionizing the way we understand transportation today, and will, no doubt, continue to do so in the future. Take, for example, the recent hybrids rolling off the assembly lines of the major auto manufacturers.

The Tetons & The Snake River

Photo Credit : Ansel Adams

Adams used photography to convey the richness and beauty of the world’s environments and the need to preserve them. Clifford’s ZENN Motor Company is focused on the development of electric cars.

The whole principle of Zero Emission No Noise is to eliminate the waste products that are generated through internal combustion engines. This change, which is slowly gaining momentum, is imperative for the conservation of the planet.

Linked through the camera, each carving his own path, both Adams and Clifford have made significant contributions to the environment. While the former published works such as The John Muir Trail, which led to the creation of a National Park, the latter continues to develop a way to take cars to a more ecologically sound level.

Both men bring a strong sense of social responsibility and action into their work. Hence, it is their kind of mentality and energy that is needed in order to generate a change that begins at the road less traveled.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters!
Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

The Toronto Auto Show this past month saw the more traditional gas-guzzling machines we typically associate with car shows displayed alongside some of the world’s newest electric vehicles, showing consumers they really do have the option to go green when purchasing a new without having to sacrifice style and comfort.

From zippy two wheelers to more spacious mid-sized cars, the e-vehicle was out in full force this passed February.

Cars such as the new Fiat, the all-wheel-drive Mini and the new 100 % electric Smart showed off their sleek new looks. The Smart’s “ForTwo” has a fun interior with details such as a lime green speedometers and is totally silent when it drives.

From Ford comes “The Focus Electric” the first fuel-free rechargeable passenger car from Ford and the flagship of the company’s growing school of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. They are scheduled to arrive in North America and Europe by late 2013. This e-car boasts an advanced lithium-ion battery engineered by Ford with help from supplier LG Chem. It has the ability to charge completely in three to four hours using a 240-volt charge station.

Other models made use of electric power in conjunction with existing, traditional fuel technologies, such as the 2012 Infinity M Hybrid. This M35h benefits from Infiniti’s V6 engine paired with a 50 kW electric motor. It can drive on electric power alone at speeds up to 100 km/h and can travel on electric propulsion for almost 2 kilometres.

Whether it is speed, sleek design or just a green way to get around, the Toronto Auto Show showed us all the electric car is the way to go.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, plugging into green matters! Share your story of how you are working to reduce carbon emissions, by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

Photo credit: Shetu Modi

Corder became vegan when he realized how unethically animals were treated in much of agriculture. He credits his dietary change for paving the way to his current career, explaining that as an omnivore, he didn’t cook much.

“It’s how I found out what I’m passionate about,” he says.

While Corder didn’t initially consider the positive effects his new diet would have on the environment, he says it’s factored into his decision to stay a vegan.

“The Western diet is so meat-centric,” he says, adding that feeding the world on a similar diet wouldn’t be sustainable—given how livestock agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, and also consumes a large amount of the world’s freshwater.

Corder became vegan when he realized how unethically animals were treated in much of agriculture. He credits his dietary change for paving the way to his current career, explaining that as an omnivore, he didn’t cook much.

“It’s how I found out what I’m passionate about,” he says.

While Corder didn’t initially consider the positive effects his new diet would have on the environment, he says it’s factored into his decision to stay a vegan.

“The Western diet is so meat-centric,” he says, adding that feeding the world on a similar diet wouldn’t be sustainable—given how livestock agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, and also consumes a large amount of the world’s freshwater.

Photo credit: Shetu Modi

Even for those who aren’t looking to cut meat, dairy and eggs out of their diets, Corder has advice on eating sustainably.

“Learn where your food comes from,” he says. He recommends the documentary Food Inc., which he says doesn’t have a vegan slant but still details the industrialization of food and how destructive it is for the environment.

For those who do want to become vegan, Corder says it’s not that difficult.

“It’s not as hard as people tell you it is,” he says. He realizes that the most accessible food isn’t vegan, but adds that because of the growing prominence of the environmental movement, it’s now fairly easy to find vegan-related resources.

While avoiding animal products can significantly offset one’s carbon footprint, Corder acknowledges that it’s not the only way. And his advice for anyone looking to go green is pretty simple.

“Be mindful of your impact,” he says.

– Shetu Modi, Journalist

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, consumption and everyday actions have consequences. Share your story of making the eco-conscious switch in your choices by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

As the General Manager of Redken Canada, I can say with great pride that our entire team applauds and supports the efforts of Green Circle Salons to create a green shift within the beauty industry.

We believe that every movement, like the one Green Circle has started, begins with a remarkable idea.

Green Circle Salons offers the salon industry a simple way to make a significant environmental difference, and remain in step with today’s consumer demands for sustainable business practices.

Shane and his team first approached Redken Canada in the spring of last year seeking support for their campaign to send hair to the US to help with the oil spill clean up.

Redken was very happy to be involved in this project, and in fact provided financial support to cover the shipping cost to send the hair to the Gulf.

The fact that hair can be diverted out of landfill to provide cradle to cradle solutions elsewhere seemed really exciting to us.

The heart of the partnership between Redken Canada and Green Circle Salons is about bringing awareness to affiliated Redkenites (Redken Salons) across Canada about this unique opportunity that now exists.

We hope that salons here in Ontario will join the movement in reducing their eco-footprint, and that this wonderful opportunity will ripple out across Canada.

– Scott Moon, General Manager, Redken Canada

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, the smallest things, such as cutting your hair, can have a big environmental impact. Share your story of how you’re choosing the environment first and voting with your dollar by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

On Sept 19, 2010, the GreenHeroes Street Team joined Shane Price of Green Circle Salons to attend the official grand opening of Marilyn Sepe’s Anti Aging Laser Clinic and Wellness Centre at 385 Jane Street in Toronto.

The Clinic and Wellness Centre had recently relocated from the Junction neighbourhood to their newly purchased building in the Baby Point neighbourhood.

Salon Opening

Shane Price of Green Circle Salons takes part in the opening ceremonies of the Anti Aging Laser Clinic and Wellness Centre.  He is with builder Nick Carlucci of Heritage Construction Group Ltd. and Marilyn Sepe owner of the salon.

City Councillor Sandercook joined family and friends to cut the opening ribbon with Marilyn and to take part in the celebration.

Not only did Marilyn refit the aged building with sustainable elements including cork ceilings and floors, she made the sound decision to help green her business by being part of the Green Circle Salon family.

Marilyn Sepe, Nick Carlucci, & City Councillor Sandercook

If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.


Another incredibly powerful experience occurred when I was making lunch one afternoon in a drive-in picnic area just outside of Lake Louise. As I was unpacking my car, sunshine pouring down, I noticed that all the other visitors were sitting in their cars eating lunch, windows rolled up. Odd.

What I quickly came to realize was that there were bees swarming everywhere. Having stepped on a hive in a raspberry patch when I was a kid, I wasn’t comfortable with the situation at all. I was determined however to enjoy the day, the sunshine, and the Bow River.

Lake LouiseWithin minutes of chopping onions and carrots for my stir-fry, I had hundreds of bees all around; landing on my arms, my legs, in my face, on my cutting board. It was actually pretty ridiculous.

Good entertainment for the people sitting in their cars watching, no doubt, a mixture of Cirque du Soleil and a Japanese teppanyaki chef with knives flying here and there!

What occurred to me, oddly enough, and as a result of the experience on Mt. Lefroy just weeks previous was that if I was able to bring the same level of focus and attention to this experience, and accept it as purely and uniquely mine, that no matter what, the bees wouldn’t eat me.

They were equally a part of this experience as the cutting block, the onions, the sunshine, the river and me.

What happened next was nothing short of an epiphany (in my books). At the moment I made a conscious decision to 100% accept the bees, they instantly disappeared. Not 99%, nor 110%, exactly 100%.

And they were gone!

After enjoying my bee free lunch, and watching several other people drive up, get out and nervously jump back in their cars, I packed up my cooking utensils into the Subaru. I was about to step into my car to leave, and wouldn’t you know it, one lone bee flew over, landed on my nose, stared me down and …bit me.

No I am kidding, it flew off to see another day and teach another human an important lesson.

The culmination of those experiences that summer taught me that nature really can teach us everything we need to know, at least what I consider the really important things that connect us to this planet and teach us how to live within its natural laws.

And for myself, I think it is really important to protect this vital source of knowledge and wisdom – not to mention nature provides everything we physically need to survive.

We spend years and years pounding numbers, histories, equations and theories into our heads and we somehow believe that this is what makes us human and will allow us to continue our existence on this beautiful blue planet.

Perhaps this is true, but I believe that natural world provides us with lessons that are equally, if not more important. This wisdom is old, abundant, free, true, sacred and mostly ignored in the face of our fast paced lives.

Maybe this is how I would summarize my epiphany. I am sure if we reached out and spoke to people around us about this, as GreenHeroes is so wonderfully doing, that we would find similar stories and lessons. And I look forward to learning from them all.

Like every kid discovers, that has ever spent endless summers hiking, camping and canoeing in and around beautiful parks and freshwater lakes, a healthy appreciation and respect for the wonders of the outdoors, is rooted deep in the soul.

In fact, one of my father’s favorite stories to tell about days long past occurred on a cool summer morning when a thick fog had descended on our campsite. Apparently, dad was getting dressed and mom was fixing her hair, inside the tent, and like most four-year-olds, I darted off to explore whatever was within hands reach.

As he says he so vividly remembers, Dad stepped out of the tent to come after me when to his amazement, I had vanished in the dense, meter-high layer of fog. I was nowhere to be found. He called my name, but no answer. But suddenly, “I kind of saw this trail forming in the fog, kind of zigzagging through the trees and around the makeshift picnic table.” Apparently mom and dad got a good laugh as they let the charade go on for quite some time.

I give this background because, as we all know, every moment of awakening, or epiphany in life, is predicated upon the magical mixture of events and experiences that unfold into the uniqueness of you.

My story has always been about nature. My deepest insights into the mysteries of life came as a result of being surrounded by nature. My experiences as a child in the outdoors, no doubt anchored my life and my future deeply in the love for wild and untamed places.

About four summers ago I spent a month scrambling around the beautiful peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Most of the time, and selfishly, I was alone. Something about aloneness and nature, compliment each other so perfectly well!

Shane

At any rate, I had two separate, but very related, experiences that opened my eyes to the wonders of nature, and made me understand the importance of protecting the landscapes that, as I see it, make up the very best lecture halls in the world.

While on a solo ascent of Mt. Lefroy near Lake Louise, I suddenly found myself gripped. I was feeling a bit paralyzed by the steep 55% angle, the exposure and fact that I was…alone. I remember leaning into the mountain, my tools firmly griped in the ice and looking between my legs to Abbot Hut about 300 meters below.

Looking over my shoulder west were giant mountains in British Columbia, and to the east endless ranges of mountains all the way to the horizon. But what I was able to figure out, splayed out hugging the mountain in terror, would, I think, change my life forever.

I suddenly realized that all this fear that I was feeling, all the anxiety, was no more than a cue, an indicator to wake up, let the rest of the world disappear, and to get focused like never before. Every breath, every thought, every single part of my being and existence was about living in that moment. Out of body really…

– Shane Price, Founder of Green Circle Salons

Click here to read Part 2. Check out Shane’s webisode here.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, the smallest things, such as cutting your hair, can have a big environmental impact. Share your story of how you’re choosing the environment first and voting with your dollar by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

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