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Celebrate National Aboriginal Day with us today!

The Governor General of Canada proclaimed the first National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 1996. Every year, this celebration offers us a unique opportunity to learn about the rich, diverse heritage of Aboriginal peoples across our country, and celebrate the First Nations, Metis and Inuit people and all of their contributions to Canadian culture.

Not only does Canada have a history full of beautiful cultures, we are also lucky enough to have a rich and diverse natural environment across the entire country.  The Aboriginal way of life  celebrates nature and understand the deep connection we have with the environment we live in.

One of our Green Heroes, Ta’Kaiya Blaney, is a Sliammon First Nation and says this about her culture, “In my culture it’s a fact, and an understanding of life, that everything is connected, and we were put on this earth to be stewards and caretakers of the environment.”

Ta’Kaiya is only 12 years old, but has become an advocate for marine and coastal wildlife and spreads awareness through singing.  Her first song, “Shallow Waters,” was inspired by the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline and Ta’Kaiya’s desire to prevent future oil spills.

Share in the Celebration!

Here are just a few of the events taking place across the country:

For a full list of events in each Province, click here 

Watch Ta’Kaiy Blaney save marine and coastal wildlife with her voice on the new Green Heroes episode, “Back to Nature,” airing on TVO this Tuesday, June 25th, at 7:30pm.

 

Ray Anderson’s challenge for businesses to join him in the climb up Mount Sustainability includes a commitment to the use of renewable energy which is step 3.

Nissan Canada is an example of a company  that now powers its head office with 100 per cent locally produced renewable electricity.

They use the generators of a company called Bullfrog Power which injects renewable electricity onto the regional grid to match the amount of power the car company’s head office uses.

In the province of Ontario, Bullfrog’s electricity comes from local wind and hydro facilities that have been certified as low impact by Environment Canada. Across all of Canada, Bullfrog Power uses the collective demand of its customers to help support the development of new renewable generation.

This video explains more about how Bullfrog uses renewable energy to support the energy demands of businesses and consumers in Canada and is an example of a source people can connect with to scale Ray’s 3rd face of Mount Sustainability.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNRq3J-GrCc[/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!

By Tyler Davie

There are places in the world where stitching a Canadian flag onto a backpack may not be such a good idea for travellers. In Guatemala, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and other countries, Canada’s image may be associated with contaminated water supplies, eviction, and even death threats. What these communities have in common is their location above large reserves of valuable minerals, and the development of those reserves by Canadian mining companies.

75 per cent of the world’s mining companies are based in Canada, and they generate four per cent of Canada’s GDP with significant funding from the Canada Pension Plan and Export Development Canada. Just as in the Alberta Tar Sands, there is an environmental and societal cost to resource extraction.

For example, the processing of one ounce of gold, worth about $1,200, can produce 60 or 70 tons of waste including contaminated water that can kill fish and cause rashes upon contact with human skin. Mining companies encountering tension in communities in which they operate have hired security forces composed of ex-military members, and continuing tension between security forces has resulted in violence.

Environmental damage at the Porgera Mine, Papua New Guinea

Bill C-300 was a private member’s bill put forward by Liberal MP John McKay in February 2009. It would have had the ministers of foreign affairs and international trade investigate complaints against the international operations of Canadian mining, oil, or gas companies. Consular services and financing from Export Development Canada and the Canada Pension Plan would be withdrawn from a project from which a complaint found to be true arose.

On Oct. 27, 2010, Bill C-300 was narrowly defeated by a vote of 134-140 in its third reading in the House of Commons, after vigorous lobbying from the mining industry and criticisms from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, CPP, and EDC.

The bill would have filled a policy void left in the wake of unimplemented recommendations from a Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade report in 2005 and a 2007 roundtable report drafted by members of industry, the government, and NGOs.

Tyler Davie graduated with a B. Sc. Hon. in electrical engineering from Queen’s University and is currently studying journalism at Humber College.

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.

The health of our earth is linked to the health of its inhabitants. This fact is no more evident than in communities affected by environmental disasters and destruction. Clayton Thomas-Müller, a campaigner with the Indigenous Environmental Network, discovered this intricate linkage in his work campaigning against Canada’s tar sands.

Production of oil in the tar sands means acres of deforestation and water pollution; producing 1 barrel of oil requires pollution of 2 to 5 barrels of fresh water.

It is also the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

After discovering the devastation in front-line communities downstream, affected by health risks such as cancer, Clayton decided to speak up for the right for all people to live, work, and play in a healthy environment.

As a voice for front line communities, Clayton actively vocalizes for the rights of indigenous communities and those affected by environmental racism, communities uprooted by industrial displacement, corporate exploitation and the resulting toxic contamination. You too can be a voice, asking for healthy environments for all. Act now.

“What we need to do as humanity is re-evaluate our life, our relationships with the sacredness of mother earth, our relationship that has been devastated by industrial gain”
– Clayton Thomas-Müller

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.

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.

We only need to look to Bill Lishman to know that anything is possible when you’ve got a great idea. But sometimes it can be hard, practically, to transform those ideas into reality. It can be even harder if you’re a young person, with even fewer resources at your disposal.

Lucky for us dreamers, innovation is the new buzzword in town. In the US, President Barack Obama launched a campaign called “Educate to Innovate” earlier this year, which drives home the need for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in schools. Why are these disciplines so important? It all comes down to one key skill: problem solving.

Obama is investing over $250 million, including private sector investments, to train 10,000 new math and science teachers and 100,000 existing teachers to pass on the skills and knowledge to form a strong future generation of thinkers and doers.

One of his campaign items pairs NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) scientists and engineers with teachers and students for a Summer of Innovation. Its first year was a resounding success; transforming complex engineering and science topics into play for youth has been seeding curiosity in kids that continues to grow.

So where does Canada stand in the race to innovate? We’ve got loads of initiatives and organizations sprouting up to help get innovative ideas off the ground (more to come on the blog!), including an entire Ministry devoted to it in Ontario (that would be the Ministry of Research and Innovation). But despite some valiant efforts, Canada is still one of the lowest ranking for innovation on the world stage.

But, we’re pretty positive that innovation is looking up in Canada. Stay tuned to the blog to learn about what’s already happening to boost innovative projects here at home. It’s these ideas that will help make our county a greener and healthier place to live! And don’t forget to visit our Taking Flight campaign to find tools to get your ideas off the ground!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, let your ideas take flight: Share your story of innovation and bright ideas sparking change 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.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

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