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From left to right: Emily Hunter, John Bessai and Joan Prowse

From left to right: Emily Hunter, John Bessai and Joan Prowse

Green Heroes producers, John Bessai and Joan Prowse, and Green Hero, Emily Hunter, were selected to join 600+ Canadians for climate action training by Nobel Prize winner and An Inconvenient Truth author, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore in Toronto on July 9 and 10.

While the doom and gloom of the 2007 Academy award winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, woke people up to the problem of climate change, Gore’s latest message is one of encouragement as he asked his newest recruits to spread a message of optimism and hope.

“We need to change laws, not just light bulbs. There are more people working in Green Energy than in the tar sands, but we need to get that message out.”

Gore was referring to the surprising number of Canadians polled recently (54%) who mistakenly believed half of Canada’s revenue came from tar sands development, when, in fact, the number of direct jobs created by the clean-tech sector (solar and wind are two examples) is equal to the number of jobs created by the tar sands.

Joan Prowse was impressed by the breadth of people selected to be part of the growing ranks of presenters. “I’m really honoured to have gained new insight from Al Gore, along with some amazing slides and well-researched facts I can use to help spread the word that climate change is real”, she said.

John Bessai said he “learned a surprising amount about how climate change is intensifying and how the facts we were shown correlate with news report about climate disasters – like the recent fires and drought in western Canada – that come at a great personal and economic cost.”

As Canadians head toward a federal election in October and the Paris Climate talks in December, Gore’s parting words ring true:

“We’re going to win this one – but we’ve got to speed it up.”

Time to get moving…

Premiering Sunday April 13 on CBS’ Showtime is the investigative series Years of Living Dangerously. In it, Ford and other Hollywood celebrities and respected journalists span the globe to expose the dangers resulting from years of living without serious regard for our planet.  Green Heroes applauds CBS’s Showtime for airing the series in a key program slot on Sundays at 10 p.m. Green Heroes airs Sundays on TVO featuring stories of celebrity and everyday people  taking on climate change.

The first episode of “Years of Living Dangerously” features Harrison Ford as he travels to Indonesia; there he witnesses the deforestation of the country’s once plentiful jungles to support the palm oil industry. Even elephants living in state parks are at risk. Poisoned to make way for the replanting of trees, these elephants are just one of many species facing extinction.

The two other investigations done by NY Times Journalist Thomas Friedman and Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle show the direct result of increased carbon emissions on our planet’s temperature and make the connection between droughts and social-political conditions – such as civil unrest in Syria and unemployment in the bible belt of America. In both cases, people are forced to move from their homes to the city, only to face under-paid, overcrowded, and stressful living conditions.

As a warm-up to a night of climate change enlightenment, tune into TVO as Green Heroes’ second season airs with two back-to-back episodes beginning at 6:00 p.m. Biting into Change features celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy and legendary music producer Daniel Lanois. Green is the New Black tracks three fashionistas as they take on the mega beauty biz.

At the Green Heroes Academy embark on a personal journey to make a difference with a mobile app filled with fun, family focused activities. Go the extra mile with challenges like the Transport Mission and make a difference– one green act at a time.

Do you have an affinity for all things green? Looking for innovative ways to create positive change in your community? Yes! Then you are going to want to be at Earth Day Canada’s Beyond Green Youth Summit in Toronto this weekend, October 25-27. Participants will get to mingle with leading environmentalists, including talks by Green Heroes Tzeporah Berman, Emily Hunter and Adria Vasil.

Friday night launches with a keynote presentation hosted by TVO’s Water Brothers at the Bloor Cinema, followed by a short eco-film fest that will display new works by Emily Hunter and the Water Brothers among others.

Saturday and Sunday will consist of a myriad of workshops exploring environmental themes of everything under the sun…and beyond. Green Heroes’ producers Joan Prowse and John Bessai will be leading saturday’s ‘Green Heroes: Creating a Media Channel’ workshop from 2-3:30 pm, exploring how to launch successful media platforms that can engage a worldwide audience for positive change.

Green Heroes will also be filming more inspirational stories at the event, such as Majora Carter! Don’t forget to wish her a happy birthday this sunday!

Click here more information on Earth Day’s Beyond Green event, and may all your green dreams come true!

Twitter: #BeyondGreen


P.S:

The Beyond Green Weekend was an inspiration to everyone that attended – creating an electric atmosphere amplifying the spirits of youth and fellow eco-mentors from across the country, showing that Canadians are deeply concerned about coming up with solutions about the environmental problems we are facing today. On saturday’s keynote presentation, Canada’s tar sands was a hot topic with speakers Ben Powless and Tzeporah Berman advocating for Canadians to stand up against the destruction of its boreal forest and waterways – Canada’s innate beauty. How can you begin to stand up and make yourself heard? November’s Canada-wide action with defendourclimate.ca will put you on the front lines of keeping this country, and the world, beautiful.

What do innovators Will Kozma, Andreas Souvaliotis, Frank Stronach and Bob Oliver all have in common? They recognize that climate change is a rising problem and that the only way to address it is by finding ways to reduce emissions by managing our ecological footprint. How so? They mitigate the effects of climate change by introducing us to new and imaginative ways to travel!

Featured Hero Frank Stronach, founder of Magna International, has partnered with former Magna vice-president, Frank Gingl, to create BionX, a product line of bikes and recreational vehicles that use an electrical component to help peddlers bike longer distances than ever before. You can learn about this venture in our latest episode as well as Will Kozma’s successful EcoCab company, the pedal-powered taxi in Toronto that creates a “win-win” situation for both the planet and its people.

Frank Stronach - Green Hero

Also featured in this week’s episode are leaders of environmental transportation incentive programs. Andreas Souvaliotis is the founder of Green Rewards, an incentive program that became LoyaltyOne’s Air Miles for Social Change division, that encourages participants to engage in green activities.  Pollution Probe’s CEO, Bob Oliver, encourages green commuting with the annual  Clean Air Commute. Green Heroes follows employees at Toronto Hydro, Powerstream and the Ontario Power Authority as they commit to travel by any mode other than driving alone in their car – for an entire week.

Watch our latest episode “Moving Green” to learn more about our Transportation Green Heroes, airing Tuesday July 9th at 7:30PM, and Sunday July 14th at 8:30PM on TVO.

During the episode, play along with our Green Heroes Academy app that will quiz you on our Heroes, watch cool videos, complete fun games and missions, and become a Green Hero too!

Join the Academy for free at http://academy.greenheroes.tv

 

GreenHero Tzeporah Berman, who we are currently featuring on our home page, recently wrote an Opinion piece for the Globe and Mail from Durban, South Africa where she was attending the United Nations climate change negotiations.

Tzeporah praises the advancements made in a “cleaner, safer and more stable economy.” She also criticizes Canada’s loyalty to oil and reminds us of the urgent need to act on climate change.

As you can see in her piece, Tzeporah is a passionate writer. If you’d like to read more of her writing, check out her recently released first book This Crazy Time.

Tzeporah Berman

Check out our latest newsletter to see Tzeporah’s campaign and our retrospective post on the work of our Heroes’ work in 2011!

Also, if you haven’t done so already, please fill out the CineFocus online survey to help this production company enhance its productions and understand how online activities can lead to participation in environmental initiatives. The deadline for completing the survey is January 7, 2012!

Photo Courtesy of Devin Lund

We are sad to announce the earth’s loss of one of her great champions. Wangari Maathai, our GreenHero who brought trees to areas in Kenya that had been environmentally degraded, died of cancer at age 71.

In the late 1970s, after hearing Kenyan women express their need for firewood, fresh drinking water and nutritious food, Wangari rallied them and said “Let’s plant trees!” She founded the Green Belt movement in Kenya that pays groups of women to plant trees. In over 30 years, 40 million trees were planted.

Her work inspired the United Nations One Billion Trees campaign, a worldwide program whose objective is to plant one billion trees per year.

In 2004, Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for her work. In developing a tree planting program, she fostered communities and showed the world how important trees really are.

For more on Wangari’s story, view our webisode on her. To learn how you can further her movement, visit our Talking Climate Change campaign we created that was inspired by her efforts.

“We created a movement that has inspired many other people, not only in Africa, but in many other parts of the world, so that many people feel ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’” – Wangari Maathai speaking to GreenHeroes

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