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Heroes combat adversity with ingenuity, bravery and strength. Al Gore truly exemplifies these heroic attributes.

For over a decade, the former American Vice President has fought climate change, the greatest challenge of our time. In 2006, his Academy Award winning film An Inconvenient Truth, raised awareness about the need to phase out fossil fuels and shift to clean renewable energy.  Now eleven years later comes An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

In devastating detail, the sequel lays out the ongoing destruction of warming temperatures, rising seas and increasingly deadly storms. We also get to see Al Gore behind the scenes at international climate summits brokering complex deals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (I guess you could call this heroic diplomacy.) But what most inspired me was the focus on the power of ordinary individuals following in Gore’s footsteps promoting renewable energy solutions. The Climate Reality Leadership Corp  Al Gore created after his first film now numbers 12,000 and leads the way in the global movement for climate action. (Three members of the Green Heroes creative crew are part of this team.)

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is definitely worth seeing. Afterwards, you might consider the path for your own hero’s journey combating climate change. The film certainly reaffirmed my commitment to Green Heroes and the people we’ve profiled, for instance: race car driver Leilani Munter , who after seeing Al Gore’s first film, launched a campaign to reduce fossil fuel in her sport, or fashionista Kelly Drennan who raises awareness about the environmental impact of the clothes we wear.

Ingenuity, bravery and strength. In the face of climate change, these heroic actions provide hope, a much better choice than despair.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

As we know, Rob Stewart disappeared Tuesday evening off the coast of Florida. The outpouring of support and hope that spearheads his search is inspiring. Across social media on Facebook, Twitter and at sharkwater.com you can find updates and opportunities to volunteer or donate. On twitter follow @teamsharkwater and #FindRob.

The fundraising campaign continues to gather funds for air and ground searches including 13 helicopter and teams working non-stop. The outpouring of financial support is heartwarming.

 Green Heroes field producer Stephanie Silliker and I met Rob in the summer of 2009 when we interviewed him for the first season of our TV and web series.

I remember Stephanie giving me the Sharkwater DVD telling me it was a “much-see” because Rob was your quintessential Green Hero. He certainly changed my Jaws-jaded view of sharks from man-eater. In less than 5 minutes, I learned that sharks are not to be feared by rather revered for the essential role they play in balancing all life on earth.

I was so impressed at how he was able to convince me of their importance that we did the interview with him right away. He was gracious and generous, even introducing us to his pet python.

He also tipped us off that a new film called The Cove was having its commercial release that night in Toronto and that Ric O’Barry, the film’s hero, would be there to talk about it. Thanks to Rob, we got the scoop on another Green Hero, before his Academy award win, that day.

Stephanie wrote to me upon hearing of Rob’s disappearance. “ I was lucky enough to accompany you to interview one of Canada’s most influential environmentalists and documentarians. His vibrant spirit and zest for open water and the wildlife below are so inspiring. I was shocked and saddened to hear that news that he has gone missing. I am sending positive vibes in the hope he will be rescued safely.”

I join Stephanie and literally millions of others around the world hoping and praying that Rob will be found. Just think of Rob free-diving in the last scene of Sharkwater and you’ll agree with this encouraging message from the Sharkwater website:

“We believe Robbie Stewart is out there waiting for us to find him. We are reaching 72 hours, which is an absolutely feasible timeframe in which to find Robbie. And as we all know, he is strong and resilient and at home in the water.”

Rob with his pet python

Today, as Green Heroes.tv celebrates our 6th anniversary, we honour musician and water protector, Gord Downie on tour with his band The Tragically Hip. Media articles and reports cover his musical legacy, but haven’t mentioned his activism and love of the lake. This led to stopping an environmental heavy hitter from burning tires as an alternate fuel source on the shores of Lake Ontario, just down the road from the band’s recording studio in Bath Ontario. Gord joined forces with the local community and the environmental organization, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and became co-applicant on a case that led to changing how permits for potentially unsafe environmental practices are approved in Ontario.

“I feel more a citizen of Lake Ontario than I do of anywhere else.” Gord told us.

His love of the lake came early, growing up in Kingston Ontario, a waterfront city located at the eastern end of the lake near the start of the St. Lawrence River. But “with time and distance” Gord found he had “lost his connection with the lake” until he heard a speech by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. whose work on the Hudson River spawned the global Waterkeeper Alliance.

Gord said it was an empowering moment when he heard that “the lake belongs to us. It’s in the public trust. In an era when everything is owned and staked out, that really moved me.”

Watch our profile of Gord as he tells what it took to achieve victory against a large multinational and, for a more in-depth look, watch our TV episode, In My Backyard, produced in association with TVO.

The CBC carries the Hip’s hometown show in Kingston, Ont., live on its television, radio and online platforms on Aug. 20 starting at 8:30 p.m. ET. While it will be a moving event, we’ll remember Gord best for literally putting his name on the line to achieve environmental justice for the lake he loves so much.

Dr. Vandana Shiva says the disappearance of oak forests near her hometown in India was her wake up call! Back in 1991, she founded Navdanya to protect and promote biodiversity. They work at multiple levels to promote and protect small farmers whose sustainable practices can be applied on a global scale. As of now there are over 500,000 farmers who are part of the Navdanya family.

Dr.Shiva has dedicated over 40 years of her life to raising awareness for movements such as sustainable farming, anti-globalization and social justice. She advises governments worldwide and is currently working with the government of Bhutan to make the country 100% organic. Due to her tireless work, in 2010 Forbes listed her as one of the 7 Most Important Women in the World.

For being one of the greatest activists of our time, Planet in Focus will be honouring her with the Eco-Hero award during the 16th Annual Film Festival. She will be accepting the award in person as well as debuting a film from her new Living Farms series that focus on sustainable farming.

The series of films is produced by Navdanya with the support of Fred Foundation and they showcase testimonies of farmers, seed savers, agronomist and scientists from across India, as well as from indigenous farming cultures abroad.

So why not join us for “An Evening with Dr. Vandana Shiva” on Wednesday, October 21st at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto and meet the driving force behind biodiversity and sustainability. Tickets can be purchased here.

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By Joan Prowse, Green Heroes co-founder

Five years ago today, in the midst of creating our first season of TV documentaries for TVO and building our Green Heroes web channel, my co-producer, John Bessai, received this text from our web developer:

Green Heroes.tv is now live!

It was an incredible feeling – after two years of development and pre-production, Green Heroes was no longer merely an idea, it was a reality. Since then we’ve gone on to tell stories and promote campaigns of 45 remarkable individuals who faced real challenges on the road to environmental success.

One of our goals was to include our audience in the conversation, at a time when social media was and crowd-sourcing was in its infancy. For example, in our first season we ran a “nominate a Green Hero” contest asking fans to upload videos and stories about someone who had made a difference in their community. The winner  was Mary Gorman, a journalist and fisherman’s wife who successfully stopped oil and gas development on the shores of her Nova Scotia home. She embodies the energy, drive and commitment to change that can inspire us all.

Watch her story here and look for her as our featured hero and campaign later this month.

In the meantime, why not take a moment and share our logo on your social media sites and let others know what Green Heroes has meant to you?

Or just wish us a Happy Birthday as we celebrate five years of saving the planet, one story at a time.

 

Mary Gorman poses for us in her 100% recycled GreenHeroes t-shirt

Mary Gorman poses for us in her 100% recycled GreenHeroes t-shirt

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…

On August 22-24, our featured Green Hero Shaun Majumder is celebrating his hometown of Burlington, Newfoundland with the third annual The Gathering event. And you, our Green Hero fans, have the chance win two tickets to the weekend festival!

What’s a Gathering? It’s an east coat tradition where you can listen to music from some of Canada’s greatest musicians, sample food from amazing local chefs, sleep at the on-site camping grounds and of course meet and spend the weekend with our comedian and Green Hero Shaun Majumder!

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Interested? Okay, here’s what you do to win!

1.  Join the Green Heroes Academy Facebook page (If you’re already a member, you’re one step closer!)

2.  On the Green Heroes Academy Facebook page tell us in three sentences (or less) why you want to win the prize! Yup, it’s that easy!

3. Wait while the Green Hero team chooses the lucky winner!

Remember even if you’re not chosen as the winner for the contest you still have the opportunity to go to the event! All you have to do is head over to The Gathering website and purchase tickets that best suit the experience you’d like to have!

Good Luck to Everyone! Stay Green!

– The Green Hero Team

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

When: August 22, 2014 9:00 AM — August 24, 2014 7:00 PM

Gathering_PeterAndrew (13 of 79)Weekend Festival Pass:

Prize Includes:

Gathering Grounds access

Daily Music

Main Stage evening show

Chef Stations (Two Visits per Person)

Does NOT Include:

Travel Arrangements

      Camping Gear

Friday Comedy Show

    Does NOT include Chef Hikes

* Special Thanks to The Gathering for their prize donation


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Featured Green Hero Shaun Majumder quickly learned the importance of creating local, viable businesses that utilize the environment in a positive way. The well-known actor and comedian helped get his Burlington, Newfoundland community back to their grassroots by building a greenhouse that three local communities could buy into and grow their own vegetables. Through his own experiences Shaun has recognized “…why its important to have sustainability in rural communities.”

With his show, Majumder Manor, Shaun is looking to further build the sustainability of his native community by attracting tourism to his hometown with an Eco-Lux hotel. You can watch Shaun’s adventures unfold on the second season of Majumder Manor that started back in full swing Monday nights on the W Network.

If you want to get even more involved with Shaun’s causes check out The Gathering event happening this August in Burlington, Newfoundland. This three day event taking place from the 22nd to the 24th has live music from famed artists such as Sam Roberts and Dave Nugent, amazing food from award winning chefs, and a comedy show that will be hosted by yours truly, Shaun Majumder. To get tickets and more information for the event head to www.thegatheringburlington.com.

 Shaun_Majumder_campaign

Last month’s contest featured a BionX bicycle upgrade – awarding the winner, Justin Arjune, with a free e-bike installation. Justin’s post to the Academy with his favourite way to travel using a Bixi bike for downtown trips netted the most likes and comments onto the Green Heroes Academy Facebook page.

Here’s what Justin had to say upon winning the contest: This is incredible! The first time I ever tested an e-bike I knew I was riding the future, I can’t believe I can have one of these systems on my bike! Thanks Green Heroes!

BionX Contest Winner

BionX Contest Winner

Thank you to BionX for offering this amazing prize!

Spectacular sunsets, walks along the beach and muddy hikes through the woods; these are moments in our lives that open our eyes to the wonderful feelings when being surrounded by nature.

This month, the Green Heroes Campaign focuses on Artist Robert Bateman, one of the world’s most celebrated wildlife artists and naturalist painters. Bateman’s work reflects his commitment and dedication to the preservation of the natural world. Since the early 1960s, he has been an active member of naturalist and conservation organizations. He has used his prints in fund-raising efforts to provide millions of dollars for worthy environmental causes. In 2007, he donated 11 million dollars of artwork towards the Robert Bateman Centre, creating a catalyst for environmental research and study.

Bateman’s efforts towards preserving our world’s ecology, biodiversity, vanishing habitats and endangered species, sends a strong message to his following: We need to challenge the public and society’s leaders to create a new dialogue about our relationship with nature. Bateman tells Green Heroes “We are losing that meaningful connections with nature. Today is all virtual, with people spending their time with video games and technology, we are rolling over an entire generation. I’m concerned about the future and I think it’s a pivotal time to make a change.”

The question remains: “What can I do to live a healthier, more nature-filled lifestyle?”

Take a hike! Your health will benefit as you reduce stress and increase body endurance and strength. While doing so, you can enter Conservation Ontario’s Healthy Hikes Contest, where tracking your hiking hours in conservation areas gets you points to win great prizes. Go take a hike and see the benefits for yourself!

Enter our very own Green Heroes’ recently EXTENDED Fall Contest on until October 31, where taking a photo of your daily commute and uploading it to the Green Heroes Academy can win you an electric bike kit from BionX International. Watch this video to find your how to enter!

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