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by Joan Prowse, Producer of GreenHeroes

It was my first thought as I heard the news of Jack’s passing – Jack Layton is a hero. Not only a strong voice for the marginalized, he was also a best friend to Mother Earth.

As a city councilor he co-founded the Toronto Atmospherics Fund in 1991. Internationally recognized for its innovative and effective programs, over the past 20 years TAF has helped the City save $55 million on energy costs and helped citizens to live greener lives in healthier communities.

On a smaller scale, Jack showed us a simple way to reduce our carbon footprint. A cycling city councilor, he didn’t stop this preferred mode of transport once in office as federal NDP leader. Jack and his wife, M.P. Olivia Chow, lead by example. Check out this video of Jack giving a tour of the eco-features of their home.


Even as a busy leader of a federal party, I found Jack still took time to listen to community concerns about the environment.  As members of Community Air, John Bessai and I met with Jack in February 2003. Even though an icy wind blew on Parliament Hill that day, he stood outside and heard about our challenge to stop a bridge that facilitated expansion of an airport on Toronto’s Waterfront. Later that year, bridge construction was halted by a newly elected city council, led by mayor David Miller.

In reading the text to Stephen Lewis’ eulogy, I am glad that the rest of the country recognized Jack Layton’s contribution to our country.

For the planet, it is our sincere hope that we all “resolve to honour Jack by bringing the politics of respect for all, respect for the Earth and respect for principle and generosity back to life.”

A moment in time – Jack Layton and Olivia Chow celebrate their dual federal election victory, October 14, 2008. Photo credit: John Bessai

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