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Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
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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!

Not Far From The Tree

When a homeowner in Toronto, Canada can’t keep up with the harvest produced by their trees, some of them let “Not Far From The Tree” know and volunteers come by to pick the fruit.

The harvest is split three ways: 1/3 is offered to the tree owner, 1/3 is shared among the volunteers, and 1/3 is delivered by bicycle to be donated to food banks, shelters, and community kitchens.

This is a good example of a project that helps “sensitize stakeholders” thereby scaling the 6th face of Ray Anderson‘s Mount Sustainability.

Photo credit: NFFTT

Photo credit: NFFTT

Awareness in the community gets raised by this project while making good use of healthy food, addressing climate change with hands-on community action, and building community by sharing the urban abundance.
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In 2010 Not Far from the tree picked nearly 20,000 lbs of fruit from 226 trees, participated in 40+ fairs, festivals, and community events across the city and ran 12 preserving workshops.Click the image to watch the video in H.264
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On a mobile phone?

Click the image to watch the video in H.264

video

Spreading the harvest and sensitizing the community about sharing good, locally produced food. Sensitizing stakeholders, in this case, owners of urban fruit trees and agencies in need of healthy food.

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!

CAR SHARING

Ever dreamed of owning a fleet of cars for yourself or for your business? With car sharing companies like AutoShare and Zipcar now in existence all over North America, you can now take part in the operation of a fleet of often new and very high tech vehicles not as an owner but as a member of a pretty cool club.

You can do this and also be climbing Ray Anderson’s 5th face of Mount Sustainability which is Resource-Efficient Transportation.

If more businesses and everyday folks took advantage of the offerings of car sharing companies like these, there would inevitably be less cars on the road and less CO2 in the air.

AutoShare in Canada reports that every member of a car sharing organization saves on average about 1.2 tonnes of CO2 per year as a result of changes in their lifestyle because they are a member of their fleet.  They also say their customers often wind up choosing alternative methods of transportation such as biking or public transit because they don’t always need a car.

Here are some videos that explain how car sharing actually works.  It only takes a few minutes to learn how easy it really is. Check them out and consider tackling the 5th face of Ray Anderson’s Mount Sustainability by becoming part of the car sharing revolution!

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/10564522[/vimeo]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uux8uSRDFK0[/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!

8 q

How does a “naked” pizza help Close the Loop?

An example of “Closing the Loop”, Ray’s 4th face on Mount Sustainability are the efforts by Naked Pizza chain, started in a 500sq foot “shack” in New Orleans.

The founders designed what they call the healthiest pizza with all natural ingredients without a premium cost. Their pizza shows that local food is good for you without “getting eco” and satisfies people who may only care about how good the pizza tastes.

© Naked Pizza

Their website explains further:

“Naked means natural. Our pizza is simply an honest diversity of all-natural, whole food ingredients that taste better and are better for you…our tomato sauce is all-natural—nicely spiced and herbed, with no added sugar or citric acid.

Our cheese is 100% natural, rGBH-free, our vegetables are all-natural, no additives. Our meats are pork, chicken and beef—free of growth hormones and antibiotics…we intend to launch the world’s largest grassroots health movement.

We’re simply pointing out that all that money spent on pizza and invested in building stores, hiring people, sourcing ingredients, etc., along with the millions of farmers and suppliers and regulators — can be mobilized in a better way….”

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/9758307[/vimeo]

Using pizza as the inspiration for an innovative design of a sustainable product helps “close the loop” that Ray Anderson is talking about.

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!

The second face of Ray Anderson’s Mount Sustainability is “Benign Emissions”.

There are all sorts of attempts being made in industry to harness wind and solar energy to save money and reduce harmful emissions.

For Ray Anderson, this challenge was met head on at InterfaceFLOR. Where can this lead?

It is intriguing to think of how processes that would seem obsolete in today’s world, such as wind power for shipping, could be re-thought so that this second face of Mount Sustainability can be scaled.

KITE POWER

Photo credit: Tidewater Muse (Flickr)

Can you think of other ideas for how to make emissions benign where you work? Is it possible to incorporate wind or solar energy into the day to day operations of your workplace? How about harnessing a kite someday to your shipment of goods overseas!

Watch this video which shows how a large kite attached to an ocean going vessel improves performance while producing fewer emissions.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyLjISR6XQQ[/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!

Ray Anderson has 7 stages to climb what he calls Mount Sustainability.

he first one of these is thinking about eliminating waste at work. This can be done more easily than you think.  In Canada there is an annual campaign called Waste Reduction Week which has some pretty funny and very short videos featuring Oscar the Grouch to help inspire us.

Who better to lead us in the battle against garbage?  Waste Reduction Week isn’t until October of this year (Oct. 17-23, 2011), but the 2 PSAs for this annual campaign are amusing if you are a fan of Oscar.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjienlArV18[/youtube]

Think of Oscar the next time you need to throw out something at work rather than using a re-usable container.  Taking reusable containers to work just for your sandwiches would be a huge step for anyone who currently wraps their lunch with disposable plastic.

Start the climb on Mount Sustainability. Try to bring less garbage to your workplace.  It might make Oscar mad, but he is always in a bad mood!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmgAlc2uLPc[/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!

Nadine Guimond works with ING DIRECT, an online investment and banking company. Her experiences with the company demonstrate a growing trend towards corporate social responsibility in the workplace.

Sharing Willa Black’s enthusiasm for positive green activities at Cisco, Nadine shares her hopes with us for more projects that help us connect to our environments, like ING’s playscape.


By Nadine Guimond

Nadine GuimondEarly in 2009, my employer, ING DIRECT put forward a staff challenge to come up with an idea to get as many employees as possible involved in a community improvement project. I put forward the winning idea of building the city of Toronto’s first natural playground.

On September 17th 2009, close to 500 ING DIRECT employees transformed McCleary Park into an innovative playscape featuring a hill slide, climbing boulders, sand area, musical instruments, mature trees as well as an inverted tree.

ING DIRECT has since created a natural playground in Ottawa and added natural elements to play areas of a Toronto community housing residence in October 2010. The company that helped make all of this possible isBienenstock Natural Playgrounds.

I’m passionate about the necessity of reconnecting children with nature. Preferences for electronic entertainment along with highly scheduled extracurricular activities often leaves little time for nutritious meals and unstructured play, resulting in a rise of childhood obesity.

If the trend continues, for the first time in history North American children will have a shorter lifespan than the generation before them.

I grew up in Temagami, a small town in the middle of a nature preserve in Northern Ontario. My childhood was spent building forts, climbing trees, hiking through the woods and exploring the world around me.

My early years definitely instilled a passion for a healthy lifestyle and environment. There’s a Native American proverb that says, “We do not inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Let’s do what we can to make nature something all children care about and have a deep connection to!

Cisco recognizes 25 Canadians

over the past 25 years

This year, Willa was presented with another challenge – to do something meaningful to celebrateCisco’s 25th anniversary.

Her response – The 25 Transformative Canadians project. This awareness campaign celebrates 25 living Canadians who have made a difference. This time she partnered with the Globe and Mailnewspaper. Readers were invited to nominate Canadians who fit this description.

Here are four videos of nominees who in particular have worked to help save the planet.

1. Sheila Watt-Cloutier who made climate change a human rights issue:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1RloC4O8AE[/youtube]

2. Geoff Green who leads Arctic expeditions with an environmental message:

3. Kelly Hawke Baxter who through “The Natural Step Canada” helps inspire ways to lessen harmful environmental impacts:

4. David Suzuki who everyone knows is a scientist, environmentalist, broadcaster and author who has had a huge impact on how we think about the future of our planet:

Click here for the complete list of the 25 transformative Canadians.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, act on your ideas. Share your story of how you’re ideas into action by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

True GreenHeroes are spread far and wide, often unrecognized for their “green”, innovative contributions. But at GreenHeroes.tv, we’re all about shining a spotlight on these everyday heroes, folks like us who are taking simple steps to make the world a better place.

Perhaps inspired by our own familiar GreenHeroes, from singer/songwriters Sarah Harmer and Gord Downie, to racecar driver Leilani Münter, some budding GreenHeroes are beginning to surface through our GreenHeroes.tv contest!

Check out some of these incredible GreenHero nominees, and see who else is nominated!

Tom Rand

Chris Chopik

Want to enter the contest yourself? Want to nominate someone else? Here’s what you need to know:

Who are GreenHeroes?

GreenHeroes are remarkable people who acted on their idea and heroically “ventured forth” to protect our planet. Through their stories, our goal is to inspire people, like you, to become GreenHeroes too.

On the web and on our TV show, GreenHeroes tells the story of change – of how people improved their lives, what their tipping point moments were and how they overcome obstacles to become a GreenHero.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Nominate – Tell us a great story of how your or your nominee are acting in new and exciting ways to make our world a greener place.

2. Upload your video or photo – Videos and images will be available on GreenHeroes.tv so that others can view, rate, and comment on your entry. The highest ranked will be featured on GreenHeroes.tv, then move on to the next level of competition and be featured on television! (Learn more about the prizes!)

3. ACT! Get involved in your world, then share your experience in action, by visiting our campaign pages. Perhaps you’ll be inspired and find a GreenHero in the actions you take! Or, you might even consider contributing to our Take Action blog.

4. Share – We believe that the way to make a change is to make videos and help spread the word to others. We encourage to comment, rate, and share our inspiring content through your social networks!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, act on your ideas. Share your story of how you’re ideas into action by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

n the making of her webisode, we got an insightful opportunity to sit down with Willa Black and environmentalist David Suzuki, to learn more about how One Million Acts of Green came to be.

Their thoughtful words on an incredibly successful project demonstrate even their surprise at the power of the human network and the amazing effects that come in numbers. Check out ourcampaign page to learn how to act on your ideas!

You can find Part 1 of the interview here.

Photo Credit : Devin Lund

David Suzuki: People are realizing that this is something we can’t ignore. The problem is if we keep lumbering environmentalists as those treehuggers, it ain’t going to work. First of all, we have to embrace the corporate sector, which means getting in bed with some nasty people.

We are not going to make it just as individuals; if we don’t have the corporate sector working with us than we can forget it.

We also have to broaden it. If we don’t deal with chronic levels of high unemployment, if we don’t deal with people who have no opportunity of justice or security, if we don’t deal with populations that are under genocide, or terror, or war, they can’t be concerned about the environment.

Just because you are a corporate executive or a Native living in Africa somewhere, you breathe the same air, you are dealing with the same water and we’re human beings. The challenge is this: we have never had to act as a single species. We have no mechanism to respond as a species. We have to work together as a species and that’s very tough.

Nature is very vast and very complex, and maybe if we learn to pull back as we are trying to do with a million acts of green, maybe nature will surprise us and be far more generous than we deserve. Nature will reveal that there are other options. Saying it’s too late doesn’t accomplish anything except to destroy any hope that you try.

I think what we need to do is rediscover our home as the earth, and we can’t keep thinking of the environment as something out there. We are the environment. That rediscovery of our place is our biggest challenge. It doesn’t matter if you are an executive from Cisco, Shell or Walmart; first of all, you are a human being living on this planet. You need air and you need food as an animal. Those are the most important things you need everyday and I think that’s what changes the world, when you realize that.

Willa Black: Understand the potential of what you can achieve. Even the shyest and most disengaged person, everybody can do something. It’s not about being an environmentalist, it’s about being good citizenry. It’s about being role models for your children. It’s about wanting the very best for your planet. It’s about knowing yourself and knowing you can play a part in that.

When we first started talking about a million acts of green, it would have been easy to say no. I’m so glad that we had the courage and that Cisco stood behind us, and I am really delighted that we caught the attention of great global leaders like David who I respect so much, because we all come from different backgrounds. Serendipity brought us together because we all care so much about it, and it does feel good that we were able to make a little dent.

DS: My great hero was my father. He lived a full life, died when he was 85 and when he was dying…he kept saying over and over, ‘David, I die a rich man’. He didn’t have a penny to his name. He was a poor man. All we talked about was family, friends, and neighbours and what we did together, and that’s why his wealth had nothing to do with money or stuff. It’s people. Your real wealth is people and what we do together and especially with our children. So let’s get refocused on what the priorities are in life.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, act on your ideas. Share your story of how you’re ideas into action 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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