*

Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
menu +

Blog


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!

Melissa Shin is the former Managing Editor of Corporate Knights Magazine, the magazine for clean capitalism. Aiming to humanize the marketplace, Corporate Knights covers topics from corporate social responsibility to health and food, to leaders and innovators in the corporate sector.

The magazine makes it easier to synch market decisions with environmental concerns, a topic which Cisco exec Willa Black is familiar with too. Check out her webisode, and visit her campaign pageto learn how to spark your ideas into action!


By Melissa Shin

Former Managing Editor, Corporate Knights Magazine

If the environment were a bank, we would have saved it already.

This amusing yet sobering socialist protest mantra illustrates the misguided view our markets take of the invisible economy—the environmental goods and services like clean air and water that quietly sustain us every day, for “free.”

Not sure what I mean? Watch this:

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

Right now, it takes too long for ecosystem losses to filter down into economic losses. Only when we lose something of “value”—maybe a waterway has been over-fished and the local community can’t make a living, or a crop of oranges freezes because of wild weather in Florida—do policymakers pay attention.

Based on his research from The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Report, United Nations Advisor Pavan Sukdhev says we need to think about what happens if we don’t have things like clean air, fresh water, or bee-based pollination, and how much we will need to spend on alternatives.

For example, the value of nutrients and fresh water flowing into farmers’ fields can be established by calculating the cost of alternatives such as nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium-based fertilizers and irrigation systems. If we know that, we know how much polluters should be paying.

Slowly, the world is starting to wake up to the reality that if we don’t protect our ecosystem services, we’ll lose them forever and have a huge bill on our hands. As a result, companies are starting to take environmental and social information into account, linking their executive pay toenvironmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.

But is it happening fast enough? We need to factor the value of nature into buying decisions and add a line for Natural Capital into corporations’ annual reports and countries’ GDP.

The conclusion of the TEEB report is simple and chilling: do nothing to protect our natural capital, and we’ll lose trillions.


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!

Sandra Steingraber is the author of Living Downstream, newly published in second edition by Da Capo Press to coincide with the release of the documentary film adaptation.
This essay is one in a weekly series by Sandra – published at www.livingdownstream.com – exploring how the environment is within us. For more on the interactions between health and environment, and to take action, visit Clayton Thomas-Muller’s page, Home Lands vs. Tar Sands.


By Sandra Steingraber

When I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 1979, at the age 20, I drafted a list of goals. The first thing I would do, once I was sprung from the hospital, would be to pay a visit to Claire’s Boutique in the mall. There I would get my ears pierced. Next, I would hit the university library. There I would answer the question, Why me?

Neither task was difficult to accomplish, but one had a more predictable outcome than the other.

The ear-piercing achieved exactly what I thought it would: it upset my mother. Her reaction—arising from the particular religious practices of her German-American family—allowed me to be angry with her. And anger allowed me to rebuff her attempts to bond with me over what she saw as a shared medical experience.

I couldn’t have walked away from her otherwise. Mom was in treatment for breast cancer. There she was in her wig, her platelet count decimated by chemotherapy, distraught about my earlobes. I had predicted this. I knew that she would see the earrings as an unnecessary mutilation. As if we don’t have enough problems already, Sandy, that we can’t control.

Those words provided the pretext I needed to storm out of the house and head back to college, forty-five miles and a world away. I had lost the script to my life. I knew how to play the role of the supportive, unrebellious daughter alongside my mother’s brave performance as a cancer patient who could calmly accept bad news and carry on. But I didn’t know how to be a co-cancer patient.

In the library, I turned my attention to the medical literature on bladder cancer. What did we know about causation? Questions posed by my diagnosing physician—had I ever worked with vulcanized rubber?—led me to believe that environmental exposures must be part of the collective story.

They were. There was a trove of data going back to the nineteenth century. Dyes, rubber manufacturing, chlorinated water, air pollutants, dry-cleaning solvents: all were linked to bladder cancer. If not mine, then somebody’s.

But, outside of the isolated world of epidemiology and toxicology, there was very little recognition of this evidence. The word carcinogen never appeared in any of the pamphlets on cancer in my doctors’ waiting rooms. The medical intake forms I was forever filling out asked detailed questions about the history of cancer in my family but none about, say, chemical contaminants in my hometown drinking water.

I’m adopted. The wells periodically contain trace amounts of dry-cleaning solvent.

As we approach the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day—and the forty-eighth anniversary of Silent Spring’s publication—we are still far from a mature acknowledgement of cancer’s environmental agents. But there are signs of an awakening awareness. Provinces and municipalities across Canada have banned the cosmetic use of pesticides on the grounds that they are linked to childhood cancers.

The European Union has banned carcinogens from cosmetics. Here in the United States, calls grow louder for reform of the flaccid Toxic Substances Control Act, which has proved itself unable to eliminate suspected carcinogens from the marketplace. And I can now find the words carcinogen and environment in the waiting-room literature.

But, for me, the most telling sign of the times is this: my hometown hospital invited me to give a lecture on environmental carcinogens before an audience of physicians concerned about the proposed expansion of a hazardous-waste landfill. Mom came with me. I was the one wearing earrings.

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.

Besides being the inspiration for Fly Away Home, you can add another credit to Bill Lishman’s list of accomplishments.

Wait until you see what his innovative mind created in his own home, unlike any home we’ve ever seen before. We got to take a sneak peek into the unique house Bill has built underground, the result of years of comprehensive research and design.

The house is inherently eco-friendly. What makes it special is that it is submerged in a hill, which means the earth acts as natural insulation. The house requires less heating and cooling, which means major savings for the planet. These types of homes are safe from storms, and save homeowners the hassles of painting, shingling, and cleaning out the eaves troughs. They can even be covered with gardens (as Bill’s is)!

The story goes that Bill’s inspiration came from a simple idea. He built an igloo one winter, and was amazed at how warm he could be inside, just from his own body heat. So he followed the steps of a great innovator, and began reading up on building homes underground.

He settled on rounded shape, which he discovered would be able to bear the weight of the earth above it. With lots of time and effort, Bill got the job done, using vertical steel trusses and concrete, waterproof tar powder and a layer of topsoil.

The challenges were seemingly never-ending, but Bill tackled them all. From awkward-shaped doors to ill-fitting furniture, Bill used his ingenuity to overcome each hurdle. Now, he’s got a beautiful, energy-efficient home that he boasts, and he’s even offering to help you build your own!

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!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Jason Mogus is the CEO of Communicopia, a communications firm dedicated to online strategy and design, supporting organizations working for sustainability and social change. He led the global TckTckTck climate change campaign last year, a transformational digital media campaign that has now grown from when he worked on it; the project continues to remind us that the clock is ticking on climate change.

It’s time to speak up and stand with leaders like Wangari Maathai, who is Talking Climate Change. Here, Jason shares the process behind developing this incredible campaign, sparking an important discussion and highlighting a great example of how a digital campaign can rapidly be transformed into real life collaborations.


By Jason Mogus

CEO of Communicopia

In 2008, leaders of global environmental and development NGO’s came together to grow public awareness around the impacts of climate change and the level of collaboration required to address them in the hopes of substantially influencing the upcoming UN climate change summit in Copenhagen.

The newly created “TckTckTck” campaign contacted Communicopia to develop a digital campaign strategy and build TckTckTck.org. Structured as an “open-source campaign”, they needed help to use digital to support each partners’ campaign, grow a larger movement, and achieve the difficult political ends.

Despite ambitious goals, an intense timeline, complex dynamics between partners, and a highly emergent campaign plan, we sensed a chance to influence history and decided to give it everything we had.

While building TckTckTck’s complex website, video, mobile and social apps and other tools, we wasted no time in aggressively growing the campaign’s social networks and influence in the blogosphere.

The result was a powerful network of supporters who shared our content, plus a private community of leading bloggers, green editors, and digital campaigners that become invaluable going into Copenhagen.


Photo credit: TckTckTck(Flickr)

Although Copenhagen did not produce the hoped for results, TckTckTck as a force to unite movements was a major success. Our digital campaign helped re-frame climate as a human issue that needed attention now. We aggregated a constituency of over 17 million ‘global citizens for climate action’.

We influenced and connected media communicators to fight the spin from entrenched interests. And we convened moments of unprecedented behind- the-scenes and public collaboration among many of the biggest social change brands on the planet.


Photo credit: TckTckTck(Flickr)

We also showed that open campaigns are the future. No other structure would have facilitated such rapid growth, global collaboration, media influence, and people-powered network-effects, while building relationships and growing a movement that is still ready to fight for a better future for everyone.

– Jason Mogus, CEO of Communicopia


In 2010 TckTckTck’s digital campaign won a “Game-Changer” Award from the We Media Foundation, was short-listed for a Webby Award for world’s best advocacy campaign, and listed by The Guardian as one of the Top 50 climate tweeters in the world. Check out what else Communicopia is working on! And don’t forget to get involved in our own GreenHeroes digital campaign!

Join the movement, and tell your leaders that you’re ready for a climate deal. Speak up. Are you ready?

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, it’s time to speak up:
Share your story of how you’re starting a discussion on climate change and the environment and how you’re making your voice heard 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!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook



We learned about a great project that lets kids plant trees and fight global warming with the simple click of a mouse. Peter O’Brien is the President of Arbopals, a virtual tree-lover’s world for children aged 5-10. Like GreenHeroes.tv, Arbopals harnesses the power of the internet to connect people to the environment and help better its future.

For Peter and his team, solutions for global warming involve simple actions, like planting trees and cutting back in our daily lives. Need other ideas on working towards climate change solutions?

Join the discussion on our Talking Climate Change campaign page! Here, Peter describes how our own GreenHero Wangari Maathai has provided his Arbopals project with a major boost of inspiration to create a lasting legacy for our children.


By Peter O’Brien

"When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope," says Wangari Maathai, and her work has certainly helped inspire the seeds of peace and of hope in many countries around the world.

What I find particularly remarkable about her story is that she has overcome incredible personal, professional and political challenges – fundamental challenges that many of us never have to deal with – and remained steadfastly committed to her vision of a greener, healthier world.

Seeing the needs of the women in her native Kenya for such simple things as clean water, building material and healthy food, Maathai started with a simple idea: plant trees.

The Green Belt Movement, founded in 1977, has been responsible for the planting of over 40 million trees. Motivated by this, the United Nations established the Billion Tree Campaign, which has led to the planting of 10 billion trees world-wide! That is a powerful legacy, and a legacy that will have a positive influence for many decades to come.

As the President of Arbopals, the first virtual world for children based on international tree-planting, I find Maathai a constant source of energy and inspiration. Kids understand the importance of trees, and what I’ve tried to do is connect their natural areas of interest – computers and the environment – to help plant trees in 21 countries around the world.

I hope that more people come to know Wangari Maathai’s amazing work and are empowered by her story to do their own part in keeping the world a green and healthy place.

Become a member here! And don’t forget, when you subscribe to Arbopals, real trees get planted around the world.

– Peter O’Brien, President of Arbopals


Remember – in the battle to save the planet, it’s time to speak up:
Share your story of how you’re starting a discussion on climate change and the environment and how you’re making your voice heard 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!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes
Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns
Sign up for our newsletter
Follow us on Twitter
Become our fan on Facebook

By Joan Prowse, Producer/Director


Tzeporah Berman

I was impressed to see that NBC premiered in prime time on Friday, November 19, a film called Harmony. The film shines a spotlight on innovative efforts to protect the planet. Prince Charles is the host and the film visits places like B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest to show eco-solutions.

Harmony commends the work of ForestEthics for creating an unprecedented collaboration between environmentalists, industry, native groups and government.

ForestEthics co-founder, Tzeporah Berman, is one of the GreenHeroes profiled in tonight’s episode, Tree of Life.

Another featured GreenHero in tonight’s episode is Wangari Maathai. I was fortunate to meet her when she was speaking with students at Concordia University in Montreal last fall.

I was moved to tell her story when I saw the film Taking Root at HotDocs in the spring of 2008.

The documentary won the audience award at this international documentary festival. What engaged me was the film’s opening scene.


Wangari with Joan Prowse (left) & Field Producer Lina Cino (right)

Laura Reinsborough

Wangari recounts the story of a fig tree that, once removed, brought drought to her village. It was surprising to learn that as trees were removed, the repercussions this action had on people’s supply to food and clean drinking water were intensified.

Also inspiring to me was the courage shown by Wangari and Tzeporah to make change (both received criminal charges and Wangari went to jail).

I was encouraged by Wangari’s comment that you can have mentors and friends who support you in your struggle, but you cannot overlook the importance of “the strength you have within yourself” to sustain you through times of trial and tribulation.

Not to be overlooked is the third GreenHero in tonight’s episode, Laura Reinsborough. Like Tzeporah and Wangari, her simple yet innovative idea to harvest local fruit launched her organization, Not Far From The Tree.

Want to be a part of the action? Learn more about Wangari Maathai and start Talking Climate Change by visiting our campaign page!

Tree of Life premieres on TVO tonight at 7 p.m. and repeats on Saturday, November 27 at 4 p.m.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, it’s time to speak up:
Share your story of how you’re starting a discussion on climate change and the environment and how you’re making your voice heard 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!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Tune in Tuesday November 2 at 7 p.m. (EST) for the launch of GreenHeroes on TVO.

On the eve of the launch of our companion TV show, it’s been a delight to meet some of the best out-of-the box, risk-takers on our planet. It is a combo of wit and wiry determination that propels our GreenHeroes to act on their dreams, survive the rocky road of opposition and to wind up at their ultimate destination – success.

Take Jane Goodall for example. As a young girl she was inspired by the 1930s Tarzan movies to travel to Africa and study chimpanzees. It didn’t matter that she didn’t have a university degree or that single woman didn’t venture to a vast and relatively unknown continent thousands of miles from their home. She went anyway.

Jane was fortunate. She met the renowned anthropologist Louis Leaky who took her under his wing.

Jane Goodall with Louis Leaky
Photo credit: The Jane Goodall Institute

He was looking for someone like Jane, someone who didn’t have academic credentials – just a genuine interest in learning and observing chimpanzees.

His mentorship led Jane to record amazing breakthroughs in chimp behaviour that changed how we view our relationship to animals. Before Jane, it was thought that humans were separate from the animal kingdom. Jane pointed out the similarities and changed forever our thinking about humanity’s place in nature.

These original thinkers and do-ers – are exactly the kind of heroes I like to watch and follow. This week, watch Jane and three other heroes working to preserve our animal kingdom.

All four are paradigm shifters: Rob Stewart, who in one film changed my view of sharks, The Cove’s Ric O’Barry who lifted the curtain on water-theme parks, and Bill Lishman – who showed me how dreams take flight with his “crazy” idea of teaching birds with his ultralight airplane to Fly Away Home.

Tune in tomorrow and in the weeks to come for other GreenHeroes venturing forth to Save the Planet One Story at a Time.

– Joan Prowse, Producer/Director of GreenHeroes TV

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, youth can sprout change: Share stories of young people you know creating positive 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!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

On September 26, 2010, Toronto’s Clean Train Coalition hosted an event in Sorauren Park – the Go Electric Music Festival.

Our GreenHeroes Street Team was lucky enough to catch a number of great local musical acts, including Lesley Pike. Lesley performed her song Silver Lining, which can also be heard in our Andrew Ference webisode.

The Clean Train Coalition is an organization working to prevent an influx of diesel trains running from Union Station to Pearson Airport.

The Coalition’s goal is to promote the installation of electric trains, reducing air pollution in the numerous west-end neighborhoods surrounding the train line, such as Parkdale, the Junction and Weston. To learn more, please visit www.cleantrain.ca

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest

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!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

TOP