Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
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NDP leader Jack Layton was a leader in environmental change. He co-founded the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, a program that finds solutions for air quality problems in the city. It has saved $55 million in energy costs and reduced Toronto’s emissions.  Jack applied his passion for the environment to his personal life too. He and his wife Olivia Chow retrofitted their home with technology like solar electricity and window insulation.

Last week, we interviewed Olivia about their eco house for our new season. Olivia, a transportation critic, also advocates for green commuting.

We took this picture of Olivia outside of the beautiful home.

Olivia Chow in front of eco-house

We reflected on Jack Layton’s environmental impact in this blog post last year, shortly after his death.

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One of the fun things about filming GreenHeroes is that we get to see our Heroes in various types of action, at different locations. They talk to us about what they do and they show us examples of how they do it. Read more…

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Earlier this year, we told you about the Swim Guide application that informs users which beaches in Canada are safe for swimming. Read more…

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Last week, we had a great time filming Ontario Power Authority and Toronto Hydro’s participation in the Clean Air Commute for an upcoming episode for our television series on green transportation. These companies have done great work for the environment and we are proud to share their inspiring stories.

Clean Air Commute is an annual week-long event in which individuals take environmentally friendly modes of transportation to work. Many workplaces participated.

Together with local utilities, the OPA helps Ontarians better manage their energy use through its saveONenergy conservation programs – designed to help home owners and businesses across the province save energy, reduce their electricity costs, and reduce green house gases.  There are many initiatives offered, from removing old in-efficient appliances through the FRIDGE AND FREEZER PICK-UP to upgrading lighting systems through the SMALL BUSINESS LIGHTING incentive.

This year, 188 OPA staff members participated in the Clean Air Commute, contributing to 6.56 tonnes of avoided pollutants and travelling a total distance of 34, 467.79 km!

Here’s a fun picture of some OPA staff hamming it up for the camera during our shoot!

OPA employees From L-R, Mayuran Srikantha, Jon Feldman, Glenna Ford, Hezek Busheri

Toronto Hydro delivers efficient, environmentally responsible electricity to many businesses and residences in the city. One of its many green initiatives is an electric vehicle pilot program that facilitates charging options for participants.

192 Toronto Hydro staff participated in the Clean Air Commute this year!

Check out this fun picture of Toronto Hydro staff posing in one of the company’s cool green cars. Toronto Hydro has 10 hybrid vehicles and one electric car in its fleet of 153 introduced in 2011.

(top row): L to R: Tanya Bruckmueller-Wilson, Andrea Corkum, Jennifer Link (bottom row): Gillian Earle, Emma Sharpe.

As you will see when our film airs, Ontario Power Authority and Toronto Hydro demonstrate the teamwork and the community building that happens when people go green. We are very happy to have documented the Clean Air Commute with these environmentally responsible companies. Can’t wait to air this episode in 2013, so they can inspire you!

Speaking of inspiring stories, congratulations to Clean Air Partnership for winning our Clean Air Commute Twitter contest last week with this Tweet!:

CAP Tweeted us its amazing blog post about its staff member’s journey from Mississauga to Hamilton, chronicling the need for good cycling access and safety.  It’s a must-read for anyone interested in nature, cycling or good old fashioned road trip story. We will send him a GreenHeroes t-shirt made from 100% recycled fabric.

Stay tuned to our blog for more stories about our filming adventures and our inspiring subjects!

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Rob Stewart‘s goal is to “morally bind you to making better decisions for the future.”

The shark protector and GreenHero recently spoke at the Royal Ontario Museum on World Oceans Day to promote his message of conservation: each of us has the power to enact change. The key is to become aware of our impact, know how we can change things and then make informed decisions.

Rob said that most people wouldn’t consume shark or do other environmentally dangerous activities if they knew that such practices seriously threaten the fish, corral and other things underwater that we depend on.

The shark finning industry has made it difficult to avoid shark fin soup. One shark food item’s dishonest title can be translated to “fish wing soup” — people don’t even necessarily that it contains shark in it and so can’t avoid it without being aware.

Shark fin has been banned in cities and other places all around the world. The various campaigns to ban shark fin prove that, by speaking out, citizens can help the earth. Rob showed a very moving film about a class of grade six students in Saipan who, inspired by Sharkwater, wrote to their Governor to ban shark finning, a key in prompting the second shark fin ban in the world.

But Rob’s work involves much more than raising awareness about the importance of sharks. At the talk he promoted his upcoming documentary Revolution, a story about “the evolution of life on earth and the Revolution to save it.”

The message of the film, slated for a fall 2012 release at the Toronto International Film Festival, is that we must balance ocean ecosystems if we want to protect what we need for survival. Rob provide a page of sustainable fish for human consumption at the event.

Rob showed clips of Revolution at the event. The footage is stunning. Check out his photographs of the making of Revolution from the Facebook Page for the film.

Watch Rob’s talk online.

Learn more about what you can do to help our world’s ecosystems by checking out Rob’s non-profit organization United Conservationists.


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This week, we are holding a contest on Twitter to celebrate Pollution Probe’s Clean Air Commute!
The Commute takes place June 18-24, 2012 and encourages people to take cleaner modes of travel to work such as cycling, walking and public transit instead of driving.
From today (Tuesday, June 19, 2012) to Friday at noon EST (June 22), Tweet us and tell us how you and/or your workplace are getting involved. You can Tweet your story or Tweet a link to a blog post, picture or video about your green commute. Follow us on Twitter @GreenHeroesTV and make sure you include the hashtag #airGH We will pick the best story and the winner will get an eco-friendly GreenHeroes t-shirt made of 100% recycled fabric.! (There will be one winner, one t-shirt).
You must be in Canada to apply. We will announce the winner in the afternoon on June 26 on Twitter and in our blog.
For ideas about how you can help the earth when you commute to work, check out GreenHeroes Andrew Clifford, a champion of electric cars, and Boston Bruin Defenceman and clean air/cycling advocate Andrew Ference.
Tomorrow, GreenHeroes will be visiting Toronto Hydro and Ontario Power Authority to document their participation in the Clean Air Commute for an episode of the next season of our television show. In our blog post on Clean Air Commute next week, we will share a sneak peak of the shoots.
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Rob Stewart Event

Rob Stewart Photo Credit Devin Lund

To celebrate World Oceans Day, GreenHero Rob Stewart, the shark activist and filmmaker behind the documentary Sharkwater, will talk about his journey to becoming a global champion for sharks at the Royal Ontario Museum Friday, June 7. There will also be a sneak peak of his new film Revolution, slated for a fall 2012 release. Book your tickets now! Public: $22 Members: $17.

United Conservationists, an organization committed to protecting sharks, is holding a Twitter contest for free tickets.

TVO water documentary stars The Water Brothers will be at the event to introduce Rob. They will have their own event earlier in the day.

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Film Festival Talk

Last week, GreenHeroes producer Joan Prowse and other media professionals gave a talk on how to monetize digital media at the Yorkton Film Festival in Saskatchewan.

Joan drew from her years of experience creating social issue documentaries for CineFocus Canada, the production company behind GreenHeroes. She described how filmmakers can get money to finance their projects and make money from their work by connecting to an audience.

Also on the panel with Joan were: Matt Hornburg of marblemedia, which produces a medieval-themed game show television series for tweens called “Splatalot,” airing on YTV in Canada; Amy Matysio, creator of an online web series called “InSAYSHAble”; and Erica Hargreave of Ahimsa Media, the company behind the interactive series “Roamancing,” about a group of people traveling and looking for love.

Joan Prowse is very proud to be a part of the acclaimed Yorkton Film Festival. It is celebrating its 65th year and is the oldest film festival in North America.

The GreenHeroes television series airs on SCN, Saskachewan’s public television network. It also airs on TVO, Ontario’s public television network.

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Bike Month

May is Bike Month and it’s a great opportunity to get involved with your cycling community. The City of Toronto and the Toronto Cyclists Union present Bike Month this year to promote cycling.

Defenceman for the Boston Bruins Andrew Ference, one of our GreenHeroes, has set a great example by cycling to work and advocating for this and other green action. We created the Pedal Power campaign to show you how you can get into cycling and help others get into it too.

Also, check out this blog post from our archives to learn about the benefits of cycling to your health and the environment and tips to cycle safely and comfortably.

Here’s an inspiring GreenHeroes guest post by the founder of Bike Train about his journey to give cyclists a place to store their bikes on trains.

How are you taking part in bike month? Cycling to work for a week? Buying a new bicycle? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave us a comment below this post or Tweet us at @GreenHeroesTV. You can use the #BikeMonth hashtag too, to further share your message.

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GreenHeroes is back filming its next season! This time there is a new generation of heroes, all unafraid to roll up their sleeves and step on some toes to get the job of saving the planet done!

Farley Mowat with GreenHeroes producer Joan Prowse

Already, we’ve shot eco-fashionista Kelly Drennan,EcoCab founder Will Kozma and Cape Farewell creator, David Buckland, who is responding to climate change with art.

Watch eco-activists Paul Watson, Farley Mowat and Alexandra Cousteau as they share their inspiring stories of fighting for our oceans and marine life with words and with might.

Sample some local cuisine in the Niagara region with local food pioneering chef Jamie Kennedy and meet Mary Gorman, the winner of our GreenHeroes contest in her hometown of Merigomish, Nova Scotia where she is trying to stop off-shore oil exploration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

These are just a few of the over 20 new Heroes to meet online and on-air on TVO.