Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
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Art is a compelling tool for green change.

GreenHeroes Annabel Slaight and Mark Mattson shared this insight with GreenHeroes producer Joan Prowse in a one-hour conversation at the Green Living Show last week.

Annabel Slaight

Ladies of the Lake, which Annabel co-founded to clean up Lake Simcoe, has been very successful largely because of $400,000 in sales from the Ladies of the Lake calendar. Annabel credits this success to the photographer whose artistic skills captured the beauty of the Ladies and the scenery, in which they posed nude. He made them feel comfortable, so they looked natural. This seed money they used to raise over $50 million in government funding to restore Lake Simcoe and its shoreline.

Mark shared similar thoughts about the importance of having artists on board an environmental cause.

“Artists have a different way of explaining the love and connection to water.”

Mark Mattson

Mark co-founded Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, an organization that works to make Lake Ontario safe and clean.

He has collaborated with musicians such as Gord Downie and Sarah Harmer (also GreenHeroes) to raise funds and awareness to protect Lake Ontario. But, Mark explained, the musicians do more than play their music at events. They study the issues. They are passionate about the issues.

The issues have affected the artists personally, in their own communities. This impact is often the catalyst for environmental change. Mark said that the best LOW clients have been the ones who were “strongly connected to water.”

Annabel also expressed the need to connect citizens to the lake and bring them into the decision making process on Lake Simcoe activism. The lake “belonged to the people.”

After Mark described the LOW Swim Guide, an app that informs users of the safety of beaches in Lake Ontario, Annabel suggested that Ladies of the Lake could build on the work that others are doing, like the guide.

We thank Annabel and Mark for sharing their understanding of what makes environmental activism successful. We anticipate that their wisdom will motivate others to champion their own causes.

We also thank the Green Living Show for facilitating this panel. It was a thrill to be a part in such a successful show!

With a record attendance of over 37, 000 people, demand for innovative products and services is definitely growing – and showing! “Very soon, I think, we’ll be dropping the Green and just call it  “The Living Show” says Joan after visiting the 450 exhibitors, all approved by Green Living and seeing visitors drop off some of the over 49, 000 pounds of e-waste to be recycled. You can find their products year-round at the Green Living Marketplace. Coming soon to the Marketplace – GreenHeroes T-shirts and DVDs for purchase there.

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Interested in living green?

Then join GreenHeroes in Toronto at the Green Living Show, the largest show in North America dedicated to current trends in green innovation.

Don’t miss producer and director of GreenHeroes Joan Prowse in conversation with our Great Lake Heroes Annabel Slaight and Mark Mattson on Saturday, April 14, from 5 p.m to 6 p.m on the main stage.

Don’t forget about your chance to win free tickets to the show by answering our GreenHeroes trivia questions on Facebook.

Come to the Green Living Show to keep up with the greenest green. The show takes place from April 13-15 at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place.

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Earth Hour 24/7

So, you participated in Earth Hour last week. You want to go green every hour of every day, but you don’t know how and you think you can’t afford to.

Two of our GreenHeroes started organizations that provide green, inexpensive solutions to green issues you likely encounter every day without even knowing it from a leaky toilet to a low-pressure tire.

Stuart Hickox Photo courtesy of Devin Lund

Stuart Hickox started One Change, an organization that makes simple green changes accessible and raises awareness about how these can reduce your impact.

One Change programs include: This Blue Dot, a simple device that, when attached to your toilet, will let you know if your toilet is leaking; a fuel efficiency initiative that encourages drivers to check their tire pressure that, if low, uses a lot of fuel; and Project Porchlight, a campaign that motivates people to save energy by switching to CFL bulbs.

Tom Heintzman co-founded Bullfrog Power, a company that provides 100% green energy in Canada.

Bullfrog Power provides green electricity and green natural gas to businesses and residences. The company also recently teamed up with Chevrolet Canada to produce Canada’s first electric vehicle. It is free of emissions and uses renewable electricity.

The changes encouraged by One Change and Bullfrog power are not only inexpensive to put into action; they will actually save you money. And help the earth every hour.

During Canada Water Week, taking place March 19-25, environmental organizations, environmentally conscious individuals and others are raising awareness about the impact we have on our water supply and bodies of water.

Visit our broadcaster TVO’s Canada Water Week page to see descriptions and air times of many programs about water issues that are airing On TVO this week. This TVO page also includes a GreenHeroes section on two defenders of water we are featuring this month: Mark Mattson and Gord Downie.

TVO started airing these and other webisodes between prime time programs this week and will continue to air them until the end of April.

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper event with Gord Downie (centre), Krystyn Tully and Mark Mattson Photo Credit: Lake Ontario Waterkeeper

MINT Film Festival honours our film work to raise awareness about environmental issues with a special award during its World Water Day event at the Royal Ontario Museum on March 22.

You can follow Canada Water Week events and join the discussion about water issues on Twitter by using the #waterweek hashtag.

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Wangari Maathai Photo Credit: Devin Lund

Reading GreenHeroes?

GreenHeroes is finalizing a deal with Canadian publishing company Fitzhenry and Whiteside to publish a book of GreenHeroes stories and images. It is scheduled to be released in early 2013 in conjunction with the premiere of our television series’ second season on TVO.

Fitzhenry and Whiteside publishes a variety of books in genres such as history, biography, photography and is a leading environmental publisher in Canada. We are honoured that our book will be part of such an impressive catalogue!

We know that books, like film, have great power to inspire environmental action. The GreenHeroes book will be another element to our cross-media campaign (comprised of a television series, web channel and more!), to help us broaden our reach and share our stories in a new way.

Stay tuned for updates on the book.

Wangari Maathai Photo credit: Devin Lund

CineFocus Producers and Founders Joan Prowse and John Bessai are pleased to receive an award on behalf of GreenHeroes for making a positive impact through their filmmaking at the MINT Film Festival on Friday, February 24th at 7:30 p.m in Toronto. Their GreenHeroes webisode featuring the late Dr. Wangari Maathai, the first environmentalist and African woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, will be screened as part of the evening’s festivities.

The February edition of the monthly festival is themed for Black History Month. International motivational speaker and Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Spider Jones will be the host at the Toronto Underground Cinema (186 Spadina Avenue, Toronto) and also includes musical performances by Canadian jazz legend Jackie Richardson and a screening of the award winning feature documentary, Prom Night in Mississippi, by filmmakers Paul Saltzman and Patricia Aquinio.

See MINT’s Facebook page event for ticket information and to RSVP.

The Cove Car Image from http://Leilanimunter.com

Leilani Munter is participating in yet another creative campaign to help the environment.

The racecar driver, environmentalist and GreenHero is going to drive a cool new car this week at Daytona to raise awareness about the inhumane treatment of dolphins.The theme of the car is “The Cove,” the documentary about the yearly killing of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

Ric O’Barry, star of The Cove and also a GreenHero, Leilani and director Louie Psihoyos will autograph 1000 copies of the documentary at the event. Leilani will drive the car, called the No. 12 “The Cove” Dolphin Awareness Dodge Charger, live on Speed television February 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm EST.

Leilani’s other environment campaigns have included helping to illuminate the Empire State Building red for dolphin hunt awareness and advocating for clean energy.

It was an honour indeed to be one of the ten finalists in the ClimateSpark Venture Challenge and to attend the final fete on February 7 in Toronto.  What an opportunity it gave the GreenHeroes team to connect with forward thinkers in the climate saving space. Over the three phases of ClimateSpark, we were fortunate to meet with key mentors in the areas of marketing, business and social media to enhance GreenHeroes’ overall concept and business approach and grow our network of contacts and build on our ideas.

I would like to thank our advisors Inge Christensen, Susan McLennan, Christine Koenig and Vicki Saunders. Hats off to the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, the Toronto Community Foundation and the Centre for Social Innovation for having the vision to create and execute the ClimateSpark challenge.

I want to express our appreciation for the interest and feedback we received from the angel investors and funding agencies who heard our pitches and vetted our business plans – as well as the community of 1,200 users who reviewed on our online proposal.

I heartily congratulate the overall winner ZooShare and our co-finalists. I hope we have the opportunity to work together and to share stories and strategies into the future. I made a lot of new friends and am encouraged by the growing number of allies in the biggest challenge of all – protecting the planet.

Now that this spark has ignited let the carbon reduction and social venture change begin!

Joan Prowse, co-creator and producer, GreenHeroes

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Last year we kept you up-to-speed on our status in the ClimateSpark Venture Challenge, a funding competition to support big green ideas in Toronto, where CineFocus, the production company behind GreenHeroes, is based.

We also showed our viewers how to support us. And support us they did! GreenHeroes became a top 10 ClimateSpark finalist. In the final stage of the competition last week, we pitched our social media game to ClimateSpark investors. The game is in the early stages of development and, like the Take Action campaign on our website, will transform our viewers into “doers” by engaging them in green actions that will reduce carbon emissions.

We’d like to give a big thank you to ClimateSpark for providing us with this opportunity and we’re very excited to attend the ClimateSpark Launch Gala. It will be a great opportunity to meet people active in generating and financing green ideas and celebrate the winners of the Toronto Community Foundation’s Green Innovation Awards who will be announced at the event. The ClimateSpark Launch Gala is on February 7.

We’d also like to thank our partner ThingTank Lab for dedicating an Idea Jam (a type of focus group run by the organization) to GreenHeroes to help us prepare for our presentation to investors. Participants gave us feedback on a dry run of our pitch and shared ideas about how to optimize the game’s potential to bring about green change. The group was very enthusiastic and we had a lot of fun.

Idea Jam participants brainstorm. Photo credit: Marie-Eve Belanger, ThingTank Lab http://thingtank.ca

We will let you know when the results of the ClimateSpark Venture Challenge are in!

U.S President Barack Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline application yesterday. Here is what some of our GreenHeroes have said about the US government’s decision:

Tzeporah Tzeporah Berman: “Psst…Minister Oliver…we’re winning. State dept just rejected Keystone XL pipeline #Tarsands #cndpol #climate”

EcoHuntress Emily Hunter “Victory – Obama Administration to reject Tar Sands pipeline today at 3pm – huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/18/key…

waterkeepermark Mark Mattson “Wish Canada was as committed to democratic decision making. Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline Permit motherjones.com/blue-marble/20… @motherjones

StuartHickox Stuart Hickox “Today was a bad day for me to have used the word keystone in a pitch, especially as a Canadian. #keystone #marketing #energy

GreenHeroes will keep you updated on both the Keystone and Northern Gateway developments.

Check out our pages on Tzeporah Berman, Emily Hunter, Mark Mattson and Stuart Hickox to learn more about their causes.

What do you think of the US government’s delay of the Keystone pipeline? Let us know in a comment or send us a Tweet at @GreenHeroesTV.