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Ric O’Barry’s first environmental act took place on April 22, 1970, when he was arrested for freeing a captive dolphin. What makes his story particularly poignant is Ric was unaware that this action would change the course of his life, taking him from dolphin trainer to dolphin protector.

During the 1960s, Ric’s love of marine life led to a position at the Miami aquarium where he trained the five dolphins that regularly appeared as Flipper on the popular TV series. When the series was cancelled and the dolphins warehoused, Ric realized the error of his ways and began a crusade to save dolphins from captivity and senseless death.

Ric’s campaign has been fuelled by the 2010 Oscar® winning film The Cove and by his determination. Today, as Japan prepares to host the Olympic summer games in 2020, Ric is calling on Japan’s Prime Minister to halt the annual dolphin capture and slaughter that takes place around the coast of the country in Taiji.

Ric is not the only Green Hero using a 2020 target date for campaigns aimed at changing government policy and individual behavior in favour of the planet.

Already underway are Earth Day events leading up to the 50th anniversary date with a goal of inspiring 3 billion people worldwide to take part on April 22, 2020.

But why wait for Earth Day? Now is a great time to reflect on ways we can protect our planet today. Here are 30 suggested ways to create a more hopeful situation leading to Earth Day’s 50th birthday. How many are you doing right now and how many more would you like to adopt during the countdown to 2020?

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The Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) is taking on a conservation challenge of epic proportions to reach an estimated 164,000 tenants living in over 58,000 rental units across the city. As North America’s second largest housing provider, only surpassed by New York’s Public Housing Authority in size, this is no small feat. But the goal is a worthy one – to create a better place for TCHC residents to live and a better planet for all.

As part of this initiative, CineFocus Canada, Green Heroes’ production company, is working with Toronto Community Housing’s Capital Engagement and Conservation Program (CECP) to create a series of on-line shareable videos aimed at reducing energy consumption (electricity, water, natural gas) and waste in residential buildings across the city.

The mission is to produce ten short videos, each one showing a particular conservation challenge and how to fix it. In order to ensure the videos reach the largest number of people living in TCH’s 2,200 high, mid, and low-rise apartments, town homes and houses, the videos include animated characters and tenant profiles to give tips of what can be done to reduce consumption with the end goal of creating a better place to live.

CineFocus Canada is working with a highly creative and motivated team of Senior Program Leaders (SPLs) who are TCHC tenants or residents from the community assigned to each building. As each SPL is familiar with their community, they are able to tap into their local networks and provide advice on how to best engage local tenants.

Already CineFocus and the CECP team have created three animated videos aimed at energy conservation during cold winter months. The Keep Warm in Winter campaign videos use two animated characters (created by Andrea Nellis and animated by Luke Murphy) one, an energy hog and the other, an energy hero, to show viewers ways how they can stay warm and minimize their environmental footprint.

Check them all out here.

Stay tuned for the spring campaign videos that focus on recycling and waste reduction.

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