Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
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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.

GreenHeroes has been following the developments in the debate over the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline expansion that would go from Alberta to British Columbia.

First Nations groups such as the Gitxsan and the Haisla have been particularly vocal in their opposition to it because of the the threats to their environment and culture. Fishing will not be possible in the streams affected that the groups rely on. The Haisla warn that an oil spill would be catastrophic to their community.

Clayton Thomas-Muller, one of our GreenHeroes, is a Tar Sands Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental network. Watch our video to hear him talk about the environmental racism faced by indigenous communities and its impact on their health and culture.

Would you like to have a voice in the oil sands debate? Visit our campaign Clayton inspired us to create to get people involved.

Have you made any New Years resolutions this year? Are you skeptical that your actions could make a difference for the environment?

To inspire New Years Resolutions, this January GreenHeroes is featuring the work of iconic primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall and former marketing executive Stuart Hickox, two Heroes who have dedicated their careers to not only helping the environment, but showing individuals how they can help too!

Up first on our home page is Jane Goodall who travels the world sharing her message. Check out our Jane Goodall webisode to learn more about her work, including her program Roots and Shoots that engages youth in green action.

In very cool news, Disneynature, the organization that brings together filmmakers to tell stories about wildlife, has partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute on Disney’s upcoming True-Life Adventure film release Chimpanzee, a story about a chimp named Oscar and his adventures in the forest with his family.

Go see Chimpanzee during its opening week and Disney will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute! Chimpanzee will hit theatres in North America on April 20, 2012.

GreenHero Tzeporah Berman, who we are currently featuring on our home page, recently wrote an Opinion piece for the Globe and Mail from Durban, South Africa where she was attending the United Nations climate change negotiations.

Tzeporah praises the advancements made in a “cleaner, safer and more stable economy.” She also criticizes Canada’s loyalty to oil and reminds us of the urgent need to act on climate change.

As you can see in her piece, Tzeporah is a passionate writer. If you’d like to read more of her writing, check out her recently released first book This Crazy Time.

Tzeporah Berman

Check out our latest newsletter to see Tzeporah’s campaign and our retrospective post on the work of our Heroes’ work in 2011!

Also, if you haven’t done so already, please fill out the CineFocus online survey to help this production company enhance its productions and understand how online activities can lead to participation in environmental initiatives. The deadline for completing the survey is January 7, 2012!

GreenHero Leilani Munter uses Youtube and other social media to share information about environmental issues she fights for like stopping the dolphin hunt in Japan and making clean energy accessible and appealing.

Tapping into the power of film, a power we know all too well at GreenHeroes, Leilani has posted many great videos, making at least some of them herself, on her Youtube Channel about her work on these issues.

You may expect that a person as popular and famous as Leilani Munter may put herself front and centre of her videos, but she doesn’t, if she is present in the video at all. Her focus is completely on the issues. They are emotional videos, as you can tell by the music and and images. This one is a good example, depicting her trip to Japan last year to try to end the annual dolphin slaughter there.

Leilani Munter also shares her message on Twitter.

Last week in the GreenHeroes Newsletter, we told you about race car driver and GreenHero Leilani Munter’s latest environmental actions: she helped illuminate the Empire State Building for awareness about the dolphin hunt and is preparing an eco-education program to share on the race track next year.

Among her many environmental commitments, she is an advocate for clean energy, electric cars and more, as you will see in our webisode on her. You can also read this great guest post Leilani wrote for our blog last year about why turning away from oil is necessary and doable.