Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
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It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of one of our GreenHeroes. Ray Anderson was the founder and chairman of carpet manufacturer Interface Inc. Ray passed away on August 8 after an epic struggle with cancer.

Ray  was a hero, as he encompassed the true spirit of entrepreneurship and left behind an innovative green business model. He used the metaphor of climbing a mountain to identify and explain what he called the Seven Fronts of Mount Sustainability, efforts companies must make to become sustainable:

  • Front 1 – Eliminate Waste
  • Front 2 – Eliminate Harmful Emissions
  • Front 3 – Increase Energy Efficiency and use Renewable Energy      Resources
  • Front 4 – Reduce Finite Raw Material Inputs and use recycled materials
  • Front 5 – Reduce Transportation’s Carbon Footprint
  • Front 6 – Sensitize Stakeholders
  • Front 7 – Redesign Commerce

Ray  saw that a profit could still be made by placing a heavy emphasis on recycling, ensuring that the company was working towards reducing their ecological footprint while also boosting their reputation and sales. Ray was a conundrum: he was both a successful capitalist as well as an active GreenHero — a Green Capitalist! He sought to drastically shift his company’s practice of operating primarily to the goal of achieving profit to becoming completely sustainable.

GreenHeroes has released several posts related to his great work and will be featuring them in the blog over the next two weeks.

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GreenHeroes director and producer, Joan Prowse, took part in the inaugural SPLASH Floating Water Festival on Lake Simcoe, August 13. The festival served as the first step towards the development of The Ontario Water Centre for Innovation, Research, and Learning on the shores of Lake Simcoe; a proposed centre that will hopefully and eventually serve as the nation’s primary leading resource on spreading knowledge of the importance of clean water and healthy waterways.

The SPLASH festival is the latest endeavour of The Ladies of the Lake, co-founded by GreenHero Annabel Slaight, to help raise awareness on the importance of clean and healthy waterways across the nation, and to raise money for their dream of an Ontario Water Centre. The proposed centre would be primarily located in Georgina, on the coast of Lake Simcoe but would connect to all branches of the Lake Simcoe watershed. With the incorporation of digital communications, the Ladies would also hope that the centre would become a hub that could not only be able to connect to the Great Lakes and other fresh water systems across Canada, but also enhance Canada’s position as a leader in fresh water initiatives.

Ladies of the Lake president Goody Gerner, with co-founder and GreenHero Annabel Slaight at the inaugural SPLASH Floating Water Festival, August 13.

Director and producer of GreenHeroes, Joan Prowse, has just been made a board member of Planet in Focus, Canada’s leading international environmental film and video festival. To find out more, check out our online newsletter. Congratulations Joan!

Want to stay up-to-date on the latest activities at GreenHeroes? Click on “subscribe to list” in the top left hand corner of the GreenHeroes Newsletter. We publish it every second Thursday.

Joan with Planet in Focus board members and GreenHeroes.

Gord Downie has been keeping busy with a dual career as musician and water advocate. One of his latest ventures was becoming the narrator for Waterlife, a documentary film, produced by Primitive Entertainment, that has been described as ‘visual poetry’. The film follows the flow of water from the Great Lakes, all the way from the Nipigon River to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the last large supply of fresh water on Earth, and reaches 35million people. The film reveals the challenges that the Great Lakes are facing due to pollution, chemicals, invasive species and apathy. It is people like Gord that are trying to do something to prevent an ecological collapse. Explore the interactive project on the NFB website.

The film is airing on the History Channel on:

Monday, August 15th at 9:00pm (EST)

Tuesday, August 16th at 1:00am (EST)

Thursday, August 18th at 10:00pm (EST)

Friday, August 19th at 1:00am and 1:00pm (EST)

Make sure you check it out!


If you feel like we have a right to clean water, join  Ecojustice and sign the petition addressed to the Federal Environment minister, Peter Kent, to ensure that all Canadians can access clean, safe, drinking water.

Gord Downie is a singer, songwriter, and trustee of the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (LOW). Gord’s partnership with LOW, which helped put a halt to the actions of a polluting cement company, underscores the importance of preserving and conserving our limited freshwater resources. Nearly 70% of the world’s freshwater is locked in ice, and most of the rest is in aquifers that we are draining much more quickly than the natural recharge rate. Water scarcity affects one in three people on every continent of the globe. Gord is helping to protect water in his community. Take action now to protect your water.

“I have a vision of the lake where the water is clean enough to swim in, pure enough to quench your thirst and safe enough, wild enough, to toss in a line and pull out a fish to feed your family.” – Mark Mattson, LOW President

“Row to the shore and explore a place you don’t know.”

So sings one of Canada’s GreenHeroes and singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer in a recently released campfire song she wrote to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada. Sarah recorded this beautiful tune, simply titled “The Park Song,” in both English and French. She also headlined a free outdoor concert at the official Parks Day celebration in Toronto earlier this month.

Jasper National Park by Frank Kovalchek

This isn’t the first time Sarah has written and sung about the environment. She wrote and recorded a song called “Escarpment Blues” and donated the proceeds to PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land), an organization she co-founded to protect the landscape she grew up on from further development. She starred in a documentary, also called “Escarpment Blues,” about her “I Love the Escarpment” tour in which she performed and spoke about the PERL campaign.

On a different project, thirteen Canadian filmmakers created The National Parks Project,which features 13 Parks including  the Tundra in Manitoba to Gwaii Haanas National Park, off the coast of mainland B.C. It is in this last park that Sarah Harmer’s music is featured. Make sure to check out the film, which shows some of Canada’s most grandiose beauty. Hear more about this project from John Bessai, executive producer and creative director of the GreenHeroes Campaign, in  The Bulletin!

The rural countryside in our backyard is a diverse home to native trees and rare species; the Niagara Escarpment specifically, a pristine 450 million year old UNESCO world heritage site, is home to 40% of Ontario’s rare species and houses trees that are over 1000 years old. The land here is irreplaceable once it’s lost, and it’s threatened every day by industry and urban encroachment.

When an aggregate company recently put forth a proposal to remove another 200 acres from Mount Nemo, Sarah Harmer, who grew up with this natural landscape in her Burlington, Ontario backyard, refused to sit idly. She co-founded PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) to stop the destruction of her hometown landscapes.

Her move to act is not a lone battle; campaigns like these are being waged across the globe, many right in our own backyards. Ancient forests, wetlands and valleys are irreplaceable once they are lost, and we must act to keep them alive. Don’t wait for your neighbour to do something about a problem. Take action now.

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Know another Oil Changer who would make a Great GreenHero?

After seeing An Inconvenient Truth, Leilani was so moved by the film’s message that she posted to her blog that she had seen the movie. That note got posted on a NASCAR forum and created a storm of letters and discussion. Though most comments were negative, she realized she had managed to get the racing sector talking about climate change. With that, she was on her way.

Like Leilani, are you, or someone you know, working in a particularly polluting industry, yet are determined to do something to offset or lessen your impact on the environment?

Leilani’s desire to spread the word has always been strong:

“I felt a responsibility to do something about the impact I have on the environment because of my racing career. If I can get one person to think twice about their impact on the earth and start recycling and conserving energy, then it’s working.”

Sound like something you or your buddy might say? Then enter our contest for a chance to win a GreenHeroes prize and be featured on our contest website. You may even end up having your story told on TVO!

Check out last year’s winner: Mary Gorman! Winners this year will be announced at the Green Living Show, in April 2012.

You can watch Leilani’s own GreenHero profile video to learn more about her inspiring work and how she’s changing her life to reduce her carbon footprint.

To learn how you can reduce your carbon footprint and change the way you live, visit our Oil Changers campaign page. Don’t forget to leave a comment!

To read more about Leilani’s work, visit her Carbon Free Girl site.

Follow Leilani on Twitter, or become her fan on Facebook.

Donate to the National Wildlife Federation to help wildlife affected by the BP oil spill.

Are you working in a particularly polluting industry? Are you feeling guilty about the fossil fuel and oil you are emitting as a result? Like Leilani, are you doing something to offset or lessen this negative impact on the environment? Share your Oil Changer story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest.

In an intensely high-profile break-up, one of the world’s most famous and powerful couples has called it quits. Sad but true, long-time love birds Barbie and Ken are officially over in what has got to be one of the nastiest splits this season. What reason could there be for a couple that seemed to be practically made for each other to split so viciously and abruptly?

Barbie and her manufacturer Mattel have been hiding some dark secrets from Ken and the rest of the world. It turns out that the material used in Barbie’s packaging comes from none other than Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), a company that is notorious for relying on the clearance of rainforests and peat lands in Indonesia. Outraged by the scandal and heartbroken at the thought of his beloved causing irreparable damage earth’s climate, and also to the precious rainforest habitat of the endangered Sumatran tiger and countless other species, Ken lashed out all over the internet. Watch his explosive reaction upon receiving the news of Barbie’s betrayal.

“I don’t date girls who are into deforestation!” he announced publicly, casting aside his image as Barbie’s arm candy and emerging solo as a Green Heartthrob. What makes him a heartthrob rather than some jilted ex-boyfriend looking for revenge? Ken is emerging as an activist working to get Mattel and Barbie to stop using APP product packaging, and they aren’t the only ones on his list either. Other than Mattel, companies like Disney, Hasbro, and Lego also rely on packaging supplied by APP. You can help Ken in his crusade to stop Mattel from using plastic packaging supplied by APP by sending a message to Mattel from here!

If Mattel didn’t feel the need to wrap Barbie in so much plastic that it feels like you are breaking into Fort Knox just to get to her, then maybe they wouldn’t need to rely on the cheaper products supplied by APP. A simple matter of LESS packaging, instead of cheaper packaging could help save the rainforest.

Like Ken has done, Barbie should step out from behind her wall of protective packaging and take a stand against deforestation!
You can show your support for Ken on his own Facebook page which can be found here.

Danielle Bouteiller is a third year student at the University of Windsor, pursuing a double major in English, Language & Literature, and Communication, Media & Film. She remembers the hassle of trying to rip through the many layers packaging on a new Barbie doll but insists that she only ever wanted the dolls because of the tiny accessories.

Canadians are amongst the largest producers in the world of greenhouse gas emissions, the key contributors to climate change. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), between 1990 and 2005, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 25.3%. Our reliance on fossil fuels for transport and production is mostly to blame for our skyrocketing emissions.

GreenHero Leilani Munter holding an owl

According to a World Wildlife Federation (WWF) report, a switch from oil to renewable energy sources could provide 70% of global energy supplies.

Leilani Münter is a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing(NASCAR) driver, and though her everyday career depends on driving a car, she is an eco-activist who uses her celebrity voice to drive home the point that we can all change our lifestyles and kick our oil addictions.

Charles Darwin said, ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.’ Humans are so adaptable, yet we’re not changing. It’s time for Americans to look ourselves in the mirror, check ourselves into rehab and get off our oil addiction.”
– Leilani Munter

Leilani has a background in biology and a longtime love for wildlife and species protection; she’s the first Ambassador to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Though seemingly paradoxical, Leilani is using her NASCAR celebrity status to bring major issues to the forefront, visiting America’s Capitol Hill to speak on behalf of clean energy and climate change legislation.

In July of 2010, Leilani was part of a group of athletes that ventured to the Gulf of Mexico with the Sierra Club. The group examined the damages wreaked by the BP oil spill, and spoke about the need to move forward with clean energy technology and the responsibility of each of us to make changes in our own lives to reduce our carbon footprints.


You can watch Leilani’s own GreenHero profile video to learn more about her inspiring work and how she’s changing her life to reduce her carbon footprint. To learn how you can reduce your carbon footprint and change the way you live, visit our Oil Changers campaign page. Don’t forget to leave a comment there and on her profile page!
To read more about Leilani’s work, visit her Carbon Free Girl site.
Follow Leilani on Twitter, or become her fan on Facebook.
Donate to the National Wildlife Federation to help wildlife affected by the BP oil spill.

Are you working in a particularly polluting industry? Are you feeling guilty about the fossil fuel and oil you are emitting as a result? Like Leilani, are you doing something to offset or lessen this negative impact on the environment? Share your Oil Changer story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest.