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In memory of Ray Anderson (1934-2011), over the next two weeks, GreenHeroes will continue to republish its posts that were inspired by his accomplishments and his campaign to conquer Mount Sustainability.

The second face of Ray Anderson’s Mount Sustainability is “Eliminate Harmful Emissions”.

There are all sorts of attempts being made in industry to harness wind and solar energy to save money and reduce harmful emissions.

For Ray Anderson, this challenge was met head on at InterfaceFLOR. Where can this lead?

It is intriguing to think of how processes that would seem obsolete in today’s world, such as wind power for shipping, could be re-thought so that this second face of Mount Sustainability can be scaled.


Photo credit: Tidewater Muse (Flickr)

Can you think of other ideas for how to make emissions benign where you work? Is it possible to incorporate wind or solar energy into the day to day operations of your workplace? How about harnessing a kite someday to your shipment of goods overseas!

Watch this video which shows how a large kite attached to an ocean going vessel improves performance while producing fewer emissions.


Remember – in the battle to save the planet, scale the sustainability mountain. Share your story of how you’re scaling the sustainability mountain by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

In memory of Ray Anderson (1934-2011), over the next two weeks, GreenHeroes will continue to republish its posts that were inspired by his campaign to conquer Mount Sustainability .

Ray Anderson has 7 stages to climb what he calls Mount Sustainability.

The first one of these is thinking about eliminating waste at work. This can be done more easily than you think. In Canada there is an annual campaign called Waste Reduction Week which has some pretty funny and very short videos featuring Oscar the Grouch to help inspire us.

Who better to lead us in the battle against garbage? Waste Reduction Week isn’t until October of this year (Oct. 17-23, 2011), but the 2 PSAs for this annual campaign are amusing if you are a fan of Oscar.


Think of Oscar the next time you need to throw out something at work rather than using a reusable container. Taking reusable containers to work just for your sandwiches would be a huge step for anyone who currently wraps their lunch with disposable plastic.

Start the climb on Mount Sustainability. Try to bring less garbage to your workplace. It might make Oscar mad, but he is always in a bad mood!


Remember – in the battle to save the planet, scale the sustainability mountain. Share your story of how you’re scaling the sustainability mountain by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

In memory of Ray Anderson (1934-2011), over the next two weeks, GreenHeroes will republish its posts that were inspired by Ray’s accomplishments and his campaign to conquer Mount Sustainability.

Sometimes change comes in stages, as is often the case for businesses deciding to “go green”. Interface Global, an international carpet manufacturer, wasn’t always clean and green. But under the leadership of GreenHero Ray Anderson, the business is well on its way to reaching its peak of sustainability.

Ray Anderson is an enlightened business leader who listened to the call of his customers over a decade ago.

When buyers asked what Interface Global was doing to help the environment, Ray had an epiphany; the task at hand required new leadership and bold decisions to reshape production.

Springing into action, his company broke the seemingly mountainous task of “greening” into 7 stages, attempting to mimic nature by recycling everything and eliminating waste.

What resulted was a world-leading company in corporate social responsibility with low waste and emissions, and a world-class business model for other industries to follow.Take action now to help your company scale the sustainability mountain!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, scale the sustainability mountain. Share your story of how you’re scaling the sustainability mountain by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero!

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.