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Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
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MaRS
21Nov
2010

It seems to be Canada’s biggest embarrassment at the moment. The innovation dry-spell. A government unwilling to shell out the big bucks to keep Canada at the top of the innovation charts. Everyone is talking about it.

But we’re hopeful that the tides are changing. One of the surest signs is a new-ish project out of Toronto (though it sounds like it’s a bit out of this world too). MaRS (formerly Medical and Related Sciences; now, just a cool name) is where it’s at in the world of science, business, and innovation.

As a matter of fact, its mission is “to build great companies, develop a vibrant innovation hub, and strengthen Canada’s global innovation brand”.

Since its inception in 2005, MaRS has broadened its scope from a focus on basic medical and sciences to a broad range of innovative sectors.

MaRS caught our eye because it brings everything we love together in one place: science and business, big thinkers from the world of academia, government, and the private and not-for-profit sectors. Community leaders are held up high and untapped potential is leaked open.

MaRS lends up and coming entrepreneurs the tools they need to turn their innovative ideas into realities (and get them out to market!). Offering advice and business services from experienced advisors, education and toolkits for entrepreneurs, and tools for raising capital, MaRS is your one stop shop for growing your ideas.

Bill Lishman had loads of tech and science ideas, but some of his ideas were also socially innovative. Take his Pickering protest, which is famous for its socially innovative means of protest. MaRS, too, offers tools for successful social innovation, much like the burgeoning network of social entrepreneurs at the Center for Social Innovation.

And for more ideas on how let your ideas take flight, visit the campaign page! Some other social innovation organizations we’ve set our sights on to help your ideas soar:

Social Innovation Generation

Changemakers

Tides Canada

Coops Canada

Social Enterprise Alliance

Social Capital Partners

Social Earth

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, let your ideas take flight: Share your story of innovation and bright ideas sparking change by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

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We only need to look to Bill Lishman to know that anything is possible when you’ve got a great idea. But sometimes it can be hard, practically, to transform those ideas into reality. It can be even harder if you’re a young person, with even fewer resources at your disposal.

Lucky for us dreamers, innovation is the new buzzword in town. In the US, President Barack Obama launched a campaign called “Educate to Innovate” earlier this year, which drives home the need for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in schools. Why are these disciplines so important? It all comes down to one key skill: problem solving.

Obama is investing over $250 million, including private sector investments, to train 10,000 new math and science teachers and 100,000 existing teachers to pass on the skills and knowledge to form a strong future generation of thinkers and doers.

One of his campaign items pairs NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) scientists and engineers with teachers and students for a Summer of Innovation. Its first year was a resounding success; transforming complex engineering and science topics into play for youth has been seeding curiosity in kids that continues to grow.

So where does Canada stand in the race to innovate? We’ve got loads of initiatives and organizations sprouting up to help get innovative ideas off the ground (more to come on the blog!), including an entire Ministry devoted to it in Ontario (that would be the Ministry of Research and Innovation). But despite some valiant efforts, Canada is still one of the lowest ranking for innovation on the world stage.

But, we’re pretty positive that innovation is looking up in Canada. Stay tuned to the blog to learn about what’s already happening to boost innovative projects here at home. It’s these ideas that will help make our county a greener and healthier place to live! And don’t forget to visit our Taking Flight campaign to find tools to get your ideas off the ground!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, let your ideas take flight: Share your story of innovation and bright ideas sparking change by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Prepare to be inspired!

Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of inspiration to act on your ideas. Bill Lishman’s story inspires us: he’s an artist, an activist, and a humanitarian. After seeing his story, we’re already itching to scribble out our ideas and figure out how to actualize them.

But we get our daily dose of inspiration from another source. Have you heard of TED? If you haven’t, we can’t wait to introduce you. TED is a nonprofit on a mission, much like ours at GreenHeroes: to spread ideas.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) started as a series of conferences in the 1980’s, and is now famous for it’s talks, TEDTalks.

In fact, there are over 700 talks, with new ones added each day, all sharing ideas, knowledge, and inspiration to change the world.

The ideas are free, and come from some of the world’s greatest thinkers: Bill Gates, Al Gore, GreenHero Jane Goodall, and many more. There are ideas here that are changing the face of the planet, tales of environmental heroes and scientific facts to stir us into action.

Here, Bill Gates discusses the need for innovation and research initiatives to solve the global climate crisis:

TEDx is an exciting offshoot of TED, offering local groups an opportunity to host their own idea-exchange events. TEDxYouthOttawa was the first youth-centric TED event held in North America. It was so popular, that the youth edition is spreading (Toronto hosts its own TEDx on November 20, 2010!).

Tune into TED on your computer or plug into your iPod and be inspired by other innovators, daily. Make your ideas a reality, and visit our Taking Flight campaign page for more ideas on how to innovate!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, let your ideas take flight: Share your story of innovation and bright ideas sparking change by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Imagine a single building filled with hundreds of working people, from close to 200 organizations, weaving an intricate web of ideas.

This is the Centre for Social Innovation, located in Downtown Toronto, a place where the GreenHeroes Team meets weekly to map out our own ideas. The CSI is an incredible workspace for innovators of a different kind: social innovators.

What does it mean to be a social innovator? It doesn’t necessarily mean building something physical, but building a web of actions that contributes to local and global change. Find out how you can be a part of the web by visiting our Taking Flight campaign page!

The CSI was recently featured in a great Globe and Mail article that highlights the centre as a fundamental space for idea sharing.

Featured in the article is Tonya Surman, the founding executive director of the CSI, who is on a mission to support social collaborations and entrepreneurial strategies to advance our social and environmental wellbeing.

We’re lucky to have Andrea Jackson on the GreenHeroes team as our Street Team Volunteer Coordinator, who doubles as an Agent of Change at the Centre for Social Innovation. When she’s not coordinating excursions for the GreenHeroes team, she’s helping form networks and connections at the CSI. She gives us an inside peek into a day in her life at this unique workspace.

GreenHeroes: What is the CSI?

Andrea: CSI – Centre for Social Innovation, is a place where social enterprise (people trying to make a change in the world) can take advantage of the centre’s collective benefits: better equipment, meeting spaces and computer access that most non-profit and social enterprises can’t afford. Not to mention the network of 200 plus like minded businesses and sounding boards!

GreenHeroes: What is a day in the life of Andrea at the CSI like?

Andrea: I am classed as an Agent of Change; a Community Animator. I help keep the hard working tenants socializing with each other. Some are shy, some are busy, and some are there at varied hours, so our main purpose is to get to know as many tenants as we can and to introduce them to each other. Other job duties: filling coffee, changing garbage and cleaning the kitchen! It is not all glamour and wine parties!

GreenHeroes: What is the most interesting part about working at the CSI? The most challenging?

Andrea: Some of the most interesting things are our pet projects. Mine are the adopt-a-plant project and redecoration Suite 120! These projects get us involved in the nitty gritty areas one might not see as a tenant and are a lot of fun! The most challenging part of the job so far is remembering everyone I have met, a hard task with 200 businesses at 215 Spadina alone (CSI is opening up a second location). Everyone feel free to stop by and quiz me on their name and company Fridays 8:30am to 4:30pm at CSI Spadina!

GreenHeroes: Have you seen any amazing campaigns, collaborations, people or projects since you’ve been there

Andrea: There is a really interesting project called Project Wildfire, a collaboration with the new Regent Park development that promises to be an excellent outlet for local community centered endeavours in a very new and exciting stage in the development of this Toronto neighbourhood. The new building has been an amazing sight to see! If you haven’t been up to visit yet make sure you get there and witness the stages it will be going through over the next couple of months!

Are you interested in volunteering with the GreenHeroes Street Team? We are always looking for more volunteers! We are going out every weekend from now until the end of December to various speakers’ series, farmers’ markets, holiday sales and movie nights!

The events are always fun, educational and rewarding! If you are interested in volunteering with us, contact Andrea Jackson, Volunteer Coordinator at andrea@greenheroes.tv

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, let your ideas take flight: Share your story of innovation and bright ideas sparking change by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Producer, engineer, writer and musician; Chris Birkett is a musical power storm! Chris’ music is featured in Bill Lishman’s webisode, a perfect fit for a musician well acquainted with ambition and philanthropy.

His collaborations have helped sell more than 100 million records over the last 30 years, putting to use his own skills as a musician and his technical and production abilities.

His career began as a guitarist in Memphis, and has since expanded to include 2 Ampex Golden reel awards and gold and platinum discs for his production/engineering work.

Chris co-produced “Running for the drum” with Canadian artist Buffy Sainte Marie, which won a Juno award for best aboriginal artist in 2009.

Photo credit: Matt McGee (Flickr)

Chris was eager to be a part of GreenHeroes to forward the environmental cause. He’s no stranger to charity; His first solo artist single “Where do we go from here”, was included on the Polygram album One Voice One Love alongside other artists U2, Peter Gabriel, Dire Straits, Bob Marley, Tears for fears and Queen. The royalties for this song were donated to raise money for the CARE international charity for Africa.

Some familiar names of those he has collaborated with: Led Zeppelin, The Kane Gang, Hans Zimmer, Randy Newman, Rod Temperton, Quincy Jones, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Osibisa, Mica Paris, Trevor Horn, John Otway, Def Leppard and many more.

You can watch and listen to Chris’ music on his myspace page or on YouTube. His latest album, Freedom, is available on iTunes.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, let your ideas take flight: Share your story of innovation and bright ideas sparking change by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Chris Birkett in studio

This week’s episode, “The Power of an Idea”, is all about putting ideas into action, something which Bill Lishman is quite famous for! Have you got an idea that you want to take flight?

Sure, it can be overwhelming to think about “saving the planet” from environmental destruction, but these GreenHeroes have found ways to make simple changes as part of a much bigger picture; that’s what GreenHeroes is all about

Three great innovators show the power of simple steps: Willa Black, a corporate warrior who has turned one million acts into a world-changing environmental campaign, David Suzuki, the quintessential Canadian environmentalist who models simple actions every day, and Stuart Hickox, a former marketer who has demonstrated the phenomenal power of millions of people making one change.

Tune in tonight and in the weeks to come for other GreenHeroes venturing forth to Save the Planet One Story at a Time.

If you can’t tune in tonight, Episode 3 will also be playing this Saturday at 4 pm (EST) on TVO!


Thank You Guest Bloggers!


Mark Mattson

Besides incredible blogs from our GreenHeroes Rob Stewart, Laura Reinsborough, Leilani Munter, Stuart Hickox, and Sarah Harmer, we’ve been incredibly lucky to host the voices of some phenomenal community leaders from across Canada.

These bloggers are GreenHeroes in their own rights, earning a spot on our wall for undertaking incredible social initiatives.

Claudia Li, Founder, Shark Truth – Claudia Li is the founder of Shark Truth, an organization dedicated to putting a stop to traditional Chinese delicacy of shark fin soup.

Claudia is a person of Chinese heritage, and felt the need to take responsibility on the issue, so she researched, strategized, and launched a mega anti-finning campaign.

Mark Mattson, President, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper – Mark Mattson is a criminal lawyer and the face and voice of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.

He has been working tirelessly for years to prosecute environmental offenders, and now focuses his energies on public access to clean, healthy and safe waterways through Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, which he founded in 2001.


Sarah Elton

Dr. Gail Krantzberg, Director, Center for Engineering and Public Policy, McMaster University – Dr. Gail Krantzberg’s work focuses on shared water stewardship and water policy in large lakes.

Though water science is her specialty, it’s her infectious personal passion for the Great Lakes and dedication to preserving them that shines through her work.

Sarah Elton, Author, Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens – How Canadians are Changing the Way We Eat – Sarah Elton is a journalist and food writer, featured in publications including The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, and The Atlantic’s Food Channel.

Sarah was inspired to write Locavore after discovering that her daughter’s cookie had traveled all the way from China.

Rhonda Teitel-Payne, Urban Agriculture Manager, The Stop Community Food Center – Rhonda Teitel-Payne is incredibly dedicated to ensuring access to healthy food for all, which doubtlessly contributes to the fact that the Stop is much more than a food bank. Rhonda works with The Stop to provide fresh produce from local community gardens and community skill building workshops.


Justin LaFountaine

Justin LaFontaine, Project Founder and Director, Bike Train – On a trip to the Niagara Region, Justin discovered that there was no easy way for cyclists to get out of the city and see the countryside, so he partnered with VIA Rail Canada to introduce a unique service, which allows tourists to take their bikes on trains with little environmental impacts.

Lea Anne Mallett, Executive Director, EcoSource – Lea Anne Mallett is the head of EcoSource, an organization that empowers the community to become more environmentally responsible through creative public education.

Lulu Cohen Farnell, Founder, Real Food for Real Kids – Lulu and her husband David started Real Food for Real Kids because they didn’t want their son Max to grow up on anything by real food. She decided that it wasn’t impossible to try and change the world, and her phenomenal company, bringing real, healthy food to kids has been growing since.

We believe that sharing ideas is essential to sparking change; it can be as simple as contributing to our blog. What are you doing in your community to make a change? We want to hear from you! If you are interested in appearing on our blog, send us your ideas, words and questions to blog@greenheroes.tv.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, let your ideas take flight: Share your story of innovation and bright ideas sparking change by entering our contest, and you’ll be eligible to win a prize, including being featured on TV as our next GreenHero! Contest details and more information can be found here.

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

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