Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
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Nadine Guimond works with ING DIRECT, an online investment and banking company. Her experiences with the company demonstrate a growing trend towards corporate social responsibility in the workplace.

Sharing Willa Black’s enthusiasm for positive green activities at Cisco, Nadine shares her hopes with us for more projects that help us connect to our environments, like ING’s playscape.

By Nadine Guimond

Nadine GuimondEarly in 2009, my employer, ING DIRECT put forward a staff challenge to come up with an idea to get as many employees as possible involved in a community improvement project. I put forward the winning idea of building the city of Toronto’s first natural playground.

On September 17th 2009, close to 500 ING DIRECT employees transformed McCleary Park into an innovative playscape featuring a hill slide, climbing boulders, sand area, musical instruments, mature trees as well as an inverted tree.

ING DIRECT has since created a natural playground in Ottawa and added natural elements to play areas of a Toronto community housing residence in October 2010. The company that helped make all of this possible isBienenstock Natural Playgrounds.

I’m passionate about the necessity of reconnecting children with nature. Preferences for electronic entertainment along with highly scheduled extracurricular activities often leaves little time for nutritious meals and unstructured play, resulting in a rise of childhood obesity.

If the trend continues, for the first time in history North American children will have a shorter lifespan than the generation before them.

I grew up in Temagami, a small town in the middle of a nature preserve in Northern Ontario. My childhood was spent building forts, climbing trees, hiking through the woods and exploring the world around me.

My early years definitely instilled a passion for a healthy lifestyle and environment. There’s a Native American proverb that says, “We do not inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Let’s do what we can to make nature something all children care about and have a deep connection to!

Cisco recognizes 25 Canadians

over the past 25 years

This year, Willa was presented with another challenge – to do something meaningful to celebrateCisco’s 25th anniversary.

Her response – The 25 Transformative Canadians project. This awareness campaign celebrates 25 living Canadians who have made a difference. This time she partnered with the Globe and Mailnewspaper. Readers were invited to nominate Canadians who fit this description.

Here are four videos of nominees who in particular have worked to help save the planet.

1. Sheila Watt-Cloutier who made climate change a human rights issue:


2. Geoff Green who leads Arctic expeditions with an environmental message:

3. Kelly Hawke Baxter who through “The Natural Step Canada” helps inspire ways to lessen harmful environmental impacts:

4. David Suzuki who everyone knows is a scientist, environmentalist, broadcaster and author who has had a huge impact on how we think about the future of our planet:

Click here for the complete list of the 25 transformative Canadians.

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

Acting On An Idea

Imagine the changes we could see in the world if every person acted on their ideas. For Ciscobusinesswoman, Willa Black, acting on her idea led to over a million changes; a million acts of green to be exact.

When her workplace challenged Cisco employees to come up with an idea to bring the human network effect to life, Willa rose to the challenge, recognizing that major changes could come about by bringing together lots of people.

Willa Black

Photo credit: Devin Lund

After examining her own life and daily habits, Willa contemplated the idea of power in numbers. She imagined changing simple acts in her daily life, such as turning off lights, washing clothes with cold water, carpooling, or planting a tree, and was excited by the potential reverberations if mimicked by a street, a city, and a country of others.

Acting on the principle of Corpoate Social Responsibility, Willa turned a marketing challenge into a green opportunity, resulting in over 4 million acts of green committed, and bringing about monumental change. Got an idea to change the world? Set your ideas into action!

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