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By Joan Prowse, Producer/Director, GreenHeroes At last year’s Banff World Television Awards dinner  held on Tuesday June 15, I was honoured to sit at the same table with two Green Heroes, David Suzuki and Louie Psihoyos, Oscar winning director of The Cove.

Director Louie Psihoyos, winner of Banff Green Personality Award with jury chair, David Suzuki

I was there as a member of the jury for the Green Awards. The jury, led by David Suzuki, was asked to award TWO Green Grand Prizes, one for a television program and one for a Personality, called the “David Suzuki Environmental Media Award,” that recognizes outstanding professional and/or personal achievements in raising public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through the visual media. It was a fantastic show that also included awards to Star Trek’s William Shatner, Eric McCormack of Will and Grace, and Ricky Gervais, from The Office (who I was sitting beside). After the awards, I went out for dinner with Louie Psihoyos (who received the Green Personality Award) to talk about his organization, The Ocean Preservation Society, The Cove and his next movie (which he plans to shoot in 3D.) Louie’s credo makes him a true Green Hero. He sees his movies as creating a movement of “Mass Construction”. His goal is to inspire people to create change and get involved. An acclaimed still photographer, he had never shot a frame of moving picture before he left for Taiji, Japan to film The Cove.

Louie took a three day crash course in video production – and began a four year odyssey to make a movie that has definitely hit its mark – crashing computer systems of government departments around the world as viewers write in to voice their opposition to policies that support the commercial capture and slaughter of dolphins.

Watch for our upcoming Green Heroes webisode on The Cove and its star Ric O’Barry, when GreenHeroes.tv launches in mid-July.

On a related note, CineFocus Canada was nominated in the international pilots competition for Green Heroes and was a finalist in the Digital Hot List category at the nextMEDIA Banff International Pilots and New Media Awards that were held the following day in Banff.


Small, simple changes can make a big difference if we all chip in. Just like another one of our GreenHereos Stuart Hickox, David Suzuki has some great suggestions about how many little acts can change the world.

How to:

Go Green in your Workplace

Getting to and from work for many of us means taking the car everyday, just think of the inefficiency! One person per car is hardly a ride worth taking. Tune up your bike now that the weather is getting warmer, take the bus or even start a carpool with your office mates who live near by. Why not use Facebook or your internal listserve to get people living close together riding together.

The next time you have a lunch or dinner meeting or any kind of catered event, try the “locavore” approach and choose foods that are grown locally and sustainably. There are all sorts of great resources out there for eating what’s local; blogs like this one or this Vancouver based one are an easy way to find out what’s new near you. It’s just a click away – what’s local to you?

Save resources by:
-Plugging any equipment into a power bar and turning it off until needed.
-Set ‘double sided’ as the default setting on your printer.
-Go electronic instead of using hard copies: phone and email, use overheads and power point presentations, get e-subscriptions, and use web resources.
-Use extra water to water plants, don’t simply toss it down the drain.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

Another one of our GreenHeroes, Ian Clifford has created the Zenn Motor Company, for those who wish to invest in a hybrid car. David Suzuki urges those who wish to travel, to try and reduce airplane flights as much as possible. In the case of a vacation, you can try re-visiting your own city or traveling by bus or train instead. Flying economy allows more passenger space, and flying directly means less take-off/landing fuel. As for day-to-day transportation, now that Spring’s in the air, get your bikes off the rack or try walking to work or school.

Energy saving appliances can be acquired both for the office and home. LEDs promise a longer lasting bulb. They are still more expensive than regular bulbs, but a new generation of high efficiency incandescent bulbs is in the making. The best way to save energy to date (by over 75%) are Compact fluorescent bulbs.

Energy Saving Light Bulb

Composting might seem like an arduous task, but just like recycling, the moment you start, it easily becomes a routine. When it comes to food, buy local, buy organic.

Making a change that impacts our planet might seem like an overwhelming task, but by following these simple steps, we can help now to get a bit closer to a greener Earth. For a full listing of things you can do to help, by David Suzuki, click here.

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:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1RloC4O8AE[/youtube]

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!

n the making of her webisode, we got an insightful opportunity to sit down with Willa Black and environmentalist David Suzuki, to learn more about how One Million Acts of Green came to be.

Their thoughtful words on an incredibly successful project demonstrate even their surprise at the power of the human network and the amazing effects that come in numbers. Check out ourcampaign page to learn how to act on your ideas!

You can find Part 1 of the interview here.

Photo Credit : Devin Lund

David Suzuki: People are realizing that this is something we can’t ignore. The problem is if we keep lumbering environmentalists as those treehuggers, it ain’t going to work. First of all, we have to embrace the corporate sector, which means getting in bed with some nasty people.

We are not going to make it just as individuals; if we don’t have the corporate sector working with us than we can forget it.

We also have to broaden it. If we don’t deal with chronic levels of high unemployment, if we don’t deal with people who have no opportunity of justice or security, if we don’t deal with populations that are under genocide, or terror, or war, they can’t be concerned about the environment.

Just because you are a corporate executive or a Native living in Africa somewhere, you breathe the same air, you are dealing with the same water and we’re human beings. The challenge is this: we have never had to act as a single species. We have no mechanism to respond as a species. We have to work together as a species and that’s very tough.

Nature is very vast and very complex, and maybe if we learn to pull back as we are trying to do with a million acts of green, maybe nature will surprise us and be far more generous than we deserve. Nature will reveal that there are other options. Saying it’s too late doesn’t accomplish anything except to destroy any hope that you try.

I think what we need to do is rediscover our home as the earth, and we can’t keep thinking of the environment as something out there. We are the environment. That rediscovery of our place is our biggest challenge. It doesn’t matter if you are an executive from Cisco, Shell or Walmart; first of all, you are a human being living on this planet. You need air and you need food as an animal. Those are the most important things you need everyday and I think that’s what changes the world, when you realize that.

Willa Black: Understand the potential of what you can achieve. Even the shyest and most disengaged person, everybody can do something. It’s not about being an environmentalist, it’s about being good citizenry. It’s about being role models for your children. It’s about wanting the very best for your planet. It’s about knowing yourself and knowing you can play a part in that.

When we first started talking about a million acts of green, it would have been easy to say no. I’m so glad that we had the courage and that Cisco stood behind us, and I am really delighted that we caught the attention of great global leaders like David who I respect so much, because we all come from different backgrounds. Serendipity brought us together because we all care so much about it, and it does feel good that we were able to make a little dent.

DS: My great hero was my father. He lived a full life, died when he was 85 and when he was dying…he kept saying over and over, ‘David, I die a rich man’. He didn’t have a penny to his name. He was a poor man. All we talked about was family, friends, and neighbours and what we did together, and that’s why his wealth had nothing to do with money or stuff. It’s people. Your real wealth is people and what we do together and especially with our children. So let’s get refocused on what the priorities are in life.

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!

In the making of her webisode, we got an insightful opportunity to sit down with Willa Black and environmentalist David Suzuki, to learn more about how One Million Acts of Green came to be.

Their thoughtful words on an incredibly successful project demonstrate even their surprise at the power of the human network and the amazing effects that come in numbers. Check out ourcampaign page to learn how to act on your ideas!

Photo credit : Devin Lund

David Suzuki: We had tried to engage citizens for several years. We called it the Nature Challenge…People would say, ‘listen Suzuki, I got your message but what can I do, I don’t want to waste time on something that is not significant, I want to change my life and I want to begin to reduce my ecological footprint’. So we partnered with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and asked, how do ordinary people impact the environment so that we can figure out how to lighten our impact?

Immediately, it was obvious that it’s what you eat, where you live, and how you move…We got a list of the ten most effective things which we called the Nature Challenge. I got the list and threw it on the floor. I said, ‘Come on, this is too easy – give up meat one day a week, leave your car at home one day a week’. But, if you get enough people doing these simple steps, UCS said, guess what – it adds up.

The importance of saying a million acts of green is that a million people actually made a commitment. I think that the fact that so many citizens chose to be engaged is a very telling thing that I don’t think politicians can ignore.

Willa Black: I certainly didn’t expect to get a million acts. I think people really had a way more vested personal interest in what they could do and the changes they could make than I ever expected. It is one thing to make people go to a website…It’s another thing to get them to register and to act. It worked for everybody, from a five-year-old child to an 80-year-old grandmother, from a business to a community.

DS: Just think, if we citizens of Canada committed to picking up one piece of garbage a day, that’s 365 multiplied by 35 million, that comes out to a lot of garbage.

My commitment was I will pick up one piece every day, and it’s been a very interesting exercise. I often find when I reach down to do it, there are four or five things, so I clean up a little piece. Just think, one person picking up one piece a day is nothing; 35 million is huge, and it’s those kinds of simple acts that can become very significant.

WB: When you hear what is happening to our world and the environmental damage that is going on, it seems so terrifying and so overwhelming. A lot of people would say, ‘Oh there is no way I can do anything about that’, and what we were hoping to do with a million acts of green, is to convince them [that they can] and it doesn’t have to be enormous.

DS: During the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, I used to run around saying, “Think globally, Act locally”. I really think in the end it turns out that was a mistake…Thinking globally tends to disempower us, making us feel totally helpless. Thomas Berry, one of the greatest philosophers, said we got to change that to think locally and act locally if we are going to have any effect globally.

It’s at the local level where you can actually see the impact that you do and you can arouse a community.

WB: That was one of the great things that the campaign did. Everybody could see what the impact of their contribution was, and they could see the green house gases that they were saving with their acts.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the interview!

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!

Happy New Year!
02Jan
2011

We at GreenHeroes are looking forward to the year ahead with more webisodes and take action campaigns to get you involved.

Between now and mid-June we will be introducing you to more GreenHeroes who acted on their ideas to bring about environmental change.

We start the year off with webisodes that show how corporate responsibility and green initiatives cango hand in hand.

January 3 – Willa Black – Willa is a Cisco executive and inspiration behind the successful One Million Acts of Green that in 105 days had Canadians reach the goal of 1 million Green Acts to help the planet.

January 17 – Ray Anderson – Crowned America’s Greenest CEO, Ray turned his carpet manufacturing company into an example of sustainability that also turns a sizeable profit.

January 31st – Shane Price – is Founder of Green Circle Salons an initiative that recycles and reuses waste from hair dressing salons.

Other heroes to watch for in the coming year

Ian Clifford (creator of the Zenn Electric Car)

Emily Hunter (MTV eco-journalist and daughter of Greenpeace’s co-founders, Robert and Bobbie Hunter)

Ric O’Barry (star of the Academy Award winning documentary – The Cove)

Also featured are profiles of Green Giant, David Suzuki, Musician Bruce Cockburn, Owl Magazine Founder, Annabel Slaight, Clayoquot Sound hero Tzeporah Berman, and Bullfrog Power founder,Tom Heintzman

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, healthy communities matter. Share your story of how you are affecting the health of your neighbours and your local environment, 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.

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

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When it comes down to it, Jane Goodall is all about the animals. For over 50 years, she has devoted herself primarily to the conservation of chimps, but her repertoire of conservation efforts and campaigns now extends to all endangered animals.

It was fitting then that on TV the other evening was an episode of The Nature of Things, hosted by another of our GreenHeroes, David Suzuki. The featured episode was For the Love of Elephants, a documentary shot on location in Kenya, telling the story of orphaned elephants in Africa.

For us, it was love at first sight with the baby elephants, most of whom were left orphaned after their mothers were poached by hunters for their ivory tusks or after their habitats were destroyed.

It’s an all-too-familiar story for wildlife in Africa; Jane Goodall herself had an epiphany in 1986 when she realized that everywhere chimps were being studied, the environment was being destroyed, and there was a need to act on the chimps’ behalf.

For the Love of Elephants captures the intimate bond that forms between humans and animals, specifically at the Sheldrick Trust, but a bond that Jane can relate to in her relationship with the chimps she studies. Through hard work, love, and dedication to the animals, these elephants are nurtured to health and a safe life in the wild.

There is hope for the future of endangered species. Visit our Sprouting Change campaign page for ideas on how you can help with global wildlife conservation.

You can watch this beautiful story in its entirety here.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, youth can sprout change: Share stories of young people you know creating positive 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

Carbon Summit
15Sep
2010

At a 2008 speaking event at McGill University, GreenHeroes team member Aviva heard David Suzuki speak about the connection between the environment and the economy:

“Ecology and economy have the same root word – ‘eco’, and it means ‘home’…What we have done is elevate the economy above ecology. We think if the economy is doing well we can afford these basic things…but we are the environment. There is no distinction. What we do to the earth, we do to ourselves.”

– Dr. David Suzuki

And it seems to us like business and government leaders are taking note of this underlying interplay of the environment and economics.

Slowly but surely, as a society we are recognizing an abundance of opportunity to make changes to the way we do business, for positive economic and environmental benefits.

This video was put together for an exciting conversation that took place in November 2009, when government leaders and heads of major world business convened for the first ever Carbon Economy Summit in Washington, DC, to discuss challenges and opportunities of a changing economy and its impacts on the environment.

New Opportunities for Green Business

Speakers at the US event included representatives from The Economist, the US Department of Energy, The World Bank, The UN Climate Change Secretariat, WWF International, the UK Government, and The White House. Discussions centered on a promising idea, that while there are definite challenges to combating climate change, the opportunities in the new green markets are overwhelming. Economy and ecology do not have to be at war; there is a common ground in the fight against global warming and the drive to sustain economic growth.

And now the summit’s ideas are heading north! The first ever Canadian Carbon Summit will be held in Toronto, on September 21, 2010. The Canadian summit will aim to accomplish similar goals as its American counterparts: to uncover opportunity for green business growth, to explore low-carbon options, and to examine the ins and outs of building a business in a new environmental economy.

As individuals, we can all take steps to reduce our carbon footprints, but there are plenty of tools available to help businesses move forward with clean technology and emissions offsets too. We hope the summit drives home the point that the economy and the environment are connected, and great opportunities lie in finding the compromise. Register for the conference here.

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.

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

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