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Tune in Tuesday, November 9 at 7 p.m. (EST) for the second episode of GreenHeroes on TVO.

Last week, we proudly launched our companion TV show to rave reviews. It was exciting to see our GreenHeroes on the big screen, flaunting their unique and risk-taking attributes and highlighting their amazing global actions.

Bill Lishman was one of those great innovators and risk-takers featured in Episode 1: Saving Species. From a simple hang glider, Bill developed a complex ultra-light glider, and used it to bring back the Whooping Crane from the brink of extinction.

Since then, he’s used his ever-inspired mind to complete many out-of-the-box projects, from his underground home to a one-of-a-kind protest staged to stop construction of an airport in his Pickering backyard. Got an idea like Bill? Transform your ideas to action by visiting our Taking Flight campaign page.

Bill’s not the only one putting his talents to work and pushing the boundaries in his local surroundings. This week’s episode “In My Backyard” showcases the brave work of many talented folks and a couple of familiar music-makers.

All three use their unique talents and their arts to effect local change: Musician Gord Downie speaks out against a polluting cement company, Singer/Songwriter Sarah Harmer composes a musical tour to highlight, and prevent, ecosystem destruction in her hometown, and Annabel Slaight shows the power of a bit of corporate know-how by organizing to save Lake Simcoe.

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 2 will also be playing this Saturday at 4 pm (EST) on TVO

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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Jane's Walk
23Oct
2010

When was the last time you really got to know your neighbourhood, and how well do you know it? Jane’s Walk might be just what you’re looking for if you need to reconnect with your backyard and get to know your neighbours.

Jane’s Walk is a free walking tour for locals, by locals. We love and share its vision, to create walkable neighborhoods, to promote urban literacy, and to build cities for and by people.

Formed in 2007 by a group of dedicated citizens (including Chris Winter, a GreenHero we profiled for his neat Doors Closed initiative), Jane’s Walk is all about community, knitting us together to become strong and resourceful leaders to work together and organize around issues that matter to us.

It was Jane Jacobs’ vision to have an engaged community with contemporary urban planning practices, championing the interests of locals and pedestrians over a car-centric approach to the downtown core.

It’s an exciting idea that appeals to many – even our own GreenHero Sarah Harmer led a Jane’s Walk tour in Toronto. Like Expedition Blue Planet and our own GreenHeroes.tv, the walk is about engaging citizens in meaningful discussion, and improving the livability of our communities.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

Jane Jacobs, ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’

Executive Director Jane Farrow answers a few questions about Jane’s Walk by email.

GreenHeroes: How does Jane’s Walk connect to our campaign theme “In My Backard”?

Jane Farrow: It seems people everywhere want to dig in and get things done with their neighbours. Thinking big, acting local still has lots of appeal for people, and hopefully always will.

GreenHeroes: What are the benefits of Jane’s Walk, and why is it so important to get to know your backyard?

Jane Farrow: The Jane’s Walk mandate remains simple and straightforward – to raise urban literacy; to cultivate and create cities planned for and by people; to help create walkable, livable, diverse neighbourhoods.

The walks promote these objectives by helping people tell the story of their own neighbourhoods, their own parks, places they hang out, barber shops, libraries, malls and coffee shops.

Some neighbourhoods have large reputations that precede them, others are relatively obscure and unknown, but each and every neighbourhood has stories to tell, and, as it turns out, plenty of local residents who are keen to tell them.

Jane’s Walk helps make cities and streets safe for all users by promoting walkability. We do this with educational materials, research studies and by providing organizational support. Functional, daily walking is the type of physical activity and travel behaviour that promotes healthy communities and individuals.

GreenHeroes: How can people get involved in Jane’s Walk and act in their communities?

Jane Farrow: Volunteer tour guides, ranging from municipal councillors and urban planners to recent immigrants and high school students, customize their tours with personal stories, local perspectives, insider tips and secret shortcuts.

The walks bridge social and geographic gaps by creating a space for cities to discover themselves. Just head to our website and get more information and support for how to put your own walk together, alone or with other folks from your neighbourhood.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your 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

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

What happens when a group of citizens concerned about the increased presence of advertising in public spaces comes together to take action? Change happens.

We at GreenHeroes believe in taking action in our backyards to protect the planet, and we’re not alone.

Since its inception in 2001, the Toronto Public Space Committee has devoted its energy to making our urban common areas more beautiful.

Through creative campaigns like Guerrilla Gardening (Guerrilla Gardeners plant flowers in neglected public spaces), and by defeating proposals at City Hall for more and more billboards in public spaces, the Toronto Public Space Committee is an inspiration for us all!

“Through our advocacy projects we affect municipal policy, help shape the debate and create a space for concerned citizens to get involved and participate. Through our community events we lead by example by beautifying the city without a big budget, without sponsors and without logos. Together, we are reclaiming our streets and creating community.”

Ready to get involved, or learn more about how to create more beautiful public spaces in your city or town? The Toronto Public Space Committee has at least a dozen campaigns with which you can participate. We’ve got additional ideas for you to get involved. Visit our campaign page and take action now!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your 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

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

On September 26, 2010, Toronto’s Clean Train Coalition hosted an event in Sorauren Park – the Go Electric Music Festival.

Our GreenHeroes Street Team was lucky enough to catch a number of great local musical acts, including Lesley Pike. Lesley performed her song Silver Lining, which can also be heard in our Andrew Ference webisode.

The Clean Train Coalition is an organization working to prevent an influx of diesel trains running from Union Station to Pearson Airport.

The Coalition’s goal is to promote the installation of electric trains, reducing air pollution in the numerous west-end neighborhoods surrounding the train line, such as Parkdale, the Junction and Weston. To learn more, please visit www.cleantrain.ca

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your 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

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Community Clean-up
18Oct
2010

Looking for ways to get involved, right now, in your own backyard? A great way to get started is to join (or start!) your own community clean-up.

An awesome example of communities coming together to clean up is The Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up, which happens every September and October, as thousands of volunteers across Canada clean-up their local shorelines.

If you want to have a say in your community but you’re not politically active, we think this is one of the greatest ways to get your feet wet and take action in your backyard. We’ve got some other ideas on how to take action here!

Here’s Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of the legendary Jacques Cousteau and expedition leader of Blue Legacy International, explaining why you should get involved in a shoreline cleanup. Stay tuned for more on Alexandra Cousteau coming soon!

Besides shoreline cleanups, it’s an annual Earth Day tradition on April 24th for people to clean up their communities, and you’re sure to find projects in your city or town as the date approaches.

But, what’s stopping us from acting right now? All it takes is a few simple things and before you know it, you’ll have your very own community clean up.

What you’ll need:

Garbage bags (we at GreenHeroes recommend using garbage bags made from recycled materials), gardening gloves, shovels, buckets, drinks and snacks. Skip the bottled water and fill everyone’s reusable bottle with some tap water.

Step 1

Form a group of friends, or advertise online and with posters in your neighbourhood to form a group.

Step 2

Choose a clean-up location – like a park, a beach, or any other particularly messy parts near you.

Step 3

Pick-up supplies. A lot of cities will actually provide the supplies if you register your cleanup with them! Examples include Toronto, Kitchener, Ottawa and Halifax.

Step 4

Get cleaning!

Want to be a part of something even bigger? Register your community clean up with the worldwide network of community cleanups, through the United Nations Environment Program’s Clean Up the World campaign.

The project is an online social organizing network that helps local groups around the world connect, share their ideas, and be inspired to take action in your own backyard! Of course, we’ve got our own ideas for taking action!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your 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

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

We at GreenHeroes are inspired daily to take action. We do understand, however, that it can be hard to know where to dig in to solve complex challenges facing our planet.

One of the best ways we’ve found to take action is by looking around in our own backyards for ways we can make a difference. Sometimes the first step is to join in with others on a project or campaign.

As we wrote about last week on the GreenHeroes blog, we were excited about the collective action of thousands of people around the world on 10/10/10.

350.org inspired people from 7,000 communities in 188 countries to convene work parties in their own communities to fight climate change. Here is the video with some of the highlights of that important day.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your 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

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Singer, songwriter, environmental activist and GreenHero Sarah Harmer just cannot be stopped.

Co-founder of Protecting Escarpment and Rural Lands (PERL), she’s just begun a musical tour to promote her newest album, Late Bloomer.

It comes on the heels of her toe-tapping Escarpment Blues tour, which exposed her feelings towards her childhood backyard in the Niagara Escarpment through song, and uncovered the devastating destruction of its biodiversity by developers and industry digging for aggregates.

This October, we will watch PERL stand before the Ontario Municipal Board to defend the escarpment from further invasion. Sarah Harmer took a moment from her busy tour schedule to lend her voice to the GreenHeroes campaign, and to remind us to be the voices for the environment in our own backyards.


It’s been over 5 years, and the work to save the Niagara Escarpment’s Mount Nemo in Burlington, Ontario from a massive LaFarge/Nelson Aggregate open pit quarry continues at a busy pace.

In mid-September the Niagara Escarpment Commission voted in what they called a “precedent setting” vote in favour of processing community organization Protecting Escarpment Rural Land’s (PERL) amendment application to properly designate the land at risk on Mount Nemo based on current science.

This would include recognizing the Grindstone Creek Headwaters Provincially Significant Wetland Complex, and Species at Risk habitats, which were confirmed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in 2006 and 2007.

To have this up-to-date science reflected in the land-use designations of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act (NEPDA) would update much of the subject land from “Escarpment Rural” to “Escarpment Natural” and “Escarpment Protected”.

Aggregate extraction is contemplated in “Escarpment Rural” designated land, but not in “Escarpment Natural” and “Escarpment Protected” land. Getting the proper designations in place would prevent the contemplation of aggregate extraction on most of the LaFarge owned property.

PERL, Halton Region and the City of Burlington have all called for the proper designations to be put in place on this land, in other words to get the planning right, before Ontario tax payers are made to spend millions of dollars in a Joint Board hearing, which is slated to begin in October 2010.

With this decision to process our amendment application the Niagara Escarpment Commission has recognized that it is crucial to have the most current Provincial science reflected in NEPDA land designations.

We are ever more hopeful that good planning will prevail, and the future of Mount Nemo as part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, home to Endangered and Threatened Species and vital source water supply, will be saved for future generations.


The Ontario Municipal Board hearings are currently underway, but it is not too late to sign on to the petition and take action. For more actions you can take to protect Mount Nemo and your community, visit our In My Backyard campaign page.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your 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

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Sarah Harmer is a JUNO award winning singer/songwriter who flexes her musical muscle to protect a world biosphere site.

Sarah grew up with the Niagara Escarpment in her backyard. Today, she is dedicated to its preservation, and to achieve this goal, she co-founded PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) and mounts a concert each summer featuring renowned musicians like Bruce Cockburn and Feist.

“There’s so many places to help the environment wherever you are and whatever your neighbourhood or community is, I think it’s all there to find and it can be right in your neighbourhood, in your own backyard as it was in mine.”

Tell us about the projects or causes you’re involved with that are helping the environment in your community.

We want to hear about your moment of inspiration: enter our contest, or nominate a friend, 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!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your 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

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Calling all environmental film lovers! Starting tonight, Wednesday, October 13th, until Sunday, October 17th, Planet in Focus International Film Festival will be launching the 2010 edition of its festival, with over 100 amazing films from across the planet.

At the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, Director Ron Mann will be showcasing his world-traversing documentary following Canadian Author Margaret Atwood as she travels the globe with her new novel, The Year of the Flood.

Rather than hosting a traditional book tour, Atwood spins the tour on its head, executing a theatrical version of her novel in cities from Edinburgh to London, New York City to Vancouver.

The proceeds of her tour are given to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and other environmental groups. The documentary shines a light on the writing and efforts of Margaret Atwood, and demonstrates hope of bringing the world together for change.

We’re jumping to see Margaret Atwood, who will be present to accept the Planet in Focus Canadian Eco Hero Award along with fellow novelist Graeme Gibson.

For more information, visit Sphinx Productions. To purchase tickets to the film, which is showing on Wednesday, October 13th, at 7:00 PM in Toronto, visit the Planet in Focus site.

Stick around for Friday, October 15th, when the film short GreenHeroes: Sarah Harmer makes it international debut!

You can catch a sneak peak of Sarah Harmer’s webisode here, but you’ll need to join us at Planet in Focus for an airing of the never-before-seen short, which profiles Sarah Harmer’s fight to protect her hometown backyard, parts of the Niagara Escarpment and Mount Nemo in Burlington where she grew up.

A GreenHero she is – the film explores her journey from singer to activist and conservationist, as she co-founds Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL) and tours the country with her music.

The film is one of a series co-produced by our own GreenHeroes, Joan Prowse and John Bessai, also co-founders of CineFocus Canada. Executive Producer and Creative Director of the GreenHeroes Campaign John Bessai said:

“I am very excited that Planet in Focus is part of the GreenHeroes Campaign. The work of PERL is fantastic and we are so happy to be sharing the story of how Sarah Harmer has raised awareness about the ecosystem of her own back yard. We hope that other GreenHeroes will come forward and take part in the GreenHeroes Campaign at www.GreenHeroes.tv and participate in the nominate GreenHero contest and win a chance to be profiled on TVO.”

If you don’t get a chance to attend the film festival on October 15th, you can catch the GreenHeroes TV series, including GreenHeroes: Sarah Harmer, starting on November 2, 2010, on TVO.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your 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

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

It’s the most conscious film festival on the planet, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it!

On September 22, 2010, the GreenHeroes team made a bright appearance at the Planet in Focus International Film Festival press conference at the Royal Ontario Museum, to debut our shiny new GreenHeroes duo and present our 2010 festival entry, GreenHeroes: Sarah Harmer.

The Planet in Focus Film Festival is a one-of-a-kind gathering of film-lovers and environment-lovers, featuring over 100 environmental films from 32 countries.

Planet in Focus also supports youth environmental filmmakers in their Green Sprouts! Showcase at the Bata Shoe Museum, and continues to work towards reducing film productions’ environmental footprints through workshops like the Free Green Screen Toronto Workshops.

At the press conference, we got to speak with Director of Programming, Kathleen Mullen, who unveiled this year’s line-up and tells us some of the films she’s most looking forward to. She explains:

“Our filmmakers prove that important environmental stories are everywhere, and we have worked hard to make available the most engaging stories from all over the planet.”

So what flicks are we stoked to see?

In the Wake of the Flood – Opening night is bound to be huge, with the overwhelming famed Canadian author, Margaret Atwood on hand to present a film based on her new book, The Year of the Flood. The film, created by Ron Mann, features Margaret Atwood traveling the world with her book, and brings attention to the plight of birds. (More details to come tomorrow!)

Climate of Change – Director Brian Hill’s Climate of Change will be showcased on closing night, a documentary profiling the agents behind the movement to combat climate change. From India to Appalachia, the film will leave you inspired to make change. The film is narrated by British poet Simon Armitage and voiced by Oscar winning Actress Tilda Swinton.

Water on the Table – Another amazing documentary, Director Liz Marshall follows Maude Barlow National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, as she journeys to have water declared as a human right by the United Nations.

So why should you go out to Planet in Focus this year?

“As with all environmental films, what happens after you watch them is as important as what takes place on-screen: these films help us imagine more possibilities, and promote a deeper understanding of our world, inspiring us to think more about how we live.”

– Sarah Margolius, Executive Director of Planet in Focus

For more information on the film festival and show times, visit their website at www.planetinfocus.org?

GreenHeroes: Sarah Harmer will be playing on Friday October 15 at 7:15 PM at Toronto’s Al Green Theater so come out and see our GreenHeroes live in action and say hi! And for ideas on how you can follow in Sarah’s footsteps and act in your backyard, visit our In My Backyard campaign page!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your 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

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

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