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Saving the Planet One Story at a Time
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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

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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

Protecting Birds
15Nov
2010

Over increasingly large areas of the United States, spring now comes unheralded by the return of the birds, and the early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song.”
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring.

Profound words from Rachel Carson, author and biologist, who began to notice a declining bird population back in 1962 when no one else took note. Then, it was pesticides and DDT that were wiping out mass populations of birds.

Years of dedication to conservation and reductions in chemical-use brought back the calls of many birds. But it is now 2010, and millions of birds are still threatened every day.

Migratory birds continue to face challenges in their travels, which is affecting the survival of the global bird population. We were inspired by Bill Lishman’s unique contribution to the preservation of the bird population, work that helped to bring back the Whooping Crane from the brink of extinction, but millions of birds the world over are threatened by barriers to migration and habitat destruction.

You can help save global migratory bird populations by visiting our Taking Flight campaign page!

Many organizations, like the fantastic Birdlife International, are working tirelessly to preserve the paths of migratory birds. Evidently, migratory birds face difficulties worldwide; their Born to Travel campaign works to protect the African-Eurasian flyway for migratory birds from complex and multi-level problems by improving conservation policies and cooperation between countries.

In our cities, these birds are threatened by built structures in our own cities, which they fly into regularly and die. FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Program) is a program based in Toronto (though there are many like it all over North America) which aims to decrease the impacts of the urban landscape as an obstacle on migratory birds.

In our own backyards in Canada, we’re Taking Flight to conserve and protect migratory birds. We’re also keeping an eye on essential bird habitats, working to protect wetlands with Ducks Unlimited Canada and to keep Boreal birds near the Tar Sands healthy and safe with Nature Canada. Visit our campaign page to find out more and to get involved!

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

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Would you believe that the ultra-light aircraft could be as versatile as Bill Lishman himself? Ultra-light flight hasn’t been around for too long, but it’s an incredibly promising technology if you believe in what it can do.

Ultra-light aircrafts are 1 or 2 person airplanes that are both affordable and eco-friendly. They started popping up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and as you can imagine, Bill’s first encounter with ultra-light was quite unique.

It was through a friend that he tried, and fell in love with, hang gliding, but he found the process of hauling the vehicle up the hill to be cumbersome.

So, being the innovator that he is, he attached a go-kart engine to the glider and carved a propeller. In 1978, he became the first in Canada to foot-launch a powered aircraft!

Bill’s aircraft evolved into an intricate version featuring a tail fashioned from two drag rudders, a Chrome-Molly tricycle landing gear with steerable nose-wheel, bungee cord suspension, and a reliable 3 cylinder 2 stroke Konig engine capable of producing 24 horsepower. The aircraft evolved even more, enabling him to use it in his first trip to re-establish a migratory path for the endangered Whooping Crane.

Bill’s latest venture involving ultra-light aviation is on a completely different path of its own; Air First Aid is an innovative first aid tool for emergency humanitarian crises. Find out how you can get involved with the cause by visiting our Taking Flight campaign page!

Back in 1998, Bill was impacted by Hurricane Mitch, which was striking Central America, thousands of kilometers away from him. Thousands died because there were not enough helicopters to send in supplies; Bill knew then that he had to act.

He has now developed an ultra-light aircraft that can deploy up to 200 pounds of cargo. Its strength is in its immediacy, able to deliver water, food, and medicine almost instantly during environmental and natural disasters.

Think of it like first aid of the skies; sure, it’s not a flying hospital, but it can help sustain life in triage situations until more advanced care is available. We think this is one cool idea because Bill’s taken a problem that’s been around for ages, got creative, and put his mind to work to create an innovative solution. Got your own idea to solve an environmental problem? Visit our Taking Flight page for tools to set your ideas in motion!

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



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
Follow us on Twitter
Become our fan on Facebook

William (Bill) Lishman is best known for his part in the film Fly Away Home. You’d be hard pressed to find him on screen though; instead, the film is about him, and his incredibly innovative solution to the problems faced by birds forgetting migration routes.

Lishman devoted years to developing a method of training the birds to follow his ultra-light glider, in spite of naysayers who thought the project would not take flight. It was one of the first examples of Lishman’s innovative spirit, a characteristic that has continued to push him to push the boundaries and develop exciting and forward-thinking projects.

Though Bill is still all about the birds, his work and research span the arts and sciences from sustainable dwellings to fighting to prevent the building of an airport. Have you got an idea that pushes boundaries? Take action and let your ideas soar; as Lishman shows, you never know what might take flight.

“I think most people get an idea and they think, ‘Oh, that’s an outrageous idea, that’ll never come to pass’…[If] you tune into those ideas, and if you’re open to it, it happens.”

– Bill Lishman

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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