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It is Spring and the world is waking up. Take a walk and listen to the birds sing in the trees and witness the radiant flowers as they come into bloom. These are all hopeful signs amidst the waiting and worry that comes with an unprecedented worldwide pandemic that has stopped the usual hustle and bustle in its tracks.

For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day tomorrow we wanted to release this music video. Back in 1970, an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara created a worldwide environment movement that continues today. The question we ask is WHY have we not progressed with the environmental cause as quickly as the women’s and civil rights movement which began at the same time? 

This call to action song is written and performed by Green Heroes’ composer, Chris Birkett. The video was directed, shot and edited by Joan Prowse, co-creator of the TV series Green Heroes. Appearing in the video is Tristan Avakian on Electric Ud, Natalie Wong on Violin, Jeremy Edwardes on Harmonica and Shari Tallon on keys. For the song itself all instruments were played by Chris Birkett except for the Harmonica. Video was shot on location in Montreal and the Gatineau Mountains in Quebec and in downtown Toronto. 

As an anniversary gift to Mother Earth, let’s do what we can to catch the wave of people who are waking up during this global lockdown with thoughts and ideas about changing the way we live to put people and the planet first.

Please share widely and remember there’s never a better time to “wake up and know the truth, this world was made for all”. 

Green Heroes’ composer latest video release carries an important message for all

By Joan Prowse, Green Heroes co-founder

Five years ago today, in the midst of creating our first season of TV documentaries for TVO and building our Green Heroes web channel, my co-producer, John Bessai, received this text from our web developer:

Green Heroes.tv is now live!

It was an incredible feeling – after two years of development and pre-production, Green Heroes was no longer merely an idea, it was a reality. Since then we’ve gone on to tell stories and promote campaigns of 45 remarkable individuals who faced real challenges on the road to environmental success.

One of our goals was to include our audience in the conversation, at a time when social media was and crowd-sourcing was in its infancy. For example, in our first season we ran a “nominate a Green Hero” contest asking fans to upload videos and stories about someone who had made a difference in their community. The winner  was Mary Gorman, a journalist and fisherman’s wife who successfully stopped oil and gas development on the shores of her Nova Scotia home. She embodies the energy, drive and commitment to change that can inspire us all.

Watch her story here and look for her as our featured hero and campaign later this month.

In the meantime, why not take a moment and share our logo on your social media sites and let others know what Green Heroes has meant to you?

Or just wish us a Happy Birthday as we celebrate five years of saving the planet, one story at a time.

 

Mary Gorman poses for us in her 100% recycled GreenHeroes t-shirt

Mary Gorman poses for us in her 100% recycled GreenHeroes t-shirt

From left to right: Emily Hunter, John Bessai and Joan Prowse

From left to right: Emily Hunter, John Bessai and Joan Prowse

Green Heroes producers, John Bessai and Joan Prowse, and Green Hero, Emily Hunter, were selected to join 600+ Canadians for climate action training by Nobel Prize winner and An Inconvenient Truth author, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore in Toronto on July 9 and 10.

While the doom and gloom of the 2007 Academy award winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, woke people up to the problem of climate change, Gore’s latest message is one of encouragement as he asked his newest recruits to spread a message of optimism and hope.

“We need to change laws, not just light bulbs. There are more people working in Green Energy than in the tar sands, but we need to get that message out.”

Gore was referring to the surprising number of Canadians polled recently (54%) who mistakenly believed half of Canada’s revenue came from tar sands development, when, in fact, the number of direct jobs created by the clean-tech sector (solar and wind are two examples) is equal to the number of jobs created by the tar sands.

Joan Prowse was impressed by the breadth of people selected to be part of the growing ranks of presenters. “I’m really honoured to have gained new insight from Al Gore, along with some amazing slides and well-researched facts I can use to help spread the word that climate change is real”, she said.

John Bessai said he “learned a surprising amount about how climate change is intensifying and how the facts we were shown correlate with news report about climate disasters – like the recent fires and drought in western Canada – that come at a great personal and economic cost.”

As Canadians head toward a federal election in October and the Paris Climate talks in December, Gore’s parting words ring true:

“We’re going to win this one – but we’ve got to speed it up.”

Time to get moving…

We lost a truly great Canadian and storyteller today. Sad is too small a word to sum up the loss I felt when hearing about Farley Mowat passing away. I met him on several occasions first as a proud Canadian nationalist defending our distinct Canadian culture during the 1988 Free Trade debate and later as a producer of three biography series Lucky Breaks (2000), Northern Lights (2005) and Green Heroes (2013) for my production company CineFocus Canada.

My visit to his summer home in Cape Breton to film this segment of Green Heroes captured a man, though in his 90s, in fine form. After our interview we went to his writing room to get shots of him at work (writing still on a manual Underwood typewriter.) As we set up I said, “I bet you’ve done this a thousand times.” “Oh no, he replied, you’re the first camera to come up here.” I’m not sure if he was teasing but it certainly added to the distinct honour of being inside Farley’s writing world.

Feisty and fun loving is his how I’ll remember him. As he walked with wife Claire and dog Chester, he stopped in his vegetable garden. He lifted the one remaining squash in the late summer light and recited this famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: …It was a happy scene that day and he was a gracious host.

Farley’s stories gave me a deep love for the North, for Nature and our Native land. His outspoken activism showed me how important it is to protect all that makes this country great. We’ll remember you and carry on your fight to protect Mother Earth and all her creations. Rest in Peace Farley Mowat.

Farley Mowat with GreenHeroes producer Joan Prowse

Farley Mowat with GreenHeroes producer Joan Prowse

Planet in Focus, Canada’s largest environmental film festival opens Thursday, November 21 featuring an  array of films and events that includes our own Green Heroes: Back to Nature TV show and its new companion mobile app.

The Festival kicks off with an opening night celebration with Canadian eco-hero tribute to Inuit director Zacharias Kunuk (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner) and the premiere of John Walker’s latest documentary, Arctic Defenders.

The festival has something for everyone. School field trips to see Rob Stewart’s ‘Revolution’ and TVO’s ‘The Water Brothers’, an industry day, pitching and award competitions, and this year’s international eco-hero winner, Col. Chris Hadfield’s appearance on closing night, Sunday November 24.

Green Heroes is proud to have Back to Nature screen as part of Green Family day on Saturday morning at the AGO. The documentary explores the issue of Nature Deficit disorder with commentary from twelve year old Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Shaun Majumder, Edward Burtynsky, Andrew Nikiforuk, Robert Bateman, Olivia Chow and more.

This free 9 a.m screening, at the AGO, is follwed by a Q & A with Ta’Kaiya and a demonstration of our new Green Heroes Academy app. Afterwards families can try out actions in the Back to Nature mission aimed at getting kids and their parents to re-connect with the great outdoors.


Green Heroes would like to offer a free screening pass to the Planet in Focus film festival to the first person who posts a picture action from the ‘Back to Nature’ mission in the  Green Heroes Academy app. Users will have to join the Green Heroes Academy Facebook page to have their picture post on Facebook.

1) Play or Download the Green Heroes Academy on your mobile device @ www.academy.greenheroes.tv

2) Join the ‘Green Heroes Academy‘ Group on Facebook

3) Select the Back to Nature mission in the app and do any of the photo missions!

4) Post to Facebook or tweet about it with #greenheroestv

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