I always thought dawn was the end of a good night, not the start of a new day, which might explain my phobia of Breakfast Television. And despite my vocal warnings about the possibility of finding drool on my chin and muttering nonsensical eco gibberish if I were ever to be interviewed before 9am, here I am dragging my butt out of a hotel bed at first light and making my way to Global TV in Montreal. Why did I give up coffee again?
The interview is over before I can even start sending earlobe signals to my family in town and I’m off to Tommy Shnurmacher’s AM talk show on CJAD. As I sit in the lobby waiting for my turn, I hear the tail end of Shnurmacher’s Suzuki diss and I think, damn, if he hates Suzuki he’s going to nail me to the cross. This is, of course, a notoriously conservative talk show host. Then I’m beckoned into the studio, trying to keep the acid in my stomach from spilling up my throat, and take a seat. I brace myself for the worst but before we even go to air Shnurmacher tells me he’s a huge fan of the book and thinks it’s fantastic. I’m speechless, or more relieved. Of course as soon as callers start phoning in Qs about insulation and fire places I realize I must have left my brain on the pillow this morning and start praying that answers will flow from my lips before anyone notices. Luckily they do, the show ends and Shnurmacher’s producer asks me back for repeat phone-in expertise.
Next stop: Coop La Maison Verte, Montreal’s eco general store. The warm, homey shop has a few chairs spilling onto the sunny sidewalk. Inside is a huge selection of green products and a chilled community vibe. I’m here for another interview but I’m just thrilled to meet the shop’s owner, Jason Hughes, who actually came to Toronto years ago to learn the ways of another great green shop, Grassroots!
No time to chat, gotta run to McGill’s radio station where a time warp swallows me up and spits me out in the miked chair of one of my sister’s friends from back in the day, Ryan Young, who just so happens to be interviewing me. We used to all get nutty together way back when. Ah good times. More run ins at CBC radio where my second cousin, twice removed, Dimitri and I catch up for the first time since a wedding back in the Grunge days and my man’s grandmother sweetly calls in to the CBC Radio Noon show I’m chatting on. This is what happens when you go home again. There’s a completely biased group of uncles, cousins and friends yelling ‘go green team’ as you run the 20 mile. How can I complain?
The most hardcore and inspiring environmentalists I come across, though, come in powerful pint-sized packages. There’s lovely nine-year-old Sierra who tells me about her political fight to stop highrises and pollution in her neck of the island and sleeps with her copy of Ecoholic under her pillow. Eight-year-old Nicholas who explains how the forest is the planet’s lungs and how upset he was to see a bottle of Coke floating in a photo of the Amazon river. And little six-year-old Michael, who’s puzzled by why anyone would ever need anything but peddle-power to run the electric bike he saw on TV. These kids can tell you more about saving the planet in one breath than most first-year environmental studies majors and I can’t help but get excited by the idea that this next wave of eco warriors is going to get us past the point of green chit chat and move us towards the real change we need to see in the world. Can’t wait.
Now, if only I can get some bagels before I boot it to Ottawa.