2017 Canadian Eco-Hero Award
A special launch event honouring the many achievements of a true pioneer, Canadian icon, and environmental education advocate, Dr. Roberta Bondar. The evening includes a talk by Dr. Bondar and an interview conducted by Ziya Tong with audience questions.
Dr. Roberta Bondar is unique, not just for being the world’s first neurologist in space or for her pioneering space medicine research. Academically one of the most distinguished astronauts to have flown in space, Dr. Bondar is also the only astronaut to use fine art photography to explore and reveal Earth’s natural environment from the surface.
Seeing the world through the lenses of a medical doctor, scientist, photographer, astronaut and author, Dr. Roberta Bondar follows in her family’s tradition of excellence in teaching. Trained as a member of NASA’s Earth Observation Team Dr. Bondar expanded her professional photographic expertise. After her space mission, she continued her photographic explorations honing her artistic and technical skills as an honors student in Professional Nature Photography. As a landscape photographer her work is represented by galleries in London, England, Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary and is featured in numerous books and other publications.
Dr. Bondar’s distinctions are many: Officer of the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, the NASA Space Medal, induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and into the International Women’s Forum’s Hall of Fame, 24 honorary doctorates from Canadian and American Universities, and served as Chancellor of Trent University for six years.
Dr. Bondar is a true Renaissance woman and a great Canadian icon who exhibits a human curiosity and unending drive to reach, and help others reach higher capabilities. She exudes genuine wholesomeness, selflessness, and an unassuming style that makes even the most scientifically uninitiated among us feel comfortable, inspired and ready to learn more under her guidance.
Ziya Tong is the co-host of Canada's favourite science program and Discovery’s flagship series, DAILY PLANET. An award–winning science broadcaster, Tong brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for science and the environment to the DAILY PLANET platform, resonating with audiences of all ages.
Prior to joining DAILY PLANET in 2008 ─ the winner of the 2017 Canadian Screen Award for Best News or Information Series ─ she served as a correspondent alongside Neil deGrasse Tyson on PBS’ national series NOVA ScienceNOW. In 2007, Tong served as a host, writer, and director for the Canadian science series THE LEADING EDGE while she served as a host and field producer in New York for PBS' national primetime series, WIRED SCIENCE, produced in conjunction with Wired Magazine. She previously worked in New York in as a senior producer for Orientation.com, a global internet news portal for developing countries partnered with the BBC and UNDP. On Twitter: @ziyatong
Tong has also hosted the CBC Emmy®-nominated series ZeD, a pioneer of open source television, for which she received a Gemini Viewer's Choice Award nomination in 2005. With a passion for culture and world travel, she hosted CTV’s ISLAND ESCAPES, travelling to more than 70 countries, to date. While working in Vancouver in 2003, Tong launched the Ethical Media Division for Cowie and Fox Creative, one of the city’s top interactive agencies, to promote green branding for non-profit and environmental groups.
Tong has interviewed many leading figures during her career, including the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau for the first ministers’ meeting on the state of the climate, leading activist figures including Jane Goodall, Naomi Klein, and Sylvia Earle, as well as prominent Silicon Valley innovators such as Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter. As a strong supporter of public broadcasting, Tong participates in Media that Matters, a conference promoting social change and media activism. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at World Wildlife Fund Canada, and is the founder of the activist collective, Black Sheep.
Currently working on a forthcoming book from Penguin Random House, The Reality Bubble, Tong received her Master’s Degree in communications from McGill University, where she graduated on the Dean's Honour List.