“It is our moral obligation to protect the defenseless.”
– Simon Jackson
Recently, I met Simon Jackson. I really enjoy connecting with people, especially leaders who inspire others. You know the kind of person…
An activist with a passion for their cause and an energy that is contagious. After chatting with them, you leave with kind of a buzz. Just by being around them, you’re thinking about what to do next!
I met Simon at a conference where he delivered a keynote lecture describing his story about fighting to save the “Spirit Bear” and the coastal rain forest ecosystem that it calls home. In his talk, Simon told his story of how he became an eco-celebrity – an young activist known around the world for his quest to save the Spirit Bear.
His personal story begins at age seven, when he raised money to save bears at lemonades stands. As a teen, he founded the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition and worked to make sure that young people had a voice for this environmental issue. As a 17 year old, Time Magazine honored Simon Jackson as one of 60 “Heroes for the Planet” for his efforts to save this endangered bear.
With honesty, Simon talked about the ups and downs of being an activist and his campaign for the spirit bear. He talked about bullying in high school, about eating his lunch in washroom stalls, and being an outcast because of his singular passion for the spirit bear. With building enthusiasm, he talked about milestones in the campaign. Some of the victories include, land deals that protect habitat, the naming of the Spirit Bear as the official mammal of our province, and even as an olympic mascot.
Miga – The sea bear is inspired by the legends of the Pacific Northwest First Nations, tales of orca whales that transform into bears when they arrive on land. According to First Nations’ legend, Kermode bears — also known as Spirit Bears — were turned white by Raven to remind people of the Ice Age.
Even with these important victories, Simon is still fighting. His work in not done. His energy, and his passion, are driving him towards new projects and finding new models for how he can make a difference. Keep your eyes on Hollywood for his next project that gets kids making movies for an environmentalism by economics experiment.
Simon is exactly the kind of person that us Terry* folks are inspired by. People who think globally, are involved locally, and act passionately.