For two decades, Simon ran the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition – a non-profit organization that underscored the power of one person to learn, to listen and to act.
Six million young people from every corner of the globe and from every walk of life chose to learn about the plight of an endangered bear – Canada’s white Kermode, also known as the spirit or ghost bear.
The lessons they learned dared them to listen to diverse, divergent perspectives ensuring that their collective voices did more than shine a light on a problem, but offered up solutions of their own.
Their solutions were imperfect, just like the movement, but when all was said and done, they helped create the conditions that saved the bear.
It was a campaign that never sought to create enemies. By working to heal the wounds that divide, this movement was able to work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders to create a lasting solution that could make every Canadian proud.
With the spirit bear saved, the Youth Coalition was able to put itself out of business, for it completed its mission, but its legacy remains. When we learn, listen and act, anything is possible.
It’s this enduring belief that inspired us to spend nearly a decade immersed in the Canadian landscape, documenting the remarkable stories of the nation’s biodiversity. Throughout our journey, we’ve travelled to small town Saskatchewan and big city Toronto and everywhere in-between to share our tales and listen to what Canadians think about the environment.
Nature unites us all. By making the seemingly irrelevant relevant, it’s possible to showcase that nothing is black and white and, through better education, a more thoughtful and engaged citizenry is possible – one that intrinsically knows that nature matters.
It’s this journey that transformed a side-of-the-desk passion project into our life’s work and it’s this ideal that has helped inform the next chapter of our journey: the Ghost Bear Institute, a federally incorporated non-profit that, like the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, seeks to inspire, educate and spark a new generation to foster a better balance between people and nature.