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At the age of 13, Simon founded the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition in the quest to unite the voice of young people to save Canada’s endangered white Kermode or spirit bear. Through the Youth Coalition, Simon led the campaign that helped raise international awareness about the plight of the rare bear, transforming the organization into the world’s largest youth-led environmental movement with a global network of more than 6 million in over 85 countries.
After almost two decades of work, the spirit bear is now saved, with its last intact habitat having been set aside from development through one of the largest land protection measures in North American history.
Simon has received several honours for his work to save the spirit bear, including being awarded Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, being named as one of the 100 Angels of the Earth by UNESCO and, most notably, being honoured as one of Time Magazine’s sixty Heroes for the Planet – one of only six young people selected from around the world. His life’s work was the focus of an internationally televised movie, Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story.
Today, as a storyteller and movement builder, Simon is focused on tackling environmental literacy through the Ghost Bear Institute, an organization he co-founded. Its signature project, Nature Labs, is working to provide thousands of Canadian high school teachers with the critical resources needed to help hundreds of thousands of students understand why nature matters and what they can do to create a better balance.
Simon also remains committed to bettering our public discourse, having led Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s leadership program Hope Decoded, while bringing together diverse voices for ALT/Now – a social residency focused on finding market-based solutions to economic inequality. Simon was also the driving force behind telling the story and mobilizing the public for the BC government’s Year of Science education program and has helped launch new movements, including CoalitionWILD – a mentorship-focused environmental innovation incubator.
As a board member, Simon has contributed to the success of numerous non-profit organizations beyond the Youth Coalition, including the Jane Goodall Institute, DreamNow, the International Institute for Child Rights and Development and The WILD Foundation.
Simon is an accomplished motivational speaker with agency Speakers’ Spotlight, having delivered hundreds of speeches to audiences around the world, and is an award-winning photographer and a widely published writer. He has contributed images and chapters to eight books – including co-authoring the book A Geography of Hope: Saving Primary Forests – and has served as a columnist for CBC and the Huffington Post. Simon’s writing led him to being named a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers.
NATURE LABSAn innovative digital classroom underpinned by immersive storytelling, Nature Labs uses biodiversity as the teaching lens to foster a new generation of environmentally literate citizens.
GHOST BEAR INSTITUTEThe Ghost Bear Institute works to advance unique, storytelling-driven projects that will inspire, educate and spark a new generation to foster a better balance between people and nature.
Represented by Speakers’ Spotlight, Simon travels coast-to-coast-to-coast – and around the world – to share the lessons from his journey in order to underscore the power of one.
AUTHORHaving served as a columnist for CBC.ca and the Huffington Post, Simon is a contributing author to eight books and is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers.
PAST PROJECT: BC’S YEAR OF SCIENCELead storyteller and strategist for the BC government’s Year of Science program, creating and hosting 18 media spots that reached two million viewers, while driving hundreds of high school students to participate in a scholarship contest.
PAST PROJECT: BANFF CENTRE’S ALT/NOWSummit host and adviser to Banff Centre’s ALT/Now, the program worked with entrepreneurial talent to develop innovative market-based solutions that could tackle economic inequality in order to construct better systems.
PAST PROJECT: COALITIONWILDCo-founder and movement builder behind CoalitionWILD, the virtual hub works to mentor rising leaders with the hope of propelling forward innovative ideas that can bridge societal divides in order to solve environmental challenges.
PAST PROJECT: HOPE DECODEDProject Designer and Faculty Lead for Banff Centre’s Hope Decoded, a social residency and global summit that assembled leading and unlikely minds to identify real-world opportunities for fostering a more hopeful society.
LEGACY: SPIRIT BEAR YOUTH COALITIONFounder of the largest youth-led environmental movement in the world, Simon led the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition for nearly two decades as it united the voice of six million people, successfully saving the spirit bear.