Simon Jackson spent two decades building the six million-strong Spirit Bear Youth Coalition to help save Canada’s rare white Kermode or spirit bear. Successful in his mission, Simon now dedicates his time to projects that build on the ideals the Youth Coalition championed: Fostering a thoughtful citizenry and creating a better balance between the needs of people and nature.
Simon Jackson is a storyteller and movement builder who has dedicated his life to finding a better balance between the needs of people and nature.
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, Simon is focused on tackling environmental literacy in Canada’s high schools through his new venture, Nature Labs. Using immersive storytelling to bring to life an innovative digital classroom that fosters an understanding and appreciation of nature, this platform helps teachers meet curriculum guidelines while providing students with a real-world lens for their lessons.
In addition to his signature projects, Simon 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 and much of his work can be found through the storytelling and education hub, GhostBear.co – a platform he co-founded with his wife, Jill.
NatureLabs.ca | GhostBear.co
An 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 uses award-winning photography and thoughtful commentary to advance unique projects and opportunities that can help people re-imagine and re-engage with 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.
PAST PROJECT: BC’S YEAR OF SCIENCE
Lead 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/NOW
Summit 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: COALITIONWILD
Co-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 DECODED
Project 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 COALITION
Founder 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.
On February 1st, 2016, the government of British Columbia announced yet another land use agreement for Canada’s west coast – or what is now officially known as the Great Bear Rainforest. Built upon the 2001 foundational agreement between multiple stakeholders – including the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition – and advanced through a series of subsequent deals, this latest proclamation truly is news worthy, especially as it protects the Green watershed – the final piece of the puzzle needed to save the white Kermode or spirit bear.
Simon Jackson has served as a board member, adviser or trustee to numerous successful projects and organizations beyond the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, including the Jane Goodall Institute, DreamNow, the International Institute for Child Rights and Development and The WILD Foundation. The following is a partial list of his roles – past and present.
* The Jane Goodall Institute, 2004-2014 Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, Executive Committee Member, Chair of the Advocacy Committee, Chair of the Roots & Shoots Committee and Executive Director Search Committee Member
* Dream Now, 2005-Present Chair, Board of Directors
* International Institute for Child Rights and Development, 2002-Present Member, Board of Directors
* The WILD Foundation, 2011-Present Member, Board of
* 10th World Wilderness Congress, 2011-2013 Member, Executive Committee
* Minister’s Roundtable on Parks Canada, 2009 Member
* Vancouver Non-Partisan Association, 2009-2013 Member, Board of Directors & Co-Vice Chair, 2011 NPA Mayoral Campaign
* Global Youth Fund/Social Creatives, 2002-2014 Member, Board of Directors
* FORED BC, 1999-2009 Chair, Board of Directors
* Thirty for Thirty Make-a-Wish Fundraising Campaign, 2006 Member, Steering Committee
* Institute for Youth Research and Public Policy, 2001-2005 Member, Board of Directors
* Federal Minister of Finance’s Fresh Perspectives Economic Roundtable, 2002 Member
* EnviroCareers, 2001 Member, Advisory Board of Directors
* Toyota Earth Day Canada Scholarship, 2004-2012 Member, Regional and National Selection Committee
* TD Canada Trust Community Service Scholarships, 2002-2012 Member, Regional and National Selection Committee
* Capilano University Eagle’s Nest Entrepreneur Award, 2011 Member, Selection Committee