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.
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.
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 INSTITUTE
The 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.
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.
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.
Young, Green, and Conservative, the New Voting Block – Sept 21, 2008
Apathy really is boring, it’s time to engage – March 25th, 2009
Don’t worry Canada, we will be there – April 13th, 2009
Will the B.C. election prove the naysayers wrong? – May 4th, 2009
Why are we still killing for sport? – June 15th, 2009
Why are politics today such a turnoff? – July 7, 2009
The case for a needless election – September 25th, 2009
We’re not really environmental bad guys, are we? – October 19th, 2009
A flawed plan and a government that won’t say boo – November 19, 2009
Maybe Copenhagen should fail – December 11, 2009
Where have all the bold ideas gone? – June 24, 2010
Charity’s dollars: Don’t knock professional fundraising – October 6, 2010
Angry voters: From B.C. to Capitol Hill, it is not just about taxes – November 5, 2010
Climate change: How do we start caring again?> – Dec 3, 2010
B.C. politics is gearing up for its YouTube moment– January 14, 2011
Taking responsibility for B.C.’s slaughtered sled dogs – February 2, 2011
The wild ride facing B.C.’s newest premier – Feb 28, 2011
From centre stage to the micro-campaign – April 8, 2011
Move aside boomers, we’re heading to the ballot box – April 19, 2011
Power & Politics Interview: Simon joins former CBC Power & Politics host Evan Solomon to discuss an historic forestry deal.