Most of you know us as Ghost Bear – an organization or a vision or a collection of stories. Allow me to pull back the curtain and introduce you to my co-founder, Simon Jackson.
Simon is a storyteller, connector 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 – also known as the spirit or ghost 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 – the byproduct of diverse stakeholders working together for a common purpose.
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.
Simon is an accomplished motivational speaker with agency Speakers’ Spotlight and an award-winning photographer and a widely published writer. Having contributed images and chapters to eight books, he has also had hundreds of essays and opinion editorials published in newspapers, magazines, academic journals, web sites and textbooks around the world – many underpinned by his photography. Simon has served as a columnist for CBC.ca and the Huffington Post and recently co-authored the book A Geography of Hope: Saving Primary Forests. His writing led him to being named a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers.
And in case you didn’t know, Simon is the person who has been writing most of the stories you read, leading the conversation with diverse citizens on how we can create a world that champions nature literacy and has navigated and DJ’ed every single kilometre (literally) of our journey. Indeed, Simon’s story and his storytelling ability, combined with his understanding of how successful movements are built, is the backbone of Ghost Bear’s work.