Movement Builder | Founder of the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition
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 just 13 years old, Jackson founded the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, leading a network of six million people in over 85 countries to save Canada’s endangered white Kermode, or spirit bear. Through sharing his personal story, Jackson inspires audiences to realize the “power of one” to bring real change, and challenges people to re-think how we tackle complex environmental challenges.
For two decades, Jackson led the campaign to save the spirit bear through his youth coalition, building the organization into the world’s largest youth-led environmental movement. It resulted in the creation of one of the largest land protection measures in North American history, with the last intact habitat of the spirit bear being set aside from development.
In recognition of his work, Jackson was awarded Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, named as one of the “100 Angels of the Earth by UNESCO”, and, most notably, honoured as one of Time magazine’s “Heroes of 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, Jackson is focused on advancing environmental literacy as the co-founder of Nature Labs — a virtual, storytelling-driven high school textbook. Nature Labs aims to build the critical thinking skills necessary to create a more thoughtful citizenry and a more creative workforce — one that strives to find a better balance between the needs of people and nature.
Jackson has contributed to the success of numerous non-profit organizations, having served as a board member of the Jane Goodall Institute, DreamNow, the International Institute for Child Rights and Development, and The WILD Foundation, amongst others. He is also an award-winning photographer and a widely published writer, who has contributed images and chapters to eight books, including A Geography of Hope: Saving Primary Forests, and has served as a columnist for CBC and The Huffington Post.