On March 23, Age of Union announced a $14.5 million pledge to the BC Parks Foundation, the largest private donation in BC conservation history to protect wild ecosystems that are home to hundreds of threatened species. The first two properties purchased with this gift are BC’s Pitt River Watershed, a 733 acre salmon river sanctuary on the doorstep of the Vancouver metropolis, and French Creek Estuary, a critical 23 acre eagle sanctuary on Vancouver Island.
“I want to keep BC beautiful. I want to give back.” – Dax Dasilva
We celebrated the news in Vancouver with an event and film premiere at the JW Marriott Hotel, which brought together nearly 150 citizens, politicians, Indigenous allies and environmentalists, including legendary activist David Suzuki who honored us with his presence. It was also the opportunity to discuss conservation with guest panelists Andrew Day, CEO of the BC Parks Foundation, and Nancy Newhouse, Regional Vice-President of Nature Conservancy of Canada for British Columbia.
Age of Union’s mission is to protect threatened ecosystems and species, such as preserving ancient trees from logging or protecting wetlands from development, ensuring that carbon stocks remain intact, and that species can live free in their natural habitat. As Andrew Day stated during the event, “We are very anthropocentric, so doing things for other species out of selflessness, I think that it’s critical.”
This mission shared by Age of Union, BC Parks and Nature Conservancy of Canada, is also to lead the effort towards the 30 by 30 worldwide initiative that aims to protect 30% of the planet’s ecosystems and marine areas by 2030. Nancy Newhouse reminded us that 30 by 30 is a great mandate upon which we can all focus our conservation and climate change actions around the world.
We are also aware that ecology should be decolonized, and that it’s time more than ever to work hand in hand with First Nations, a task that BC Parks Foundation and Nature Conservancy of Canada have put forward, with multiple examples of leadership. For this reason, Age of Union is very pleased to have such allies in the province, hoping to develop more partnerships with First Nations communities where their knowledge and wisdom of how to care for the land could lead the way.
During his speech, Andrew Day recalled that when he first met Dax Dasilva in the summer of 2021, what struck him was the way in which the tech and environmental leader combined art, film, music, technology, and cultural inclusion in his environmental projects and awareness campaigns—a visionary strategy he said. Nancy Newhouse, for her part, explains how this fresh approach is necessary to address the ecological problems we face, where the head and the heart must connect and be sources of solutions.
We are inspired by an inclusive model where everyone is invited to participate and make a difference at their own level and with their own tools, being conservationists but also economists, business people, politicians, artists, and First Nations representatives, because we need everyone and each skill onboard. There is no time for gloom and doom narratives: as shown at the Vancouver event, we must transform this energy into fuel to find solutions and act now. We are hopeful for the future, let's roll up our sleeves and get the work done!