Age of Union Launches in Vancouver, Discusses 30 by 30 at Film Premiere
On March 23, Age of Union announced a $14.5 million pledge to the BC Parks Foundation, the largest private donation in B.C. conservation history, to protect wild ecosystems that are home to hundreds of threatened species. The first two properties purchased with this gift are B.C.’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.
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 honoured us with his presence. The event was also an opportunity to discuss conservation with guest panellists 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, which aims to protect 30% of the planet’s ecosystems and marine areas by 2030. Nancy Newhouse reminded us of the importance of the 30 by 30 mandate as something upon which we can all focus our conservation and climate change actions around the world.
We are also aware that environmental work should be decolonized and that, more than ever, it’s time 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. Age of Union is 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 tech and environmental leader Dax Dasilva in the summer of 2021, what struck him was how he combined art, film, music, technology, and cultural inclusion in his environmental projects and awareness campaigns — a strategy he called “visionary.” Nancy Newhouse, for her part, explained how this fresh approach was necessary to address the environmental problems we face, where the head and heart must connect and be sources of solutions.
We are inspired by an inclusive model where everyone — conservationists, economists, business people, politicians, artists, and First Nations representatives — is invited to participate and make a difference at their own level and with their own tools. There is no time for gloom and doom narratives: as the Vancouver event taught us, we must channel this energy into finding solutions and immediate action. We are hopeful for the future — let’s roll up our sleeves and get the work done!