Age of Union Alliance Celebrates One-Year Anniversary with Progress Updates on Nine Global Projects and New $1 Million Commitment in Indonesia
The non-profit alliance achieved a number of successes over the past year, including the conservation of critically endangered biodiverse forests in Canada, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Peru, and the protection of important species such as leatherback turtles, orangutans, dolphins, lowland gorillas, and much more.
October 19, 2022 (Montreal, Québec) – Age of Union Alliance, the non-profit environmental organization led by Dax Dasilva celebrates its one-year anniversary, nearly completing its initial pledge of $40 million CAD. Age of Union has invested in 10 projects globally, nine of which launched over the last year, with the 10th set to be announced in late 2022, all focusing on boots-on-the-ground conservation and restoration work in critically endangered ecosystems. Age of Union will continue to make additional pledges in the years to come, and strive to fulfill its mission in supporting and making visible a global community of changemakers who protect the planet’s most vulnerable species and habitats.
Timed with its one-year anniversary, Age of Union announces a $1 million USD commitment to the Dulan Forest, expanding on its initial commitment of $100,000 and further strengthening its partnership with Kalaweit. Based in Indonesia, Kalaweit focuses on protecting, restoring, and conserving the Dulan forest located on the Island of Borneo (Central Kalimantan region, Barito Utara District), a critical ecosystem known as one of the richest biologically diverse hot spots in the world home to a hundred orangutans, white-bearded gibbons, Malaysian sun bears, langurs, proboscis monkeys, and clouded leopards, among many other species. This donation will allow Kalaweit to work hand in hand with local villagers to protect 1500 hectares of forest, preventing it from being exploited by mining and palm oil industries. This donation will also go towards expanding the ranger program, constructing efficient water units that will fight forest fires, and funding an aircraft that will be utilized for a protection plan against wildfires, logging, and poaching, in addition to engaging in a reforestation program through aerial seedlings to improve the degraded forest. To mark this collaboration between Age of Union and Kalaweit, the protected area has been renamed the “Kalaweit x Age of Union Reserve”.
“The support we’ve received from Age of Union is a pivotal moment for Indonesia and those indigenous to the Borneo region. It’s with this support that we’re able to work alongside local villagers to protect, restore and conserve a biologically rich ecosystem that has long been a victim of industrial abuse,” says Chanee, President and Founder of Kalaweit. “This donation will be instrumental in implementing critical measures to protect the Dulan forest.”
Age of Union will continue working closely with its partners throughout each stage of their project and make it a priority to visit all conservation sites, ensuring maximal support is provided beyond the initial donation. Dax Dasilva has visited nearly every project, with the remaining trips planned for 2023. Due to this combined effort, Age of Union is able to grasp a broader understanding of the direct actions and efforts on the ground and how their partnership will aid the grassroots organizations’ short and long terms goals, and how it will directly impact dependent communities.
“If there’s one key takeaway from visiting these conservation and restoration projects, it is that in order to inspire and create change, you must join forces with the communities you’re working within,” says Dax Dasilva, Founder of Age of Union. “By doing so, Age of Union has been able to better understand the negative impacts of climate change, harmful human practices, and the invasive commercialization of endangered ecosystems. In addition, this has helped us determine the best approach to heal what’s been damaged without compromising the surrounding dependent communities. It is through collaboration that we are able to create a visible change.”
Since the alliance’s inception, Age of Union has explored 2 creative mediums in communicating the importance of conservation and restoration, spotlighting the critical work being done across some of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Age of Union has produced 4 documentaries, 3 of which have premiered, with the remaining scheduled to premiere within the next year. The documentaries released to date, include CAUGHT, a film in collaboration with Sea Shepherd, that spotlights the consequences of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing off the coast of France, We Are The Saint Lawrence River, a film in partnership with Nature Conservancy of Canada, that shines a light on how society’s behaviour can make a difference in regards to the future of the river, and the dependent communities and wildlife surrounding, and The Heart of A Mission, a film about meeting one of the organization’s first projects, Junglekeepers. Age of Union has also established the Earth Centre, a multi-purpose space based in Montréal, Québec, that acts as the alliance’s headquarters, as well as an interactive space open to the public that showcases the non-profit’s conservation and restoration projects, as well as seasonal exhibitions spotlighting thought-provoking art focusing on the environment.
2021 & 2022 achievements and progress updates on Age of Union’s projects:
National Conservancy of Canada (Québec, Canada): Saint Lawrence River Restoration
- St. Lawrence River ecosystem protection and restoration across 36 projects, from its source to the estuary, freshwater to marine life, as well as shorelines and islands, to ensure maximum conservation of the surrounding habitats. In return strengthening the collaboration between NCC and its partners, including municipal decision-makers, urban planners, and other conservation organizations.
- The Sandbar Restoration of the Barachois-de-Malbaie (Québec) is a major accomplishment this year, restoring and protecting one of the largest wetlands in Gaspé while creating a 520-meter footbridge for cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy nature without compromising the protection of the 240 species of birds among other inhabitants.
BC Parks Foundation (British Columbia, Canada): French Creek estuary and Pitt River watershed sanctuary
- With a record-breaking $14.5 million CAD donation allocated to land protection, BC Parks Foundation acquired 23 acres of coastal forest bordering the French Creek estuary, and 733 acres of riparian forestry and freshwater wetland located in the Upper Pitt River watershed, additional land protection projects will follow in years to come.
- BC Parks Foundation successfully surveyed Upper Pitt properties, which recorded more than 2,000 observations of almost 400 species, including six endangered species.
Junglekeepers (Peru): Las Piedras Amazon Rainforest Sanctuary & Ranger Program Expansion
- Successfully allowed Junglekeepers to add more land concessions to their land protection strategy in order to achieve the conservation of over 50,000 acres of primary Amazon rainforest, home to numerous endangered species and some of the most biodiverse terrestrial habitats on earth.
- The donation provided additional support to enhance the ranger program by adding more rangers and building robust ranger stations, leading to an increase in daily patrols, land monitoring, and the prevention of illegal activities across the protected area.
Forest Health Alliance (Democratic Republic of Congo): Wildlife Corridor Expansion
- As part of the Kahuzi-Itombwe Community Forest Corridor Project, for the first time this year, Forest Health Alliance and Strong Roots Congo were able to help secure land rights and titles for 13 community-managed forests, representing a total of 226,541 hectares of previously unprotected land. The corridor encompasses a mix of deep primary forests, great ape habitats, and villages, that are home to local and indigenous communities.
- Collecting vital climate change data and ensuring a sustainable livelihood for the communities that live on the corridor is another important part of the strategy, making it possible to complete biological surveys, establish brick-making stations to reduce pressure on forest resources, developed a micro-credit program, and procured three micro-climate stations.
Nature Seekers (Trinidad and Tobago): Conservation of Endangered Leatherback Turtle Population
- The partnership ensured a successful leatherback turtle nesting season in 2022, with an increase of overnight ranger patrols and nesting site protection, throughout the months of March to August. This further enabled Nature Seekers and the community of Matura to continue monitoring and collecting data on the ancient species.
- The initiation of artificial hatcheries is one of the species recovery strategies that has been deployed to increase survival rates of leatherback turtle hatchlings, in light of stress factors such as climate change and pollution.
Sea Sheperd (Global): Ocean Patrol
- Funded the Sea Shepherd M/Y Age of Union Vessel, a ship that patrols oceans and fights illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The first mission of the vessel further exposed the slaughter of dolphins off the French Atlantic coast as part of non-selective and dangerous fishing methods, while also documenting the harmful and illegal practice of discarding fish at sea by a supertrawler in the Bay of Biscay.
- The second mission of The Age of Union Sea Shepherd crew consisted of working with law enforcement in Liberia and Benin to stop illegal fishing that was having severe impacts on marine ecosystems and local communities dependent on coastal fishing, in addition to saving the lives of a dozen individuals from a sunken ferry in Liberia.
Kanpé (Haiti) Reforestation and Agroforestry
- Began a reforestation project in Haiti that includes agroforestry and subsistence gardens, allowing for forests to be replanted while locals are able to feed their families and sell sustainably raised crops.
- Kanpé has also been working towards the reintroduction of coffee and cocoa in the mountainous land, and to date, has distributed 10,900 seedlings, 4,300 of which are cocoa seedlings.
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