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  Weekly Feature (August 3, 2008)


Who is Simon Jackson?
Jennifer's Weekly Feature



Simon Jackson is a young Canadian teenager who is fighting for the life of Canada's rare, great white Kermode bear, or Spirit Bear.  These bears look a little like polar bears, but they are only found here on the west coast of BC, and there are currently less than 400 of them.  They're in danger because we keep cutting down the trees in their forest home, upsetting the careful balance of the fragile ecosystem (naturally occurring system of life) they need to live.  Logging their forest will mean the end of this wild and majestic relative of the black bear.

SBYC: Spirit Bear Youth Coalition

Jackson, at 13, became interested in the fate of BC's rare, white Spirit bear in its central west coast habitat.  So he started the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition,  Begun by just three of Simon's friends in the basement of Jackson's North Shore home, it now is 6 million young people strong, from 65 different countries, and is now the only youth-led environmental group in the world.

Is There A Movie?

Yes, there is.  There are two movies.  One of them, The Spirit Bear, is animated, or cartoon-like, and it's the only movie ever made solely to preserve an endangered species.  Another animated movie, Finding Nemo, made $300 million.  It's hoped that this animated movie too will be similarly successful because its profits will go to the Spirit Bear fight.  The other, a TV movie of the week, is Spirit Bear:  the Simon Jackson Story, done by CTV.  It is about Simon's life and his quest to protect our great Spirit Bear (so-called because we believe spirits or ghosts are white).  It's Hollywood-ized, with some things changed, but essentially it's faithful to the basics of this story.  There's even a short, CTV video of the making of the movie.

One Person

Jackson, at age 7, entered the fight to save another bear, the Kodiak bear, by writing letters and raising money through a homemade lemonade stand.  That fight was successful and he began to believe that "one person no matter their age, no matter where they live can make a difference for all life.  Winning that fight was "a gift of hope" that has spurred Jackson to believe that change is possible, and one person can indeed make a difference.


What Can i Do?

There are several ways you can help, and they're all listed on the website.  You can go to the website and send an already-written email to the Premier who's promised to protect this bear in its 80,000 hectare Green wilderness.  Just add your name and email address.  Or join the Coalition - everyone, not just youth, is welcome. Or make a donation to help the fight.  There's even a Schools Program for $30.00.  Voice added to voice makes a difference.  "Like ripples in a pond, this is how we will save our spirit bear."


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The Grouse Grind

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