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The Power of One

I was seven-years-old when I was lucky enough to discover my passion for bears and learned first hand, through a lemonade stand and a couple of letters in support of protecting Alaska’s Kodiak bears, that each person – no matter their age – can make a difference for all life. It was the most important lesson I ever learned and it was the foundation from which I’ve built my life, my quest to give a voice to the spirit bear.

The Spirit Bear Youth Coalition now spans more than 70 countries and enjoys the support of more than 6 million young people, all of whom have helped protect two-thirds of the spirit bear’s last intact habitat. We’ve reunited the team responsible for Lion King to help us produce The Spirit Bear: a major CGI Hollywood animated movie that, when released to theatres worldwide, will see a portion of every ticket sold go directly back toward helping save its namesake by protecting the final, unprotected third of the bear’s habitat.

The journey from middle school letter writing campaign to our forthcoming Hollywood movie has been both remarkable and humbling, but began with that belief in a single, but powerful idea: that each person can make a difference.

Anyone could have done what I’ve done for any issue that they believe in – whether it’s trying to protect a peregrine falcon’s nest in their neighborhood or trying to rid the world of cancer, there are simply no insignificant endeavors. Every time someone stands up to help improve the lot of others, they are helping to create a better world. I was driven by my passion and the good fortune of knowing, thanks to my luck with the lemonade stand at the age of seven, that I could succeed. And in creating an organization that has united the unengaged teenager in New York City with the isolated student in rural Klemtu, British Columbia with the voiceless child in the war-torn suburbs of Baghdad, Iraq, in order to give a voice to a creature that did not have one, I’d like to think we helped create a mechanism of hope.

Today I believe our greatest challenge must be to illustrate that the greatest sin is not trying and that by trying, together - as one voice - our dreams are possible and our missions are most certainly winnable. After all, we are the voices for the sick, the poor, the children, the dreamers…and the bears. It is our most important endeavor and our greatest tool for building a better tomorrow.

For me, it begins by saving this irreplaceable bear and if together we can succeed in saving the spirit bear, we will have succeeded in something far greater: We will have been able to prove that a young person with no remarkable skills, or intellect, but simply a passion, can take hold of a cause and unite the world.

And that’s the Power of One.

D. Simon Jackson

Founder and Chairman, Spirit Bear Youth Coalition