Business Opinion

Lightspeed’s Dax Dasilva on the Importance of Environmental Guardianship

Written by Dax Dasilva
Photo by Emma Segal

Dax Dasilva’s new book, Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker, is an impassioned call for leadership, spirituality, and environmental guardianship. It speaks to the immediate need for global change and how our choices are the catalyst, while providing a framework—grounded in four pillars: leadership, culture, spirituality and nature—for changemakers to help spark a better tomorrow. Here he shares his insights to encourage business leaders to evaluate their long-term corporate mission, vision and values in the context of environmental priorities.

Nature is the fourth and final pillar of the Age of Union—my vision for what I call unseparation in a fractured world. This Age of Union can be described as our transition to reconnecting with nature and finding our place within it. If leadership, culture, and spirituality are the catalysts of an Age of Union, nature is its foundation.

Nature has always been close to my heart. Growing up in British Columbia, with its abundance of wild natural settings and wetlands, helped to strengthen this connection I felt. This love of our natural heritage turned into political activism when, at age 17, I protested the clear-cutting of old-growth forest in Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island—a battle we won. 

Though my activism started with those protests, today it permeates all aspects of my life: from adopting the principles of the zero-waste movement and living with a plant-based diet to producing a documentary series on lion conservation and creating change in my own workplace. Most recently, I joined 500,000 people of all ages in the Montreal Climate March led by climate activist Greta Thunberg this past September. Concern for the environment has become an active part of my life because I believe that our actions, great and small, will make a positive impact on our path to union. 

As our myriad civilizations and societies have developed, our exponential hunger for natural resources has forever altered precious lands and waters, cutting deep and permanent scars into our landscapes. In this era, the disturbance we have caused is so great that it has become our responsibility to care for both wildlife and its habitats. On this rich, life-giving planet, we must be on the side of life and guard creation with all of our resolve. Humanity must make a fundamental shift from looking at nature as a reserve of resources at our infinite disposal to embracing our responsibility to protect nature and allow it to thrive. 

The actions we take today can either have a positive or a negative impact decades and centuries from now. We need to unseparate our environment from how we think and live, and find meaning in our daily actions and purpose in saving both our one and only planet and other species in the animal kingdom. We have to start thinking collectively about nurturing and protecting our remaining wild places, questioning both the belief that we are separate from nature and our consumption-intense culture that has brought us to this point. We have to step back and put energy and intention into taking care of nature; we must act before it is all lost. 

Change in human behaviour and activity that impacts our atmosphere cannot come quickly enough. We must globally experiment to find clean alternatives to fossil fuels, explore plant-based diets that reduce the impacts of meat agriculture on our environment, and support efforts both to curb pollution and to halt deforestation. While the changes may seem beyond our personal abilities to make a meaningful difference, it is in fact our individual actions and voices that will determine whether we can achieve a global behavioural reversal — no challenge is beyond the realm of solution when we act together in union for the health and the future of all life on earth.

From cultivating the value of connecting with nature to challenging our cultural preferences and behaviours, and thus ending cruelty, to speaking about nature and the legal rights of living species and their habitats, we must embrace our responsibility as guardians of nature. In the Age of Union, every daily act can be an act of conservation. 

Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker is available for purchase at Indigo.