Dax Dasilva: the journey of an atypical entrepreneur turned environmental activist

Age of Union is the name of a new international environmental organization. The nonprofit’s goal is to support and give visibility to a global community of activists committed to protecting endangered species and ecosystems. “The next decade will be decisive” Dax Dasilva believes in this interview, carried out for the first time by the French media. “I want to show through my journey that tapping into our spirituality and passions can help us realize ourselves to be agents of the change we want to see in the world.”

A businessman with an unshakable faith in people, he is grounded in a modern missionary faith that intends to participate in building a better world. “We must change our discourse on the environment. Make it a speech of hope”.

A meeting with an atypical entrepreneur who has become a partner of many NGOs, such as Sea Shepherd in France.

Born in Vancouver, raised in a Ugandan family. He came out as gay from the age of 14 while attending an all-boys Catholic school. At age 16, he participated in vocal demonstrations at the Battle of Clayoquot to protest the cutting of an ancient forest. Called the War in the Woods, this movement is still Canada’s largest act of civil disobedience to date. “That’s when I realized how important the environment is to me” Dax Dasilva tells us.

He will pursue a master’s degree in computer science at the University of British Columbia before turning to religious studies and art history. He later moved to Montreal in 2001 and became a spokesperson for LGBTQ+ rights.

In 2005, Dax Dasilva founded Lightspeed. Founded on the principles of inclusion and diversity, the company is becoming one of Canada’s most promising IT companies. Today, the company, which is listed on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges, provides the most advanced e-commerce platforms. Its IT solutions are used by retail and restaurant professionals in more than 100 countries.

In 2019, he published the book “The Age of Unity”. Based on four pillars – leadership, culture, spirituality and nature – it is intended as a guide for anyone determined to be a change agent. Therefore, Age of Union provides practical advice for those who want to start a business or non-profit organization while promoting environmental protection. “This is a toolkit for anyone who wants to make a difference in any way and realize their potential. I believe that every individual has the power to change our world for the better.”.

Dax Dasilva never hid his appetite for spirituality. “Essentially, spirituality is the belief that we are connected to the rest. We believe that there is something greater beyond us.” Dax admits. “It’s also the fact of saying that we are all equal among humans, but also among different species. Spirituality is something that unites us. If we are equal with animals, it inevitably leads to a desire to protect them.”.

Dax Dasilva for the premiere of CAUGHT in Paris. Translated by Rémy Roche – Photo credit: Cdurable

“Where there is movement there is hope”

Dax Dasilva for Talk was launched in 2021 Age of the Commonwealth Alliance, is a nonprofit organization that supports ground-based projects to protect endangered species and ecosystems around the world. Dax Dasilva then spent $40 million on the foundation.

“I founded Age of Union as an action-oriented environmental initiative because of the urgent need to save the planet’s endangered species and ecosystems.”Age of Union founder explains. “The next decade will be decisive: we must turn what we say about the environment into a message of hope. Through Age of Union’s conservation efforts, we hope to inspire change based on the understanding that all gestures, small and large, taken together can change the course of our planet for the better.”

A year on, the fund has already supported ten projects, from the protection of the Dulan forest in Borneo, threatened by coal mining, with the Kalaweit program, to the protection of the Las Piedras river in Peru with the JungleKeepers ranger program.

Among other contributions, the foundation donated 4.5 million euros Shepherd of the sea to combat illegal fishing and prevent bycatch of dolphins.

Partnering with Sea Shepherd to protect dolphins

“When we launched Age of Union in October 2021, one of the first partners we wanted to work with was Sea Shepherd” Dax Dasilva says. “Sea Shepherd’s founder, Paul Watson, has been a huge inspiration to me for as long as I can remember. What Sea Shepherd has done over the last 50 years, including saving endangered whale populations, is truly inspiring.”

Its partnership with Sea Shepherd helped finance the ship” M/Y Union Age » For missions in French waters. These missions focus on the illegal catching of dolphins off the French coast, revealing the dramatic consequences of non-selective and dangerous fishing methods in the absence of intervention by the French government.

About 10,000 dolphins are killed each year by unregulated commercial fishing in the Bay of Biscay off France’s Atlantic coast, twice as many as in all other countries.

“The consequences of these illegal actions will continue to destroy our oceans and everything that lives in them unless we act now.” Dax Dasilva reckons. “Although we don’t get to see these magnificent creatures in our daily lives, there is a vast underwater world and we have shared just a small piece of how important they are to us and our environment. We cannot turn a blind eye and let them. our most precious species get caught in these nets.”

“It brought together Age of Union and Sea Shepherd – a mission to save marine wildlife and protect fragile ocean ecosystems. While many people are concerned about the fishing methods practiced in France, perhaps the French government will enforce the laws better. This aims to protect species.”

This is the purpose of CAUGHT, which looks at the mission dolphin. For Dax Dasilva “The only way to save ocean ecosystems and protect important creatures like dolphins is to understand what’s going on beyond what we see”.

When asked which personality inspires him today, Dax Dasilva doesn’t hesitate: “Lamya Essemlali!” (President of Sea Shepherd France). “Lamya really embodies these agents of change. She is the hero of the film and a woman of action.”.

Dax Dasilva and Lamya Essemlali at the film preview at the Grand Rex in Paris – Photo Credit: David Naulin – Cdurable

CAUGHT is part of the official selection of Wildscreen Film Festival 2022. Satisfaction for Dax Dasilva. “Films made around conservation missions supported by Vaghdim aim to help raise awareness and invite people to participate to encourage governments to take action”.

Ours Interview dedicated to Lamya Essemlali, the president of Sea Shepherd also confirms that Caught is currently in discussion with the French Ministry of Environment since the release of the solutions. Just as the power of images allows awareness even among leaders.

Dax Dasilva is not going to be satisfied with this, the next film to be presented to the public is dedicated to the protection of gorillas in the Congo. And here too there is urgency. The mountain gorilla is now threatened with extinction due to the combined effects of poaching, habitat loss and human-induced diseases.

“I believe in the power of art and culture to influence the way we see the world around us”

Center Terre, Age of Union global headquarters and environmental art exhibition space in Montreal, Canada. Photo credit: Commonwealth Age

Waiting for these films to be posted on the foundation’s website, Dax Dasilva has just opened. Central Earth To Montreal. The site features a 10,000 m2 ecological art exhibition space where the public can explore the French coast, the St. Lawrence River, as well as the Peruvian Amazon through photos and videos illustrating the process. conservation of the fund with its partners Sea Shepherd, The Nature Conservancy of Canada and Rangers of the jungle. In the interactive part, visitors will get acquainted with the work of Aude Guivarc’h, an allegory about the state of our planet and the impact of human activity on its health.

“I believe in the power of art and culture to influence the way we see the world around us” Dax Dasilva explains. “As threats old and new continue to threaten Earth, we hope to inspire change by using art to remind humanity not only of its role in destroying precious ecosystems, but also of its responsibility to restore and protect Earth for its natural beauty.”

Center Terre, Age of Union’s global headquarters and environmental art exhibition space in Montreal, Canada – Photo credit: Age of Union

Using his personal journey, Dax Dasilva invented a new approach that combines art, film, music, technology and cultural inclusion in the environmental projects supported by the Foundation. An approach and sources of solutions where the head and the heart are closely related. The entrepreneur-activist invites us to be actors of the change we want to see: “Now is not the time for pessimism. We need to turn this energy into fuel to find solutions and act now. We have hope for the future, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!”

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