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Impact


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Impact


The crises facing our living planet can at times feel overwhelming. But remember that taking action is the cure for feeling hopeless. It’s not too late to turn things around if enough of us become involved.
— Jeffrey Gibbs

Key Achievements

Jeffrey's mission is to inspire, educate, and motivate people to protect our threatened planet and, by extension, ourselves. Several thousand young people have participated in the educational travel, volunteer service, and leadership programs he has created and led. For many people, these experiences have been highly formative ones which shaped their values, career choices, and lifestyles. Furthermore, as an advocate and leader, he has inspired and mobilized thousands of people to help protect the indigenous cultures and ecosystems of Haida Gwaii, Borneo, and the Amazon rainforest.

I have such high regard for all you have accomplished...You are amazing...You are an inspiration.
— Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE

Career highlights

  • Co-created (with WWF International Director-General Dr. Claude Martin) the global WWF International Young Volunteers Program.  Participants spend several months in remote areas of developing nations, living with villagers and working alongside local WWF staff on a gamut of community assistance and nature conservation projects — sharing what they have learned through multi-media storytelling. Role included program design, site selection, and staff training in Madagascar, India, Bhutan, Brazil, and the South Pacific.

 

  • Created the LIFEboat Flotilla, a UN-affiliated annual experiential environmental education program, which was at once a large scale ship-based expedition and a traveling conference. Each year the LIFEboat Flotilla brought together two hundred teenagers and one hundred educators (e.g. Dr. Jane Goodall and Jean-Michel Cousteau) on a fleet of fifteen ships for a journey off Canada’s Pacific coast. It was the only program of its kind in the world and it attracted the patronage of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

 

  • Generated over two million dollars for environmental charities and managed the expenditure of those funds.

 

  • Founded several charitable organizations which collaborated with indigenous peoples on seminal multi-year cultural protection and forest conservation initiatives in the Amazon, Borneo, and Haida Gwaii (an island nation located in the North Pacific Ocean). Organized conferences, publicity campaigns, and high-level meetings with UN officials.

 

  • Delivered multi-media presentations/lectures to over 150,000 people across Canada, United States, Australia, England, and Venezuela — including being a three-time keynote presenter at the United Nations Global Youth Forum.

 

  • Documented people, places, and events through his photography. A portfolio can be seen in the Galleries section.

 

Even as a teenager, Jeff understood that people needed to fall in love with nature and find ways to live in balance with it rather than simply exploit it. In his early years, he created clubs for teenagers to experience nature and to become advocates for protecting forests. He launched an incredibly successful group called the Environmental Youth Alliance that galvanized thousands of youth across Canada. He was involved in successful battles to stop flooding of the Amazon and raising support for the Penan people to stop destructive logging in Borneo. Jeff went to work with World Wildlife Fund and spent a lot of time in Madagascar working with youth. So he has developed expertise in projects involving young people and in working in remote places in the world.
— Dr. David Suzuki

Recognition

  • United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honour — laureates include Sir David Attenborough, Wangari Maathai, Dame Jane Goodall, Chico Mendes, and Jacques Cousteau.

 

 

  • MacLean’s Magazine 100 Canadians to Watch.

 

  • CBC Television’s The National Canadian Hero.

 

Defeats

Jeffrey has also experienced several major setbacks and failures over the years. These include his work as a young campaigner helping the indigenous peoples of Borneo in their bid to protect their rainforest homelands and, more recently, his efforts to launch a decentralized arts festival — to be organized and hosted by volunteers in thousands of schools and community venues worldwide — with the goal of engaging millions of people in climate change solutions.

Jeff, you have always been a catalyst for inspiration, creativity, connection, and change. Thanks for also showing your vulnerabilities and not-so successful endeavours. I think too many don’t even try because they are too afraid to fail...it’s all part of the circle. Keep on doing what you are doing ~ the world needs you.
— Marria Gauley

Scroll down to the "Legacy" page below to see quotes and videos from alumni of the programs Jeffrey has spearheaded.

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Legacy


Legacy


The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.
— Jim Carrey

testimonials

TV news stories about the LIFEboat Flotilla program.

"What I remember most about the LIFEboat Flotilla is feeling empowered and inspired by spending time with other youth who also wanted to protect the environment and were working in their own schools and communities to do so. My experiences with LIFE have taught me that creating a more sustainable society involves everything from education to economics, from politics to biology and the process takes place on local scales in our own houses and communities to right up to the global scale at international trade talks and at the United Nations. Pursuing the goal of helping the environment has led me to South and Central America, to a farm in Saskatchewan, to a small island community in British Columbia, to learn about what sustainability means to these communities.

— Lauren Graham, participant, LIFE organization

 

Short video documenting one of the Flotilla journeys.

I’ve always been a caring person but I seemed to gain an amazing sense of clarity on LIFE trips and was able to really be sure of what I cared about the most. Not only that, I became comforted and exhilarated by riding on waves of positive energy generated by so many other people who cared about the same things I did — like how to live a sustainable life and how to ensure that our children will have the opportunity to witness all the natural beauty we have. One of my greatest realizations ever came at the age of 16 as I stood in a sharing circle at the end of LIFEboat Flotilla III, my little candle lighting my nervous face, when I forced myself to say what I so strongly felt: ‘I love the way the most amazing people I have ever met are so different and all the same.’ What an important thing to know.

— Jane Copeland, participant, LIFEboat Flotilla program.

 

Short film made by the first group of WWF International Young Volunteers.

“Back from Madagascar, I noticed that I went there wanting to give a lot but I came back noticing that I’ve received much more! The people are very welcoming and I was easily integrated into community life. I learned the basis of Malagasy language with patience and naturally they showed me their everyday life. I was like an apprentice and I could discover a life simpler than mine, close to nature and where time was stopped. Through dances and songs, walks everyday in the wild nature to meet amazing lemurs or just be sat around a fire at night under a starry sky, I'll keep in mind the unique moments shared with communities and the volunteer team…” 

— Antoine Beaulieu, participant, WWF International Young Volunteers Programme.

 

A TV news story about LIFEquest.

"I joined the LIFEquest program on a team with other global youth. I learned a lot from these youths about environmental issues that affect the earth and everyone. Best of all, I learned how to do something about these problems by learning video production skills that enable me to educate many people. It was my dream to return to Kenya to start a program like LIFEquest. I have since done a lot with my friends who are also interested in supporting our community to develop in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. We have been able to produce a number of videos on the human impacts on our environment, as well as conservation and sustainable development from our local perspective. We have traveled in almost every part of Kenya producing videos on our free time. I've really loved it! To date we have produced at least 65 video documentaries on various issues affecting our people in Kenya, Uganda, and in Sudan. We occasionally crossed the borders into Sudan and Uganda by invitation from youth groups and involved them in talks on various issues affecting us: unemployment, drugs, wars — and their impact on our environment and sustainable development. We continue to work together to improve our understanding of these issues."

— Jack Odongo, participant, LIFEquest program