Darcy Belanger, Ernie Belanger, Carolyn Belanger

A Son and Brother, Raised to Care for Nature

Darcy’s journey to become Director of Strategic Initiatives for Parvati.org started in childhood with the influence of his father Ernie. A man who connected to the Creator through the experience of the natural world, Darcy’s father made sure to share his values about the environment with his son, such as respecting Nature and looking to its inherent wisdom for guidance. Darcy observed his father cherishing the outdoors and believing that the Creator gave Nature for the wellness of mankind.

Growing up in the boreal forests of central Alberta, Canada, Darcy had access to all that Mother Nature provided. He was encouraged to be creative and to explore his environment in every way a child could: playing in the trees and streams, eating ripe Saskatoon berries from the bushes, enjoying the company of farm animals, and planting and harvesting a garden. In the winter months, he enjoyed skiing and tobogganing. He experienced Nature in its pristine state. Unconstrained and uninterfered-with, Nature was a self-regulating system that stabilized his surroundings. This led to Darcy’s understanding of the interconnectedness of the environment and the importance of balance in the natural world.

As an adult, when Darcy heard reports of the polar ice melting, he sensed it was more dire than the media let on. Dramatically melting ice in such a short timespan was contrary to what he’d learned about Nature’s balance in childhood. Initially, he continued to live his life as usual, but concern was growing in his mind.  

In 2012, he came to know of Amma, a humanitarian whose endless devotion to providing aid to those in need helped millions of people find refuge from environmental disasters, economic inequality, and other unfortunate circumstances. Amma’s selfless service made Darcy reflect on the possibility of broadening his own contribution to the world. He felt inspired to undertake his own environmental endeavour. So when Parvati invited him to join her in founding Parvati.org, he answered the call.

The themes of balance and interconnectedness from Darcy’s childhood were front and center in the work of Parvati.org. The Arctic sea ice is the Earth’s air conditioning system, keeping global temperatures within natural, life-sustaining ranges. We’ve already lost approximately 75% of the Arctic summer sea ice compared with 50 years ago, which means the sun is now heating the ocean to never previously recorded temperatures. Parvati established that the best way to address this was to protect the Arctic Ocean completely from exploitation. And so the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS) was conceived. Darcy, along with fellow concerned citizens volunteering for Parvati.org, spread the word about MAPS ever since.

Already in a full-time day job, Darcy focused much of his personal time on his goal of getting commitments from world leaders to support the creation of MAPS. Whenever he felt overwhelmed or hopeless, he looked to Amma’s example for inspiration: one person can make a difference. So he continued his good work in service of the planet.

He worked so hard, giving himself to his passion of helping Nature and helping all of us, despite both personal and financial cost. He worked late nights, missed holidays, and took long international flights at his own expense to attend environment and climate conferences around the world, often with no turnaround time before heading back to his day job. It was all a testament to Darcy’s discipline and commitment. As a result, he, a concerned citizen with no formal environmental training, attended four United Nations Conventions on Climate Change, two United Nations General Assemblies, and a Climate Action Pacific Partnership gathering, and gained audiences with world leaders. He admitted to me that he was deeply intimidated in these situations, but put his own uncomfortable feelings aside to reach his objective.   

Darcy was driven to preserve Nature’s beauty and balance for the benefit of all, and is a shining example of counteracting the apathy that most of us are challenged with when faced with large-scale global issues. It’s easy to feel something is too big for us to do anything about, no matter how much we care. But Darcy showed us just how much is possible. He demonstrated how to get out of our comfort zones and bring about the change we want to see.

There is more to life than working and playing. There is purpose in serving the greater good, and life is more fulfilling when we pursue it with passion. Let Darcy’s actions be our inspiration because at the end of the day, he wasn’t a man with superhuman capabilities. He was a man dedicated to what he loved, serving the world by taking action.

From a childhood immersed in Nature to becoming the Director of Strategic Initiatives for an environmental group he co-founded, Darcy is our example of how to make the world a better place through selfless service. There is no better way to honour his legacy than to do good work yourself. Don’t hesitate. There is no better time than now. Let his inspiration motivate you to action.

By Carolyn Belanger and Ernie Belanger, Darcy’s sister and father