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From the Editor
APRIL/MAY 2019: COURAGE
Welcome to the April/May 2019 issue of Parvati Magazine.
This is a special commemorative edition dedicated to Darcy Belanger, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Parvati.org, Director of Professional Development at PCL, husband, son, brother, and friend to many. Darcy died aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019 on his way to champion the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS) at the United Nations Environment Assembly.
For all of our core team at Parvati.org, Darcy was not only a colleague, but a dear friend. In my role as Parvati.org’s founder and CEO, he was my right-hand man, executing directions with complete trust and tremendous effectiveness. More than that, he was the brother I never had.
I vividly remember the first time I saw Darcy. Ten years ago, a mutual friend introduced him to me and my husband Rishi Deva. When he arrived at our Toronto home, I was struck by the noticeable light in his kind eyes. I instantly felt I knew him. But I had no idea what a major role he would play in my life and work.
Generous without hesitation in ways I never expected, Darcy had my back from the outset. Even before he fully understood why I needed to go to the North Pole, he supported my trip there to raise awareness of the melting Arctic sea ice. Then he courageously stepped up as a founding member of the international charity Parvati.org, and became instrumental in our organization. We called him our quarterback for the skillful and energetic way he moved MAPS forward.
He understood that there is a current global ecological and humanitarian crisis that affects all life on Earth. The Arctic sea ice is our planet’s air conditioning system. It balances weather patterns globally so that we have the food and resources we need to survive. But it’s under threat as never before by corporations and governments that seek to profit from its melting.
MAPS responds to this threat by creating the largest ocean preserve in history. Yet even this will only account for 3% of the world’s oceans, in a time when the UN has set an immediate goal to protect 10%.
We stand at a critical moment in human history. We cannot use old methods to solve new problems. The business model of exploiting resources to exhaustion is out of time and toxic. A healthy future depends on people everywhere realizing our interconnection. Parvati.org and MAPS operate within a new paradigm to help spearhead this shift of mindset globally.
Coming from a corporate background, Darcy was challenged at first by our collaborative, non-hierarchical approach that presented a new understanding of success. But being a team builder at heart, he came to embrace it and worked alongside his colleagues to champion MAPS in every way he could.
It is chilling to note that Darcy was on a Boeing 737 Max-8 plane that crashed, because he knew our collective navigation system is faulty, and was representing an urgently needed course correction. MAPS is not only a boundary that protects the Arctic Ocean, nor is it just a boundary that protects the future of the world. MAPS redefines our values to support the collective good.
The day Darcy passed, the world felt smaller and darker. We were in mid-production on this month’s Parvati Magazine, but I knew immediately that we needed to pivot and dedicate this issue to Darcy and everything he gave to MAPS.
There is no way to measure the value of a life. The thought feels like trying to fit the infinite into a teaspoon. As both founder and CEO of Parvati.org and Editor-in-Chief of Parvati Magazine, I offer Darcy’s story through the eyes and hearts of all of us who worked alongside him over the years, to illustrate the courage with which he lived and his lasting effect on us and the world.
Special thanks go to our Art Director, Adam Nathan of Jellyfunk for the spectacular design, and to all the volunteers at Parvati.org who rallied to complete the heartfelt content here. Deep gratitude goes to Ashanka Kananda, Parvati.org Foundation US Board Member, for graciously sponsoring the printing of this magazine.
May we each be inspired by Darcy’s selfless leadership, his humble faith, and his readiness to serve the greater good, beyond any personal discomforts. May we live with profound courage, Darcy-style.
In the dark soil of a farmer’s field, 40 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, a brochure for MAPS lay prominent in the rubble of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
It had been in Darcy’s carry-on bag. Despite the crash that ended every life on board, somehow this paper document emerged intact.
Amid the heat and agitation of our unstable world, a critical truth has risen like a phoenix from the ashes. The discovery of the lone MAPS booklet in the wreckage is more than poignant. It is a providential symbol of survival. And it’s the message Darcy carried in his tireless efforts to protect all life on Earth.
Darcy never lost faith that we could solve the urgent crisis facing the world today. As the brochure shows, there is an immediate and effective response to the immense threat to our planetary food and water supply: MAPS.
Scientists are calling for 50% of the world to be dedicated to conservation areas in order to prevent mass extinction. The area designated by MAPS amounts to approximately 2% of the world’s total surface area. MAPS is not an end goal, but a baseline necessity.
We have tried to confine, define and contain Nature. But Her strength, and the will of the Divine of which She is a part, are so much greater than our limited ego. We need to learn to live in harmony with Her, if we wish to remain living upon Her body. The message of MAPS could not be buried, because truth is an unstoppable voice that will always rise to be heard. Nature will make sure of it.
The truth is that there has never been a better time, or a more urgent need, to act with courage rooted in our interconnection. When we individually calibrate to this reality, we re-orient our collective navigation system to the good of all.
Together, we can transform the world’s smallest ocean into its greatest strength—and literally save the world.
Love our world.
With Darcy, and with all life, now and always, we are one Earth family.