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, 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 all-volunteer 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.