Chip Wilson, founder and former CEO of the popular athletic apparel brand Lululemon, just spent $3.2 million to purchase Saturnina, a small Canadian island, and to help preserve two other islands in the Salish Sea to protect them from becoming real estate property for private homes.
The three islands all are home to rare Douglas fir ecosystems and host trees that are nearing 400 years old, including Garry oaks and shore pines. These trees provide a habitat for various at-risk species, and so their protection is of paramount importance.
The efforts to save one of the islands, the West Ballenas, was started in 2020 by a group of students from Ballenas high school. The students started a crowdfunding campaign, collecting donations from all corners of the globe. Wilson matched these donations to help support the cause.
According to The Guardian, Wilson was first inspired to get involved in climate preservation when he went to visit Vancouver’s Stanley Parks. “I thought, if myself and my family ever get a chance, we want to be able to do that for future generations,” he said.
The popularity of privately purchasing land for conservation is gaining steam as more people become aware of the climate crisis, and fear that their governments are failing to meet the challenge.
According to University of British Colombia professor and board member of the Nature Conservancy of Canada Kai Chan, “private land conservation is an important part of the solution.”