We live in a time where we are hyper-aware of the climate crisis. Broadcast news, social media, and the massive Climate Clock in New York City remind us of the little time we have left before the environmental damage on Earth is irreversible. This awareness is incredibly important, but it is simultaneously frightening because alongside it comes a narrative of helplessness.

Dax Dasilva wants to change that. The same entrepreneurial spirit that drove him to create Lightspeed—a tech start-up founded in Montreal in 2005 that innovated commerce software for service providers in retail, food, and hospitality—is ingrained in his organization committed to environmental conservation, Age of Union. It is this “energy and urgency of a start-up,” Dasilva explains, that he and the local and Indigenous grassroots conservation projects he partners with channel in order to “protect threatened ecosystems and endangered wildlife around the globe.”

Activist, Dax Dasilva. Photography ALAN KATOWITZ.

It is not just Dasilva’s business mind that allows Age of Union to fight the ticking clock and change the rhetoric about climate change from one of panic to one of optimism, but also his long-held values. He grew up in beautiful British Columbia, surrounded by the sweeping natural landscapes of Canada’s west coast. His passion for environmental activism was fostered early; as a teenager, he protested deforestation at Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island.

When he moved to Montreal, Dasilva continued to be inspired by nature, particularly by the St. Lawrence River, a crucial element of the ecosystems in eastern Canada. Of Age of Union’s 10 conservation projects worldwide, two are in the province where Dasilva’s love for the environment was born, British Columbia, and two are here in Quebec, where Age of Union was founded. The other eight span equatorial tropical rainforests of the Peruvian Amazon, Congo Basin, and Borneo, Indonesia, the Caribbean in Trinidad and Haiti, and a ship that fights illegal fishing with West African nations.Age of Union is in large part thanks to Dasilva’s mind and vision, but it is also indebted to the communities and conservation projects that he works alongside. In this sense, it is a company that thrives on connection, which is the very theme of this edition. Even the name “Age of Union” symbolizes the importance of coming together to combat climate disaster or, as Dasilva says himself, of “bringing people together to make this the ‘Decade of Action’ for our home planet.”

This is where spirituality comes in: “it’s a foundational spiritual change that needs to happen,” Dasilva explains. “If we can better understand our interconnectedness with nature,” we have a better chance to reprioritize in order to address climate change. After all, we are but one species on a planet full of diverse organisms; it is our duty to protect them, ourselves, and future generations from the harm that we have helped to create.

Dasilva in front of the Union Sea Shepherd Vessel. Photography AOU.

Majoring in computer science, art history, and religion at the University of British Columbia, neither spirituality nor interdisciplinary approaches are new to Dasilva. He was drawn to these programs due to the strong presence of artists, designers, priests, and nuns in his family. Those courses were “planting seeds of interest” that later informed Never Apart, a non-profit gallery he started for emerging artists.

It is no wonder, then, that Age of Union invites us into their projects through art. They produce environmental short- and feature-length documentaries that portray environmental changemakers. Their 2023 film, Wildcat, was awarded the News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Nature Documentary. You can even enjoy and learn from one of their documentaries on your next Air Canada flight, as they have since partnered with the airline to feature their films in the Our Planet section of the in-flight entertainment system.

Age of Union’s newest exhibition, The Black Hole Experience (BHX) mobile exhibition, premiered on May 21, 2024, at C2 Montreal and will go on to tour North America’s major festivals and cities. This 53-foot immersive, expandable trailer “symbolizes exploring spirituality in the modern age, acting as a rest for humankind,” Dasilva says. He adds that “by confronting the unknown” in this 1000 sq. ft. space fitted with an LED tunnel leading to a black hole projection chamber, “we unlock our potential for growth, igniting the next generation of changemakers and raising collective consciousness.”

This quote is poignant and applicable to more than the BHX: in order to forge connections, we must confront the unknown. In a world where polarity makes the headlines and thus dominates our media consumption, we must do like Dasilva and strive for hope rather than fear, solutions rather than helplessness.

For more information about Age of Union and how to experience BHX, visit

By Jenn Campbell

Montreal-based luxury lifestyle social magazine. for lovers of: parties, solid fashion, fine eats, sexy escapes, the best in fitness and health trends, motivating quotage, good pop and other culture, celebrity fabulousness and the whole luxury lifestyle landscape in general.

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