Conservation guru Yoko Lu is helping local groups create change.
#25 - YOKO LU
HOMETOWN: Richmond, British Columbia
For people like Yoko Lu, care and compassion for the environment started at a young age. “Growing up in China and Japan, I stayed up well past my bed time, reading on nature, biodiversity and conservation,” Yoko mentioned to us. “Since immigrating to Canada with my family at the age of nine, I have truly learned the value and importance of our natural environment.”
Being an environmental warrior and leader doesn’t have to be directly related to having a fancy title. Time and time again, Yoko has demonstrated her ability to contribute to a cause in meaningful ways. She’s been an Eco-Ranger with the Stanley Park Ecological Society, a Marine Educator with the Vancouver Aquarium, a site coordinator with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, and a Board Director with local non-profit Sustainable SFU.
Yoko’s also been one to assess her surroundings, understand where gaps exist, and take action to fill those voids. It’s that process that led her and a friend to creating the Wilderness Conservation Club at SFU in 2012. The goal of the club was two-fold: to engage SFU students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines in conservation, and to generate some funding for local conservation groups. Fundraisers are completed on a regular basis to complete these goals, with the funding going to select groups, including the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC and the Stanley Park Ecological Society.
Yoko believes we need to work on conservation and biodiversity through multi-cultural dialogues and discussions - an approach that would truly reflect Canada’s demographic composition. “As a multicultural country, Canada is unique in cultural diversity - and everyone should be approached and engaged in environmental discussions.”
Yoko’s biggest ambition is to ignite conservation discussions in countries and communities that have traditionally left that frame out of the conversation. “I have discovered that countries such as China and Japan barely touch environmental issues through social media and personal communication. I hope to become quadrilingual in English, French, Japanese, and Chinese and connect countries like China and Japan to share same passion and collaborate with each other.”
That’s why Yoko’s next initiative is to start an international non-profit that looks to bring developing countries into the wildlife conservation discussion. “Language conservation, along with culture, is missed by many and it should be incorporated into biodiversity and conservation. Everyone, regardless of where they are coming from, can join the global wildlife and environmental conservation movement. With this conversation, local citizens can learn and further improve the world.”
The Starfish Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 Magazine showcases the 25 finalists from 2015 with longer articles, new pictures, and captivating stories from across Canada. All proceeds directly fund The Starfish Canada's programming to assist youth in understanding and amplifying the environmental issues they're most passionate about.