Grief has been expressed for Darcy Belanger, a Canadian construction executive and environmental campaigner who was among 157 passengers killed in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on 10 March.
Born in 1972, Belanger had recently been promoted to the role of director of professional development for the US operations of the Edmonton, Alberta-based construction company, PCL Construction.
He had moved to PCL’s Denver, Colorado office to take up the job two years ago, reports The Denver Post.Â Â
But it was in his volunteer capacity as an environmental campaigner that he died when the plane crashed minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa airport en route to Nairobi, Kenya, where Belanger was to attend the United Nations Environment Assembly commencing the next day.
He was one of 18 Canadians killed in the crash.
An employee of PCL for 14 years, Belanger had, in his spare time and with his own raised funds, co-founded the environmental group Parvati.org, which campaigns to have the Arctic Ocean north of the Arctic Circle declared an international park.
At the UN assembly he was slated to meet with environment ministers from around the world to promote the plan, called MAPS, an acronym for the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary.
Parvati.org has published Belanger’s last video message, filmed before taking off from Washington DC for Africa, in which he says he is "super-excited" about the campaign effort.
Parvati.org called Belanger "truly a champion and a force of nature" in a statement Tuesday, 11 March.Â Â
"He would boldly approach the highest-ranking officials to engage them on MAPS and humbly serve alongside any willing volunteer," Parvati.org said. "His unofficial title within Parvati.org was ‘quarterback’ as he helped move MAPS forward at all levels."
The statement said Belanger had personally brought the MAPS Treaty to major UN climate conferences in Paris, Marrakech, Bonn, New York and to other international gatherings.
Image: Darcy Belanger, a Canadian construction executive and environmental campaigner (From his last video message)