Random Musing: The Plant Artist

I only know his name through others who have mentioned it in passing. However, in the 12 years I’ve lived here, I have often seen him wandering  the numerous trails surrounding our community (although increasingly less so as the area is developed and green space replaced with housing). His presence is  most often announced through the plume of sweet tobacco smoke that always accompanies him on his walks. Often you see him sitting in amongst the trees and plants, head set on, legs crossed, thin, quiet. He acknowledges you but I rarely got the sense he wanted to chat. So I would nod and move on.   Sometimes I would see him early in the morning  sitting on a log, lost in thought, headset on, taking in the view from the top of the hill that overlooks Indian Arm.  Wherever I found  him, either deep in the forest, often in  the company of a neighbour’s dog, or out front, sitting surrounded by the tall summer weeds, it felt to me that nature was necessary for him. That he needed to be a part of it.

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His property stood out from others for the extraordinary beauty of his garden. Large, wild, exotic, beautiful plants flourished under his care. I imagined that he spoke to them, urging them forward. Be bold, he would say to them. And they were.  His garden was so beautiful it was almost outrageous. How could that much wild beauty exist in one small place.  I often walked by his place feeling as though I was looking at a painting or a piece of art work.  And I imagined that all the time he spent meditating in the forests he was gathering strength and inspiration to images.jpegbreathe life into his own family of plants and flowers, his own creation.

I heard through the grapevine that he was sick. Already thin, he seemed to get thinner, smoke with a bit more fury. Still I would see him in all his favourite places and then I heard he had passed away.

I never really spoke with him, I barely knew him. I only benefited from his unique gifts as I think many of us here did.

I often think about how we all live in these neighbourhoods passing each other every day like ships in the night. And then suddenly you realize someone is gone. They’ve left.  I was inexplicably sad to hear that Randy had died. We had gone through multiple rotations of spring, summer, winter and fall together, cells mutating, bodies changing, anonymously passing each other.images-1.jpeg

I like to shout out the names of people who have died when I’m driving, or walking or thinking. To me it’s the only tangible thing we have of those who leave. Their names, out loud connect me to what they offered in beauty, laughs or love. Randy was an artist. That’s how I think of him. And when I say his name I’ll conjure the natural beauty he ushered forth year after year in the little space that he called home.

Thanks Randy.

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Creamy Curry Lime Cauliflower Soup

I found this recipe on 101 Cooks and it is FANTASTIC. Not only that, it’s every bit as easy as it claims to be. I didn’t have yellow curry paste so I used a good heaping tablespoon of curry powder. It gives you the option of coconut milk or cashew milk. I used coconut and squeezed two limes into after it was done with salt to taste. My topping was crushed raw cashews and finely chopped green onions and it was deeeeeeee-licious. There are some great recipes on 101 Cooks so hurry over and check them out. I’m definitely going to be going back for more!

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101 COOKS PHOTO CREDIT

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons yellow curry paste, or more to taste
3 small new potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large head of cauliflower florets (~1 1/2 lb)
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
, plus more to taste
1/2 – 1 cup cashew milk or coconut milk
1 lime

to serve: croutons, or (as pictured) toasted pine nuts, fried shallots, hemp seeds, and more of the yellow curry paste whisked with a bit of shallot oil

Pour the olive oil into a large pot over medium-high heat. When hot, stir in the onion, and garlic. Sauté for a couple minutes, just long enough for things to soften up. Stir in the curry paste, potatoes, cauliflower, and salt, and allow to cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add 4 1/2 cups of water, and bring just to a boil. Dial back the heat and simmer just long enough for the cauliflower and potatoes to get tender throughout, another 5-10 minutes. Immediately remove the soup from heat, and transfer to a high-speed blender (in batches, if necessary). Alternately, you can use a hand blender directly in the pot. Stir in the cashew milk. And here’s the make or break step – add more salt if needed, and a good amount of fresh lime juice. Adjust until the seasoning is balanced and just right. It should taste bright and sharp, and delicious. Serve sprinkled with any/all of the suggested toppings.

Serves 8.

PREP TIME: 10 MIN – COOK TIME: 15 MIN

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Let’s make canada #ivoryfreecanada Minister McKenna

On March 14th Elephanatics sent a letter to Minister McKenna asking the federal government to close the legal trade of ivory in Canada. The letter was signed by members of the BC Legislature, Honourable Mike Farnworth, Jane Thornthwaite) and Parliament of Canada Don Davies, Fin Donnelly and Nathan Erskine-Smith), scientists and environmentalists asking the government for a ban on the import, export, re-export and domestic trade of all elephant ivory.

Some of the signatories include BC SPCA, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, Big Life Foundation, Born Free, World Elephant Day, Stop Ivory and African Wildlife Foundation. Noted elephant research scientists Dr Richard Leakey, Dr Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell, Dr Joyce Poole, Ron Orenstein and Dr Cynthia Moss also put their name to the letter.

A petition with the signatures of over 130,000 private citizens was included with the letter.

Elephanatics has asked for a meeting with the Minister to discuss first steps in making Canada a leader in the protection of elephants. The overwhelming response to the petition, the incredible support by national and international wildlife advocacy organizations, including world re-known scientists and conservationists, suggests that Canadians are ready for Canada to do the right thing for the protection of this magnificent keystone species.

Please write your member of parliament or the Minister (Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca ) in support of our efforts to end the legal trade of ivory in Canada.

Please read and share this letter.

Canadian Domestic Ivory Ban Letter – Mar 14 Final Version Sig

Please share and sign this petition.

Change doesn’t happen without the support of remarkable individuals and organizations. Thanks to everyone who has supported our efforts.

Thanks also to Mia Rabson, Evan Solomon and the many outlets who have published this story including the Globe and Mail, The National Post, Vancouver Sun, Metro News, 24 Hours, USA Today.

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group

https://usa-today-news.com/news/animal-rights-group-says-canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-as-125k-sign-petition

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-animal-rights-organization-says-canada-should-ban-sale-of-elephant/

http://www.news1130.com/2018/03/18/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group/

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group-1.3847959

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/greenpage/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group-477204103.html

 

http://www.capebretonpost.com/news/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group-194545/

 

https://www.thetelegram.com/news/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group-194545/

 

http://www.battlefordsnow.com/article/599957/canada-should-ban-trade-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group

 

http://meadowlakenow.com/article/595038/canada-should-ban-trade-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group

 

https://24-hours-news.com/2018/03/18/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group/

 

http://www.newslocker.com/en-ca/news/general-news-canada/animal-rights-group-says-canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-as-125k-sign-petition/

 

https://awionline.org/press-releases/awi-joins-95-organizations-urging-canada-close-domestic-elephant-ivory-trade

 

https://www.gpdnmain.com/GPDN2015/en/content/awi-joins-95-organizations-urging-canada-close-domestic-elephant-ivory-trade

 

https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2017/11/28/elephant-conservationists-call-on-canada-to-step-up-to-protect-iconic-beasts-3/#.Wq65w2rwbcs

 

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/03/15/help-stop-the-wanton-slaughter-of-elephants-sign-a-petition-to-the-canadian-government-here/

 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-animal-rights-organization-says-canada-should-ban-sale-of-elephant/

http://toronto.citynews.ca/2018/03/18/canada-should-ban-trade-in-elephant-ivory-says-animal-rights-group/

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Poem of the Week: I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life, by Mary Oliver

Love, love, love, says Percy.
And hurry as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.

 

For more information on Mary Oliver, please click here.​

Website
Blog
Facebook page
@alisonmcghee

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Elephanatics’ Letter for an #ivoryfreecanada Goes to the Government Today!

 

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Elephanatics has sent a letter to Minister Catherine McKenna today asking the Canadian government to close the legal domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada.

We are thrilled to have been supported by 95 distinguished national and international wildlife and animal advocacy organisations, conservationists, scientists, Members of the Parliament of Canada and the BC Legislature. Enclosed with our letter is a link to our online petition for the public to also ask the Canadian government to ban the domestic trade of elephant ivory. The petition has garnered over 118,000+ signatures and is growing every minute.

The astounding groundswell of support for the #ivoryfreecanada campaign is telling. We know that African elephants will be extinct in the wild within 20 years if countries continue to allow the legal domestic trade of elephant ivory. The flow of illegal ivory through legal domestic markets is well documented.

Kenya and 29 other African Elephant Coalition countries petitioned the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2016 to call for the total closure of all remaining ivory markets. Countries such as the United States, France and China have already closed their domestic ivory trade. The United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Taiwan and likely Singapore will also soon follow suit. Due to the US Administration over-turning their ban on elephant trophy imports onMarch 1, 2018, there is additional onus on the rest of the world to increase their efforts to protect elephants.

The astonishing number of signatures on the petition demonstrates the public no longer tolerates inaction by governments, while elephants are being decimated in the hundreds of thousands by greedy poachers. INTERPOL estimates the worldwide illegal wildlife trade at up to US$23 billion a year, making it the fourth most lucrative organized crime after drugs, human trafficking and counterfeiting.

Our ask of the Canadian government is an opportunity for real leadership on an important worldwide issue. While Canada may not represent the largest market for elephant ivory, by banning the domestic trade it signals to the international community that Canada is committed to leading the fight to save the world’s most iconic keystone species.

Julie MacInnes, Wildlife Campaign Manager of Humane Society International/Canada, a signatory on Elephantics’ letter says, “CITES has recommended that all nations with ivory markets that contribute to poaching and illegal trade close these markets. Multiple seizures of illegal ivory in Canada in recent years clearly indicate that an elephant ivory market closure is warranted, particularly given the items seized likely represent only a small fraction of the problem. It is time Canada respect the CITES recommendation and protect elephants by prohibiting ivory trade.”

Elephants don’t have to go extinct. It’s a choice that is made by people and by governments. We are asking the Canadian government to take a lead role, as other international countries have done  As a country we not only have a responsibility but a moral obligation to be part of saving one of Earth’s most precious animals – the elephant.

Thanks,

The Elephanatics Team
Canadian Domestic Ivory Ban Letter 
Petition

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Glory Bowl

Last summer we visited our friends in Calgary and they made a version of the Glory Bowl for dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can add different proteins and veggies as you see fit. The sauce is so darn good that you could put it on a turd (as my lovely mother used to say) and it would taste good.

I often add feta, avocado and green onions. When I had it last summer my friend served it with fish. Either way it’s a great base for a yummy, easy meal.

This recipe comes from the Whitewater Cookbook which you can find here.

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The Bowl

8 cups cooked brown rice – I made enough for the two of us and measure a cup per person.

2 cups beets, grated

2 cups carrots, grated

2 cups almonds, toasted

2 cups spinach leaves

2 cups tofu, cubed – I add tempeh cooked in a little oil and cubed.

Glory Bowl Dressing

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes*

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil – I just used 1/3 and it was fantastic

2 tbsp tahini paste – I used 1/3 of a cup. I have also used peanut butter.

Prepare your favorite brown rice and set aside.

Saute tofu cubes in a skillet.

Combine nutritional yeast flakes, water, tamari or soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, tahini and crushed garlic in blender to prepare the dressing.

Add oil in a steady stream. You will have leftover dressing to use again.

Assemble the bowls by placing cooked brown rice into 8 bowls, top with beets, carrots, spinach leaves, almonds and sauteed tofu cubes.

Drizzle bowls with dressing.

*Nutritional yeast flakes can be found at the Kootenay Co-op, or most natural food stores.

So good on any kind of salad greens, spinach, rice, or grains.

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#ivoryfreecanada

The Elephanatics team is running a campaign in support of our petition (over 35,000 signatories)

Please join the #ivoryfreecanada campaign today!

Did you know it is still legal to buy and sell ivory in Canada? Both African and Asian elephants may be extinct in the wild in our lifetime, mainly due to poaching. Elephanatics created the #ivoryfreecanada campaign to help keep our elephants alive. We wrote a letter to the Canadian government, requesting a ban on all domestic trade of elephant ivory. Over 80 Canadian and international scientists, politicians and animal organisations have co-signed the letter!

Now We Need Your Help!

  1. Download the #ivoryfreecanada mini-poster or create your own with the same hashtag. Take a photo of you holding it and post it on social media with the handles: #ivoryfreecanada and @elephanaticsbc. Challenge your friends to do the same to save elephants.
  2. Email your photo to elephanaticsinfo@gmail.com and we will add it to this page.
  3. Sign the petition that will also go to the government. We need as many signatures as possible (Canadian or international citizens) before March 14, 2018. Share it on facebook and twitter.
  4. Tell your friends and family about the elephant crisis and how a domestic ban on elephant ivory trade would help.

 

In the last century, the Asian elephant population has declined by over 50% and African elephants have plummeted by 97%. Poaching for ivory threatens the very survival of our elephants. The two largest consumers of ivory – China and the United States – have banned domestic ivory sales. So why not Canada?

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