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Posts Tagged ‘vancouver’

Photo: Allison Stocks
Recent carbon dating has revealed that the oldest clam garden known to science was built about 3,500 years ago,” says the Guardian. It’s in Canada’s Vancouver area.

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy the verbal style some indigenous people use when speaking of traditional ways or of ancestors. If it is not disrespectful to say so, it transports me to a place in the imagination where wizards and Hobbits reside — different from my own place in a way that feels both magical and close to Nature.

In Vancouver, Adrienne Matei writes for the Guardian, “On winter nights for the past six years, a group of 20 people have rustled through dark, coniferous woods to emerge on a Canadian beach at the lowest possible tide, illuminated by a correspondingly full moon.

“An elder offers a greeting to the place and a prayer, then the team of researchers, volunteers, and First Nations ‘knowledge holders’ lights a warming fire and begins its work. At sites outlined by stones placed hundreds or even thousands of years ago, some begin raking, or ‘fluffing,’ the top three inches of the beach, loosening rocks and mud — and a remarkable number of old clam shells.

“When the tide comes back in, it will flush out any rotting organic matter, changing ‘some places that are compact and smelly into a good clam beach again.’ says Skye Augustine, a member of the Stz’uminus First Nation.

“This spot was once a clam garden, an ancient indigenous form of mariculture that coastal First Nations people have used for millennia. It is estimated that they once numbered in the thousands along the Pacific north-western coast, though ruins are all that’s left of most. In collaboration with the W̱SÁNEĆ and Hul’q’umi’num nations, Augustine has spearheaded the first formal clam garden rehabilitations at two sites in the Gulf Islands, in British Columbia, with dozens more to follow.

‘My elders articulated to me that if we want to bring our beaches back to life again, we need to bring people back on to them to care for them as they have been cared for in the past.

” ‘That became my inspiration for my education and career,’ she says. ‘How do we make this clam garden thing happen?’

“For millennia pre-colonization, clam gardens epitomized sustainable food security for Pacific north-western coastal nations from northern Washington to south-eastern Alaska. Modern studies have found that clam gardens have historically been up to 300% more productive than unmodified beaches, that their clams grew larger and faster than average, and that the clams did not exhibit any signs of resource stress from over-harvesting.

“To create the beaches, indigenous people built rock walls parallel to a beach’s low tide line, which would trap sediment and flatten the slope of the shore. With continuing tending, such as tilling to improve aeration and the removal of predators like sea stars, these gardens increase or create habitat for butter, littleneck, and horse clams, as well as crabs, chitons, seaweeds, and other useful species.

“Recent carbon dating has revealed that the oldest clam garden known to science was built about 3,500 years ago. …

“ ‘It has always been our duty to be the stewards of the land,’ says group member Nicole Norris, a knowledge holder for the Hul’q’umi’num and an aquaculture specialist. ‘It is the exact same land my ancestors walked. … From the work that we’ve done, we’ve seen the greater ecosystem return – some of the people who live in the local communities have talked about the return of certain birds and plants, and that’s been heartwarming,’ she says.

“In addition to providing food, clam gardens have historically provided the opportunity for ‘grandparents, aunties, and uncles to spend time at the beach with their grandchildren and younger generations, not only teaching about how to tend the environment … but sharing stories, language, spiritual ties to the place,’ says Melissa Poe, who specializes in the social and cultural dimensions of ecosystems at the University of Washington.”

More at the Guardian, here.

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Jerry and Priscilla’s granddaughter, recently accepted at Stanford, founded a club at her Vancouver high school to collect and distribute food for residents experiencing homelessness.

She feels pretty strongly that, in modern society, the distribution of resources is out of whack, and she wanted to reach out to those who have little. She started with donations from one bakery willing to give her fresh leftover bread at the end of the day.

CBC caught up with Kristen Anderson in the giving season, last Christmas.

“Grade 12 student Kristen Anderson founded ‘Kitchen on a Mission’ in July of 2015.

” ‘I tried at first to go down and hand out sandwiches but realized I couldn’t afford to buy the bread every day for this, so I had to rethink my idea.’

“Anderson was then inspired by an article she read about New York teens collecting leftover restaurant food and feeding the homeless. …

“Anderson and other volunteers from Winston Churchill Secondary set out collecting, not only bread, but Danishes and other baked goods and dropping them off at shelters under the umbrella of the Atira Women’s Resource Society.

“She knocked on more bakery doors and soon enlisted [four more]. Since its early days, the club has grown to five schools and 100 students who collect goods for 10 different shelters. …

“The club members say their volunteer work is satisfying and eye opening.

” ‘I didn’t realize what a community the Downtown Eastside was before going down there each day with my friends. They are such kindhearted people down there. They were giving me advice on my life, to stay in school and listen to my parents. I even had one man play guitar for me, which was really touching because I love to sing.’ ”

Pretty amazing young lady.

Video of the interview here.

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Planetizen’s Brent Toderian wrote a while back that he attended a book party in Vancouver where Simon Fraser University City Program Director Gordon Price asked “each member of the crowd to state an urban design decision that ‘they loved.’ …

“When it came to my turn, my answer took a big picture and perhaps surprising approach, depending on your definition of urban design. In Vancouver, a city often referred to as ‘a city by design,’ the most important urban design decision we ever made, the decision I loved most, is actually usually referred to as a transportation decision.

“In 1997, the city approved its first influential Transportation Plan.

“It was a game-changer for our city-making model in many ways, most notably in its decision to prioritize the ways we get around, rather than balance them. The active, healthy and green ways of getting around were ranked highest – first walking, our top priority, then biking, and then transit, in that order. The prioritization then went on to goods movement for the purposes of business support and economic development, and lastly, the private vehicle. …

“If you’re a driver who is worried about a ‘war on the car,’ remember this — our model of city building understands the ‘Law of Congestion’ and proves that when you build a multimodal city, it makes getting around better and easier for every mode of transportation, including the car. It makes our city work better in every way.”

Read Toderian’s whole Planetizen post, here.

Photo: Vancouver.ca

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ArtsJournal.com sent me to this article describing a ballerina posed on the Wall Street bull. The article suggests that one of the many tipping points that led to the Occupy movement was this image of a dancer. I like to think that the arts can spark a movement, although I think the Arab Spring played a bigger role in this case.

 

“When Vancouver-based Adbusters presented the idea to the world, it did so in the form of a poster that featured a dancer posed on the shoulders of the Wall Street bull statue, a foggy clamour of demonstrators behind her. The poster asked the question, ‘What is our one demand?’ Activist groups seized on it, as did the hacktivist group Anonymous, and a collective began to form. …

 

“To hear tell from [Vancouver-based] Adbusters founder and editor Kalle Lasn now, the question of that one demand still needs to be answered concisely and directly. But as the movement overspills Wall Street, he describes it as the most successful in the 22 years he and his magazine have been advocating ‘culture jamming.’ ” Read more. The Kalle Lasn interview is at Seattle’s Crosscuts.com  (“news of the the great nearby,” whatever that means).

 

As intrigued as I am that a ballerina poster could have been a tipping point for a movement, I think the question, “What is our one demand?” is even more intriguing. I would like to spin off from that and ask, “What is the one thing you want (in general, not public policies necessarily)?” Could you name the one thing? I think this is different from making a wish and blowing out candles. But maybe not. I will give it some thought myself.

 

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A swell time was had by all at the 350th anniversary of British settlers landing their boats on the shores of what is still the smallest community in the smallest state! The sun shone, the speakers were brief, and lots of pictures were taken.

I thought we had come a long way as a country when several speakers, including the governor, acknowledged that the Manissean Indians were there first and that there would be another ceremony at the Indian Cemetery the following weekend, with another commemorative marker.

The governor, who had earlier visited an oyster aquaculture area by boat, was brief and gracious. Interesting speakers included a Rear Admiral with a surname that is pronounced — I kid you not — Neptune. He gave the chief of police an award for a risky rescue at sea last year.

Dutch Consul General Kibbelaar was there because it was a Dutch navigator who originally named the island as he sailed by without landing. British Consul General Budden, based in Boston, made jokes about his brother who is the Consul General in Vancouver and the bet he intended to collect since Boston won hockey’s Stanley Cup. Budden was invited because the British were the ones who landed at Settlers’ Rock 350 years ago. He said that Britain today is the biggest foreign investor in Rhode Island. The chorus of the island school (which had recently graduated all seven seniors) sang the Alma Mater and “America the Beautiful.”

Gov. Lincoln Chafee (in green blazer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Warden Kim Gaffett (in straw hat) and governor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dutch Consul General Kibbelaar (in white suit)

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