We got up between 3:30 and 4:30 am yesterday to get the bus going to Grand Island, NE. We wanted to make sure our voices were heard at the one and only open public meeting for comments on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. The bus was quiet as we headed East into the sun. Some slept, some worked on their 3 minute speeches, and others kept tabs on what was already happening at the Fair Grounds in Grand Island. As our bus was leaving Denver, people were already lined up in the snowy cold to get their names on the list to make a comment.
It wasn’t a huge crowd of 50,000 like the protest in Washington, DC in February. It was a determined crowd; it was a quietly passionate crowd; a crowd dedicated to being heard! Our bus arrived at 2 pm CDT, and we rushed in to sign up to have our voices heard. I was #265. Right then speaker #35 was commenting and the crowd of more than 500 was listening attentively.
During the first few hours, it became clear that opposition to the KXL was in the majority by far. In the next 9 hours I heard almost 200 people comment. I listened to 23 people speak in favor of the pipeline and all spoke in the first few hours. By 5 pm, only one Union Pipefitter remained. “This will bring jobs and revenue.” they said. “This will be good for the economy.” The rest of us spoke among, around and through these empty statements. Notably there were no Transcanada/Keystone representatives anywhere to be seen for the entire time I was there. If they spoke, it was in the first 34 people, and then they were gone!
This hearing was run by three representatives of the State Department, who were attentive, respectful, and compassionate to the end! As the hours slipped away, it became obvious they wanted each of us to be heard. The three minutes was extended when need be. At 8 pm, the supposed end to the comment period, it was extended so all may be heard. And the people stayed! They came from all over Nebraska. They came from Chicago, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Kansas and Virginia to name a few. Some drove all night and would drive all night home just to be heard for 3 minutes. Most/all paid for it out of their own pockets.
The over whelming and passionate opinion of this body of Americans was: NO! This pipeline will do no good. It is not necessary. It is a climate disaster, a farming disaster, and an accident waiting to happen that cannot be easily (or ever) cleaned up! Fifth generation farmers on their family land talked about how carefully they had to treat the earth because it is so fragile in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. We heard about the tricks, lies, and coercion used by the Keystone XL company to make these farmers give up their land. People who had been directly affected and effected by the oil spills in Kalamazoo, MI and Mayfair, AK gave us ‘on the ground’ information about their disasters.
Three years later, the Kalamazoo neighborhood has not been cleaned up. 150 homes were lost, contaminated beyond use. In Mayfair the immediate increase in illness among children, the elderly, and the sick was addressed. On and on it went; nursing Mothers to Grandfathers spoke eloquently and plainly; teachers, doctors, lawyers, farmers, and hippies all had one voice: NO! We don’t need this! We don’t want this! This is a hideous, damaging, unnecessary and evil scheme that has no redeeming virtues what-so-ever! From experts to everyday folks, professors to Native Americans, the message was to reject this awful travesty. We are all very solid about that!
I had tears in my eyes many times during the hours and hours of testimony, not because of tragedy but because these people were describing their lives, their love of the land, the simple beauty of a fragile ecosystem with good water, and how it could all be destroyed forever by the KXL. Worst of all, neither this company (nor any other) has to clean up a spill when it happens! Since it is not technically ‘oil’, they are not responsible for clean-up or paying into the clean-up fund!!
President Obama, your Grandmother died just before you were elected. She was your ‘Wisdom Keeper’, and you lost that blessed voice of reason and love. Listen now to the voices of the Grandmothers everywhere! Deeply in our hearts we know this is wrong and so do you! We do not need this awful, dirty oil! We need clean water, living soils, and healthy children. We know this, you know this, and we are begging you and John Kerry to do the right thing! Please don’t go down in history as the President who sold our good earth to a foreign oil company for 50 pieces of silver.
This is that wonderful time when the new Spring greens are coming up! These greens are the ones that help clean the Winter funk out of us, even when used in tiny amounts. Dandelions are the mainstay of these greens so far, and they are noted for gently tuning up and toning up the kidneys, liver, and intestines as well as giving us a wonderful helping of the bitter that prompts our gall bladder to release bile into the digestive tract. This is the reason so many Europeans have bitters or a bitter green in a salad before a meal! It gets all those juices flowing so digestion is enhanced. You don’t need much for this…just a leaf or two. This was the Spring tonic used for centuries as tea, salad, greens, and simply picked and eaten. Try it! I think your body will like it!
Maybe you didn’t know that I am also the Urban Forager (urbanforager.co) here in Denver. So this is also the season when I start taking people on Wild Edible walks around urban neighborhoods. I have included a link to the first walk of the season, and there are limited spaces available so I suggest you sign up early to reserve your space. You can also book your own Wild Edible walk with me! See you soon for Spring Greens!
When we are sick, we need a good healing broth that feeds us without making us digest much to get it into our body. It is a good idea to make one or more of these in advance and have them in the freezer ready to go. I recommend letting them defrost in a bowl of hot water or on the counter and heating them up in a pot rather than using a microwave. Just in case there is a chance the microwave does change or reduce the healing qualities of the broth, don’t use it.
I use the old bones I have saved in the freezer from roasts, turkey and chicken carcasses, and other good bones. I try to get organic or at least humanely raised meats to use. For this purpose, maybe you can at least get good bones from the healthiest sources you can find. Using the best veggies and ingredients obviously will be the best for you when you and/or your family is sick, however some broth is better than none! You are looking for rich, condensed, unprocessed nutrition to feed you at a cellular level.
Put your bones and even some veggies in a roasting pan in a low oven (250 degrees) for a few hours or until they are nicely browned and NOT scorched or BURNED! Add water or broth at the end to loosen up the lovely browned bits on the bottom of the roasting pan. Get out your biggest soup pot/stock pot and transfer everything from the roasting pan to the pot, cleaning out all the wonderful stuck bits with the liquid. Crack or break as many bones as you can since you want the marrow in the broth. Place on the stove burner.
Thoroughly wash some veggies of choice (carrots, potatoes, etc), an onion, and some garlic cloves. Roughly chop them and add to the pot. Throw in a handful of fresh parsley, a couple of bay leaves, some pepper corns, and other similar broths if you have any. Just cover the bones and veggies with water and after it has come to a boil, skim all the foam off (if any) and throw it away. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to very low. Simmer the pot of bones and veggies for a few hours until the bones are falling apart and the meat is falling off of them. I actually use a potato masher during the cooking process to help get all the goodness out of the bones and meat.
When it is well cooked, place a large colander over another pot or heatproof bowl and with a slotted spoon, or strainer, scoop the bones and veggies into it to drain. Do not pour directly or it will splash hot broth on you. When you have all the big bits out, drain the broth you gathered back into the soup pot. Throw away the bones and bits in the colander after you have pushed on them to remove as much broth as possible. Now you need to strain all the small bits out of the broth by pouring the broth through a fine strainer or placing some cheese cloth or an old tea towel in the colander and pouring it through. When you place it in a container or two and put it in the refrigerator it should jelly completely. This tells you it is full of protein. This is a very good healing broth and can be eaten as is or vegetables can be added at will.
For vegetarians who eat butter and eggs, use butter to roast some veggies, and use good tomatoes as a broth base. If you use fermented soy products, make sure they are organic or at least non GMO. Tomato broth will jelly all by itself when it is made with heirloom varieties, which is how we made tomato consume. There is nothing like having some (even small) amount of animal protein to help re-energize the body. (See Sally Fallon’s book “Nourishing Traditions” for more info on this.)
You can also make a ‘white’ broth by not roasting anything. It’s just not as rich tasting.