Thursday, March 31, 2011

On Behalf of Cetaceans...


by J. Feliz (JFillustrations)

This article has been lying quietly in one of my folders for a few months. With the sad news stories that have been published this week regarding the under-reported death of whales and dolphins in the Gulf oil spill and Tilikum's return to doing tricks for unsuspecting tourists after months in isolation, I thought that today might be a good day to publish this (with permission from EtsyVeg) in memory of all those lives lost and that will continue to be lost due to human choices and actions.

Here's my voice on behalf of cetaceans everywhere...

Whales, dolphins, and porpoises are grouped under the term “cetacea”. About eighty-five species of cetaceans are further divided into two main groups. The first includes whales that lack teeth and instead, have structures known as baleens. They use baleens to filter food from the water. Examples of baleen whales include minke, humpback, and blue whales, the largest animals on Earth. The second group is made up of the toothed whales; these whales actively hunt and have the ability to echolocate (the use of sonar through sounds made by an animal) to find food. Toothed whales include the sperm whale, orca whale, dolphins, porpoises, and over 70 other species. Like humans, cetaceans are mammals. They are warm-blooded, give live birth, nurse their young, have remnants of hair, and breathe air at the surface.

Like many from my generation my first experiences with cetaceans included the show “Flipper” and an anticipated trip to Sea World as a child. However, as I grew older I realized that these types of experiences simply do not reflect the realities of the world in which we live in and the real effects that humans have on these species. Whales are continually slaughtered by Iceland, Norway, and Japan despite an international moratorium that banned whale hunting. Thousands of dolphins are killed and stolen from their natural habitats so they can perform tricks on television and entertain tourists. Others are simply slaughtered under false pretences that include their being blamed for the collapse of fishing industries. Others are simply killed because of human greed and an unsustainable taste for sea food.  On average, 308,000 cetaceans are killed each and every year because of by-catch (deaths while fishing for a target species), which is a byproduct of the fishing industry. To put it into perspective – that amounts to about 1,000 individuals per day! These figures do not include deaths due to other man-caused threats, such as pollution, boat collisions, habitat destruction, whaling, climate change, and capture for imprisonment within theme parks. This figure also ignores the affected victims of events like the most recent oil spill in the Gulf, which scientists confirm may have killed more than 50 times the number that was initially reported.

In early 2010, a news report proclaimed that scientists called for dolphins to be treated as “non-human persons” due to their high level of intelligence. The scientists argued that their research confirmed the immorality of keeping “such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing.” However, the fervor to protect a species due to its intellectual abilities is irrelevant when compared to the moral responsibility we have towards all species on our planet. Is it not unethical to force all species into confinement, blindly diminish their populations, and lead them towards extinction regardless of intellectual capability? We are currently responsible for the largest mass extinction our planet has ever seen – on average 3 species disappear every hour. This is not a natural phenomenon and is due to human activity. We have already witnessed the extinction of cetacean species, such as the Baiji, also known as Yangtze River Dolphins, which quietly disappeared through the years and have not been seen since 2002. More species are set to disappear within our lifetimes if we do not take responsibility for our actions.

            The good news is that it is still not too late. Everyone can get involved to help cetaceans and other species in peril. It is also never too early to start protecting species that are yet to be Red Listed. Here are some actions that everyone can take:

-Educate yourself on issues that affect cetaceans and the oceans. A great place to start is through a simple Google search, a visit to a nearby library, or by watching films that are widely available on issues affecting cetaceans. One such film includes the Academy Award and Oscar winning documentary, The Cove.

-Share what you have learned with others. There’s no use in having knowledge if you don’t pass it on!

-Pledge to boycott the fishing industry. Entanglement and drowning in fishing lines is by far the largest killer of cetaceans. Unsustainable sea food and destructive fishery practices are just not worth the death of hundreds of thousands of species, especially since you can gain all the nutrients that you would get from sea food by consuming plant-based sources.

-Pledge to boycott marine parks, aquariums, and zoos. These establishments do not help the real issues that need to be addressed and are even responsible for the detriment of wild animal populations. Remember that as long as you keep buying a ticket, these animals will continue to live in barren prisons far from their natural homes. Opt to enjoy marine animals in their natural environment. As an adult, I have been able to delight in encounters with dolphins and whales in the wild. Many of my encounters have occurred when I least expected them out while at the beach, river, or on a boat. I also had close encounters with marine mammals through my volunteering with marine mammal strandings. These experiences have meant more and taught me more about cetaceans than any paid trip to a marine park, where these animals are held against their will, ever could. 

- Write to government officials and decision makers to let them now that you care about these issues and ask them what they are doing to protect marine species and the oceans as a whole.

-Join/Support groups that are fighting for the causes that you care for.
One such group that is avidly working to conserve the oceans and marine mammals is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). The SSCS has campaigns dedicated to help dolphins and other whales.  For the past 30 years, SSCS has taken a stand against the illegal slaughter of all cetaceans and has established campaigns, which still continue today. Through their actions, the society has saved thousands of lives. “The Whales’ Navy”, part of the SSCS, has documented illegal slaughter activities, has challenged illegal whalers head on, and have shut down whaling fleets through direct action. The SSCS has further applied direct action methods against the slaughter of dolphins in Japan and the Faroe Islands, Denmark.

-Lastly and most importantly, continue to lend your own voice to those without a human voice – if you don’t, who will?

Article copyright 2010 by J. Feliz

Other Sources:

Ocean: The World’s Last Wilderness Revealed, Published by DK
Endangered Animals by W. Dolder & U. Dolder-Pippke

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Budgie Breakfast



















These are my sweet little budgies, Otis (green and yellow) and Lily (blue).

They love a breakfast of fresh fruit and veggies.

Their favorites are...

Carrots:















and Spinach:


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our 3rd Monthly Challenge Finals- The Results!

The results from the EtsyVeg 6-Month (August-January) Monthly Challenge Finals are in, and Celeste of CricketsCreations, CricketsHome, and BabyBirdz received the most votes for her Fringe-O-Rama Scarf. Congratulations, Celeste! :D Woot!

Celeste will receive a package filled with handmade goods from the following amazing veg artisans of EtsyVeg: Handmade awesomeness has been donated by the following veg artisan shops, with more being added (thanks so much, everyone):

Aktie9- Photography, Photo Editing, Photo Retouching, Shop Banners, Polymer Clay, Digital Art, Handsewn items, Felt & Pins.

Auclairdelalune- Beautiful, well crafted items for you, your kids, and your home made from recycled fabrics.

CocoNMe- One-of-a-kind handmade jewelry, with 25% benefitting charity.

FireHorseTextiles - Textile art including patchwork, collage and rag rugs made with new and recycled materials- and also acrylic paintings.

LuniqueJewellery - Jewelry, cushions, and home decor handmade with love in the UK, using new and recycled materials.

PalafoxStudio23 - OOAK & handmade glass, stone & metal jewelry and other goods using mostly recycled materials.

Starfirewire - Adorable handmade glass bottle earrings, necklaces and beaded jewelry.

SweetVConfections - Homemade vegan baked goods and sweet treats.

Thelittleschremlin - Handmade jewelry, figures, and wedding cake toppers handmade with care and love.

Thebluewindmill - Nature-themed original art, prints, and cards, with 10% donated to charity.

Vegangurl - Handmade vegan knits and crafts, dog treat, and vintage items.

YAY! :D

A big thank you to everyone who voted, the veggie artisans who genrously donated handmade items, and to all of those who enter the challenges each month. You rock!

If you would like to be entered in the challenge finals in August, enter our regular monthly creative challenges between February and July! The winner of the challenge each month will be in the finals. Watch the blog for details!

From Jane Goodall

"If we do not do something to help these creatures, we make a mockery of the whole concept of justice."


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A drink to put a Spring in your step


This is a great wee starter drink for the mornings when we feel we need a little lift, it is packed with bright, fresh fruit and veg and is an amazing pistachio green colour

Ingredients:

Pieces of the following veg,

Cucumber
Green Apple (keep the skin on)
Avocado
cut into small pieces

Carrot (grated)
Small amount of lemon juice
Water
Ice

and blended until smooth, the little bit of lemon juice and a little bit of water is to loosen it. When almost finished you can add ice cubes and blend until they are crushed. Pour into glasses and top with the grated carrots. Enjoy!

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan, Veg (obviously) and Healthy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

From George Bernard Shaw

"Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character."

 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bean Fritter Recipe

Bean Fritters

2 cans soybeans, drained and mashed (I just throw them in the blender)
1/2 cups water (as needed)
1 cup flour
1/2 tablespoons baking powder
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 can whole garbanzo beans
Oil for frying the fritters

Combine mashed beans with remaining ingredients, folding the garbanzos in last. Batter will be thick.

Heat about 1 inch of canola oil in a large skillet until hot. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Working in batches, drop soybean batter (about 1/4 cup per fritter) into hot oil and cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned on all sides. I usually make as many as needed, then reserve some batter for leftovers.
Remove fritters and drain on paper towels.

Serve warm with a dipping sauce made of half vegan mayo and half mustard.

They are also really good formed into patty's, and cooked as above, but made into sandwiches, with the sauce used as a sandwich spread.

This recipe is brought to you by Jennifer of Gilding Lilies.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Our 3rd EtsyVeg Monthly Creative Challenge FINALS!

It's once again time for EtsyVeg's Monthly Creative Challenge Finals, our 3rd!

Every 6 months, all 6 winners from the last series of challenges are put up for a vote together. The top vote getter receives an awesome collection of handmade goodies from fellow EtsyVeg members and is crowned an "EtsyVeg Top Creative Challenger"! Woot!

Handmade awesomeness has been donated by the following veg artisan shops, with more being added (thanks so much, everyone):
Aktie9
Auclairdelalune
CocoNMe
FireHorseTextiles
LuniqueJewellery
PalafoxStudio23
Starfirewire
SweetVConfections
Thelittleschremlin
Thebluewindmill
Vegangurl

The following fabulous entries entered and won our monthly challenges between August 2010 and January 2011. Have a look and vote in the poll below for your very favorite (it won't be easy)! Voting is open through March 27th. The top voter getter will be announced on Monday, March 28th!

Good luck, everybody!


Winner of August's "Life's A Veggie Picnic" Challenge (it was a tie!):





Winner of September's "Autumn Leaves" Challenge:




Winner of October's "October Ghouls" Challenge:




Winner of November's "Veggie Harvest" Challenge:




Winner of December's "Winter Wonderland" Challenge:




Winner of January's "Fresh Start" Challenge:








Wednesday, March 16, 2011

February's "Red Hot" Challenge Winner Is...

February's "Red Hot" Creative Challenge entries were voted on over the past week, and the entry that received the most votes is "Buffalo" from Mumbot! Congratulations to Jade and her amazing art! Yay! :D

Thanks so much to everyone who entered and voted! :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

From Harriet Becher Stowe

"It's a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best of people have always done."

 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Vegetarian/Vegan Polenta Lasagna

From my blog, Lotus Out Loud.

After watching Nigella Lawson make a Venetian Lasagna on the NBC Today Show, I was inspired to come up with my own variation, vegan (easily made vegetarian) of course. ;) I greatly simplified the recipe, using primarily the idea of using layers of polenta to make a fantastic, creamy-tasting lasagna!













POLENTA LASAGNA
(inspired by Nigella Lawson's
Venetian Lasagna)

INGREDIENTS

2-4 c tomato sauce(depending on how much sauce you prefer), jarred or homemade, any flavor

1/2 c water

1 vegetable bouillon cube, or enough vegetable broth or water to make up the polenta following the instructions on the package

2 c unprepared polenta

1 T vegan butter

2 t kosher salt or 1 t table salt, or to taste

1 c vegan Parmesan cheese

2 medium-large carrots, peeled and cut into thin discs (any veggies would work)

1c shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (I suggest Follow Your Heart brand or Daiya)

*You will also need parchment paper and a 9x11" or 8x8" glass baking dish, lightly oiled.


MAKE IT


If making your own sauce, do so first and set aside.

Prepare for making lasagna layers by tearing off 2 pieces of parchment paper a little larger than the size of the lightly-oiled pan you are using. Set aside.

If using a bouillon cube, dissolve in the specified amount of water, or measure out veggie broth or water. Follow the preparation instructions for the polenta you have on hand, using a medium-large saucepan.

Stir as instructed with wooden spoon, and when the polenta has thickened, add, stirring well as you go, the tablespoon of butter, salt, and 1 cup of Parmesan. Taste to see if you want any more seasoning. The polenta is finished once thick and coming away from the sides of the saucepan.

When polenta is ready, immediately and quickly pour a thin layer evenly into the bottom of your baking dish. Divide the rest quickly into more thin layers, all the same size, on the sheets of parchment paper. Obviously, the layer depth will be thinner if you have chosen a larger pan. As you drop each layer, use a silicone spatula run under cold water to spread it evenly to the same size as your pan. The polenta will set almost instantly, so you have to work quickly. Allow to set further and cool.

















When you are ready to assemble the lasagna, preheat the oven to 400°F. In your polenta-lined baking pan, spoon 2/3c (or other preferred amount) of sauce over bottom. Add one layer of carrot slices and a light sprinkle of vegan mozzarella.

Carefully hold the parchment paper with the next layer of polenta over the pan. Peel back paper as you set the polenta on top.
-OR-
Carefully peel next polenta layer off of paper with fingers or spatula and move to pan.
If any breaks into pieces, simply reassemble in pan.

Add another layer of 2/3c sauce, carrots, and sprinkle of mozzarella.

















Top with the final layer of polenta from the third pan, then remaining sauce and rest of mozzarella.































Bake for 1 hour until bubbling and melty, even in middle. Allow to set for 10-15 minutes, then serve. So Good! :)


From Jane Goodall

"Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help shall they be saved."

 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

February's Creative Challenge Entries- Vote for Your Fave!

February's "Red Hot" challenge entries are in! Between now and Saturday, March 12th vote here for your favorite creation. The winning veg artisan will be featured in a prominent ad on the EtsyVeg blog for the next month. Yay!

A big congrats to last month's challenge winner, Emily of Mothra Sue & Co, who was chosen as the top entry by voters!

See the poll below to vote!
























































Stay tuned until Monday, March 14th for the voting results! Good luck challenge participants, and thanks to everyone for voting!

Look for details on March's "Spring Into Life" monthly challenge on the blog. And please join in the creative fun! :)





Tuesday, March 1, 2011

From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."


 

March's "Spring Into Life" Creative Challenge

You are cordially invited to play, get more involved with the team, get inspired, share your talent, take advantage of some free promotion... get ready for March's team creative challenge!

March's Challenge

This month's "Spring Into Life" challenge is inspired by the season of physical and spiritual renewal and growth, life and birth, an explosion green buds and colorful blossoms, and the reawakening of nature after a long winter's nap (depending on where in the world you may be). The challenge theme is very subjective, so enter whatever handmade creation, vintage item, or supply, new or already listed in your shop, that you think fits the theme! ;)

Each month's challenge entries will be listed on the blog and put up for public vote, the winner receiving an ad for their shop on the team for the entire month following. :) Every 6 months, all 6 winners from the last series of challenges will be put up for a vote together, the top vote getter winning a grand prize! Yay!

Please join in our creative celebration for this month! Here's how to enter...


*Challenge Guidelines*

~Participation is open to any EtsyVeg team member.

~Each member may enter one item. Entry involves simply posting the link to an applicable item in your Etsy shop in March's monthly challenge forum thread and tagging that item with the tag "springintolife" (all one word, without the quotations). You must also have your entry tagged with the official team tag, "etsyveg team."

~If an item entered in the challenge sells before the end of the month, please send a convo to the EtsyVeg Etsy shop, including the link to the sold item, so that it can still be included.

~Deadline for entry is Thursday, March 31st.

~All entries will be featured in a treasury on the EtsyVeg blog next month, to be voted on by the public (EtsyVeg members can vote, too). The top vote-getter will be awarded with an ad for their Etsy shop on the top of the blog sidebar for the entire month until the next winner is chosen. At the end of six months, all winners from the past six months will be up for vote on the blog again, this time eligible to win a grand prize gift!

~All EtsyVeg members (not just participants) are encouraged throughout the month to initiate forum threads about the challenge, make treasuries by doing a tag search for "etsyveg team" with "springintolife" and putting only those items in the treasury, or to generate other types of promotion. (If you do any of these, please let everyone know so that we can all post or click to keep it going!)

~Please direct concerns or questions to http://silentlotus.etsy.com/ or http://thebluewindmill.etsy.com/.

Looking forward to seeing what amazing creations you enter! :)