It is the story of a remarkable man who is living proof that truth is stranger than fiction. KEN KIRKBY is an internationally acclaimed artist, a student of quantum mechanics, a prankster and a philosopher. More than that, he’s a modern day alchemist who turns his paintings into gold, and gold into fish, or more precisely, into healthy, fish-bearing streams.
Ken has a history! An unorthodox childhood in Portugal which included one semester total in school, Ken orchestrated his family’s escape to Vancouver, Canada one quick step ahead of Salazar’s goons.
The eighteen-year-old boy had dreams of wild mountain streams, ice and snow, the power and vastness of the Arctic and, in his words, “an unfinished land.” He manufactured these dreams out of stories told by his mentor and friend, Francisco, a Portuguese fisherman who had spent his younger years fishing the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and as a whaler off the icy shores of Baffin Island. Vancouver fell short of his imaginings,
In the year he turned twenty, Ken set out on foot, and alone, across the Arctic Tundra, determined to find the world he wanted to experience. During his five-year trek he had the great good fortune to be adopted by an Inuit family and to experience life’s dramas and astounding beauty along with the raw knowledge that a way of life was being destroyed as he watched.
By his own calculations, Ken spent the next thirty-one years, several million dollars, ended a marriage and lost numerous friends to his fixation on keeping his promise to an Inuit grandmother—to make the plight of the Inuit known to the majority of Canadians who were largely unaware of life above the 60th Parallel. He not only succeeded, but he saw the redrawing of Canada’s map in the process.
This 21st C. Warrior believes it is our individual responsibility to make a difference in this world. His enthusiasm is contagious and listeners find themselves convinced, as he is, that every single person can make a difference, and several people with one common goal can change the world.
This was proven yet again when he joined with a group of like-minded individuals on Vancouver Island, and, under his determined guidance and his insistence that “nothing is impossible if you just get off your butt and do it,” the historic river system of Nile Creek was restored to the bountiful numbers of Pink Salmon, Coho and Cutthroat of its prime productivity in the 1940s.
This is a success story that will give heart to each of us who wish to improve our surroundings “from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the sea.”