A local publishing company’s co-founder, who was known for his compassion and passion for environmentalism and human equality, has died.
Chris (Kip) Plant, the cofounder of Gabriola Island-based publishing company New Society Publishers died on June 26 in Nanaimo after a nine-year battle with progressive supranuclear palsy and multiple system atrophy. He was 65.
Julie Raddysh, New Society Publishers director of operations and Plant’s step-daughter, says he valued equality for all people.
“He was gentle, loving, caring,” she said. “One of our co-workers described him as a true feminist because he valued equality.”
Born in the United Kingdom in 1950, Plant became active with the independence movement in Vanuatu and helped organize the first Nuclear Free and Independent South Pacific conference.
“He was very respectful of other people’s ideas and was not judgmental,” Raddysh said.Story continues below
After moving to Canada, Plant along with his wife Judith formed the New Society Publishers in 1996, which has since become an award-winning company.
In 2001, New Society Publishers began using acid-free paper for all of its upcoming book titles.
“They [the Plants] personally financed that project,” Raddysh said.
In 2005 they became the first North American publisher to go carbon neutral.
“He was always able to pick something that way before its time,” Raddysh said.
Many of the books and authors that New Society Publishers have published focus on topics such as sustainable living and the environment.
Raddysh says Plant would commit to an author or an idea, regardless of popularity.
“If he believed in something it was just 110 per cent commitment to it,” Raddysh said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, progressive supranuclear palsy, also known as Steele-Richardson-Olszewski, is a rare brain disorder that is the result of deterioration of cells. The disorder, which has no cure, limits the ability to walk, maintain balance, restricts eye movement and eventually leads to more serious health issues.
Multiple system atrophy is described the Mayo Clinic as rare neurological disorder that is similar to Parkinson’s disease. The disorder hampers bodily functions such as heart rate and blood pressure.
Plant’s funeral was held on July 3.
Instead of flowers, the family requests that people make a donation to Gertie, the community bus, at www.gabriolacommunitybus.com.
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