Moving Towards “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management”
“Michael Blackstock’s big idea for interweaving First Nations cultural knowledge and Western science – Blue Ecology – is especially powerful. The essence of Michael’s vision is ‘embrace a water-first approach’. It is an idea whose time has come,” states Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
“In this workshop, the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s Ted van der Gulik along with two well-known personalities – Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly and the CBC’s Bob McDonald (host, Quirks & Quarks) – will team with Michael to share their unique and complementary perspectives on a water-first approach.”
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Download “Blue Ecology – interweaving First Nations cultural knowledge and Western science” for a program preview.
A Water-First Approach
“The Blue Ecology workshop is a program element of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative,” continues Kim Stephens.
“Over time, the educational goal is to build practitioner capacity within local government to implement a whole-system, water balance approach branded as Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management.
“Everyone learns about the water balance (water cycle) in elementary school, but most have forgotten by high school. Of greater concern, however, is that engineering standard practice is not based on a ‘whole-system, water balance’ approach. This results in a ‘disconnect’ between what we know we ought to do versus what we do.
“The Partnership’s goal in mainstreaming Blue Ecology is to inform choices about land and water. The Blue Ecology frame provides a holistic cultural context to enhance Western science’s knowledge of the water cycle for the benefit of hydrologists and water managers,” concludes Kim Stephens.
Science & Spirit – An Inclusive Journey
“The program is visionary yet pragmatic. Bob McDonald, Fin Donnelly and Michael Blackstock are a powerful trio. The Blue Ecology theme, blending First Nations cultural knowledge and Western Science challenges us to be more inclusive when addressing watershed systems,” observes Eric Bonham, elder statesman with the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia. At the workshop, he will set the context for the afternoon session and then provide a closing perspective.
“Bob and Fin are well known individuals and to have both of them on-side and supportive of the work of PWSBC gives credibility. If we can create a documentary out of the workshop that blends Michael’s central message with commentary from Bob and Fin we will have a powerful message indeed. A message going forward that could appeal to a broad range of interest groups.”