Reflections on Moving Towards a “Politics of Belonging”
“The news from the natural world this last summer has been mostly about water or lack thereof, understandably so, given the devastating hurricanes experienced in the southern states and the equally devastating fires raging throughout British Columbia. Such events, given their apparent regularity, suggests a new normal, one that bodes the reality of climate change,” wrote Eric Bonham, founding member and elder statesman, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
“Given the central role of water in these changing circumstances calls for a re-visit of the water story, embracing in this case, both science and indigenous perspectives. This interweaving as well as inter-generational approach, moves us towards a Politics of Belonging that seeks common ground and inspires community engagement based upon collaboration across agencies and cultures.
“This challenge of our time is the core theme of BLUE ECOLOGY – A workshop on interweaving First Nations cultural knowledge and Western Science, co-sponsored by the Partnership for Water Sustainability and the Irrigation Industry Association of BC on November 28, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel in Richmond.”
Members of the Blue Ecology Team
“The workshop brings together skilled presenters who will weave differing perspectives into a common narrative, a story that blends both Science and Spirit,” continues Eric Bonham. “Given the BC context, the Fraser River has been identified as a case study, noting the interrelated challenges of climate change, drought, rising sea levels, Fraser River salinity, agricultural water supply and food security.”
Fin Donnelly, Member of Parliament
“Framing the story at the outset, Fin Donnelly, Federal MP, who has on two occasions swum the 1,499 km length of the Fraser River, will relay his experiences and observations on the health and well being of the river, noting the important role of the Fraser from both an economic and ecological perspective.”
Ted van der Gulik, Partnership for Water Sustainability”
“Providing an insight on agricultural and food security issues within the Fraser Basin, Ted van der Gulick will speak to the challenges as a result of pending climate change and the on-going dependency upon the river as a major source of irrigation for agriculture purposes within the Fraser Valley.”
Bob McDonald, CBC News
“Bob McDonald of CBC Quirks and Quarks fame, a well known and popular ambassador for science, will speak to water security within a global context and remind us of the urgency to realign the water story, resulting in timely solutions for the common good and our collective survival.”
Michael Blackstock, Independent Scholar
“Michael Blackstock, a professional forester and independent scholar of European and First Nations (Gitxsan) descent will outline the principles of Blue Ecology and how this invaluable and timely approach will, in partnership with science, assist in the development of collaborative knowledge to address the uncertainties of climate change.”
An Inter-Generational Water Ethic
“The water story that evolves from this partnership must be simple to understand, yet inclusive and firmly grounded in reality, embracing both science and spiritual values in equal measure,” emphasizes Eric Bonham.
“This quantum leap calls for a commitment that advances water security understanding beyond its present limitation. In effect the status quo approach is no longer effective. As former United States Vice-President Al Gore observed:
“We are in an unusual predicament as a global civilization. The maximum that is politically feasible, even the maximum that is politically imaginable right now, still falls short of the minimum that is scientifically and ecologically necessary.”
“In essence the call is for an attitude change and a compelling story towards the acceptance of an inter-generational water ethic that is supported through the inclusion and engagement of participants with diverse backgrounds and talents including scientists, First Nation leaders, scholars, community stewards, artists, musicians, politicians, youth and seniors alike.
“Each is part of something bigger, for the community we belong to is all of life. However, it all starts with a conversation which is the purpose of the Blue Ecology workshop, with its overarching theme of interweaving First Nations cultural knowledge and Western Science,” concludes Eric Bonham.