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Convening for Action in British Columbia


"Convening for Action is a provincial initiative that supports innovation on-the-ground. From the perspective of those leading and/or participating in regional programs, having this community-of-interest provides the opportunity to 'tell our story' and 'record our history' as a work-in-progress," states Ray Fung.

Green, Heal and Restore the Earth: Ian McHarg’s “Design with Nature” vision has influenced implementation of British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Action Plan


In his 1969 book, Design With Nature, Ian McHarg pioneered the concept of environmental planning. "So, I commend Design with Nature to your sympathetic consideration. The title contains a gradient of meaning. It can be interpreted as simply descriptive of a planning method, deferential to places and peoples, it can invoke the Grand Design, it can emphasize the conjunction with and, finally it can be read as an imperative. DESIGN WITH NATURE!," wrote Ian McHarg.

ARTICLE: Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: Supporting the Vision for Integration of Natural Systems Thinking into “The BC Framework”

"Coined in 2010, the term Sustainable Service Delivery was introduced by the Province to integrate financial accountability, infrastructure sustainability and service delivery. While the BC Framework was only launched in early 2015, it has garnered both national and international attention. Other provinces, as well as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, are integrating the BC Framework into their respective work," wrote Glen Brown.

British Columbia’s Climate is Changing: “2015 is a teachable year,” stated Kim Stephens in media interviews about the long-term impact of drought conditions

“The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is drought and flooding. The summer dry season has extended on both ends and communities can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable rain to maintain a healthy water balance in their watersheds. This is putting water supply systems and ecosystems under extreme stress. 2015 will change how we do business over the next few years,” stated Kim Stephens.

Build Water Resilient Communities: Partners release program overview for “Feast AND Famine Workshop” (December 1, 2015)

"The ‘new normal’ in British Columbia is drought and flooding. The summer dry season has extended on both ends and we can no longer count on a predictable snowpack and reliable rain to maintain a healthy water balance in our watersheds. Hence, this workshop on responding to a changing climate is about solutions and tools that are being developed in BC through collaboration to support practitioners and decision makers to take action at a local level," states Mike Tanner.

REGISTER NOW for a workshop on “Feast AND Famine! – Solutions and Tools in Response to a Changing Climate in BC” (December 1, 2015 in Richmond)

The workshop will showcase solutions and demonstrate tools that can help communities achieve a vision for water resiliency. "The Irrigation Industry Association and the Partnership for Water Sustainability are again partnering to co-host and jointly organize a workshop. This is the third consecutive year that our organizations have collaborated. The relationship has worked well. The IIABC and Partnership perspectives complement each other nicely,” states Karen van der Gulik.

Canadian Water Summit 2015 features “Panel on Farming, Fishery & Watershed Connections on the Fraser River”

“We are the only panel that will be talking about watersheds. We will be as frank and forthcoming as possible about the challenges and opportunities. Each member of the panel will speak to Water/Land Use interactions in BC, and along the Fraser River in particular. Each will elaborate on the biggest concerns for the future, anticipated positive changes, what civil society can do to ensure a better future, and where we are going from here," stated Anna Warwick Sears.

FLASHBACK TO 2005: Green Infrastructure Consultation Workshop launched “Convening for Action in Metro Vancouver”

The workshop was designed to engage the Metro Vancouver Regional Engineers Advisory Committee (REAC). “The 2005 workshop truly was a dynamic and transformational event. We witnessed the motivational power of celebrating successes. We also recognized the need to get the story out about the leadership being shown by local government. This influenced everything that followed, including the work on Vancouver Island," stated Ray Fung.

Flashback to 2005 Rainwater Harvesting Workshop Series: Reflections by Australia’s Peter Coombes about the journey Down Under to a resilient future

“The easy going ‘she’ll be right mate’ culture of Australians masks strong aversion to change ‘we’ve always done it this way’. Our water management is, mostly, a centralised top down (driven by institutions) process. In contrast, Canadians have a bottom up (driven by people) discussion ‘let’s talk about this’ about ideas – consensus via non-government organisations and community governance," wrote Peter Coombes.

Turning Ideas Into Action: “Use hindsight to frame what lies ahead,” says Erik Karlsen

“Change involves a paradigm shift from an old way of thinking-and-doing to a new way, typically to replace unacceptable outcomes with acceptable ones,” stated Erik Karlsen. “When this occurs some might ask why the old way wasn’t designed to anticipate and prepare for its impacts from the outset? And, more to the point, how do we design and implement new paradigms to achieve more sustainable and resilient outcomes.”

Celebrating a Decade of Success: “2005 Penticton Achieving Water Balance Workshop” was first regional event held under “Convening for Action in BC” umbrella

“In 2005, we started a conversation about a water balance way-of-thinking and acting which continues to this day,” stated Robert Hicks. “We built the workshop program around the Water OUT=Water IN paradigm. The equation is deceptively simple, yet it embodies the basic principles and concepts for dealing with uncertainty and managing risk. It allows us to draw attention to the elements of the water cycle."

“Water OUT = Water IN”: New Paradigms to Achieve More Sustainable and Resilient Outcomes

“It is hard to imagine this work happened only 10 years ago. We know, however, both the website and the Convening for Action programs are successes – since the themes around water-centric planning and ‘design with nature’ have become part of the fabric of common understanding and basic foundation of how things need to get done in a region when talking about water,” stated Oliver Brandes.