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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.

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.

Support provided by BC Ministry of Environment enhances ability of Partnership for Water Sustainability to collaborate with local governments

“I really believe that the key to the success of the Ministry’s relationship with the Partnership and its evolution over the years has been our shared vision for water stewardship. Also, I have a really strong belief that senior governments can’t do it alone…can’t do it nor should senior governments do it alone…when there is such a wealth of knowledge and innovation and ideas at the local level," stated Lynn Kriwoken.

Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society Spearheads Groundwater Innovation in the Englishman River Watershed

“We are all truly fortunate to count Faye Smith as a fellow resident of Parksville Qualicum Beach,” wrote John Harding. “Smith, like other smart people who are truly working to improve our environment, relies on experts and science. And history. Surely, with the help of people like Smith and organizations like MVIHES, we are smart enough as a society to allow development AND protect fish habitat."

Leading Change in BC: in BC: Five regional districts embark on inter-regional education program to “Integrate Natural Systems Thinking Into Asset Management”

“As a program lead tasked with developing an integrated watershed protection strategy on a regional scale, I have found that collaboration and sharing with staff at other regional districts through the Inter-Regional Education Initiative gives me new ideas and new perspectives for goals, and ways to evaluate progress. There is no substitute for face-to-face interaction with others that are doing the same work,” stated Dale Green.

Cascading Objectives for Watershed Health, Resilient Rainwater Management and Sustainable Service Delivery in British Columbia

“The Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative is designed to help local government champions integrate natural systems thinking and adaptation to a changing climate into asset management. A desired outcome is healthy streams and watersheds. So, implement ‘Design With Nature’ standards of practice for development and infrastructure servicing. Protect and restore stream corridors and fish habitat," stated Peter Law.