DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: The Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia – Our Story (March 2018)
“Future planners, engineers, scientists, politicians and citizens alike will be called upon to demonstrate both vision and pragmatism, working as a team towards consensus, commitment and collaboration for the common good. Such collaboration is essential and must cross all political and community boundaries given that climate change is no respecter of such creations. The Partnership has accepted this challenge and its implementation,” stated Eric Bonham.
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.
“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. “It will turn ideas into action by building capacity and understanding regarding integration of long-term, strategic planning and the implementation of physical infrastructure.”
BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP (November 28, 2017): “The vision for a water-first approach is an idea whose time has come – and a set of videos uploaded to YouTube provide a permanent record of this watershed moment,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia
“The Partnership showcases big ideas through its annual workshop series,” stated Kim Stephens. “The Blue Ecology workshop has been captured in its entirety in a set of videos that have been uploaded to YouTube for ease of access by those who are curious and/or interested to learn about what transpired at the workshop. Or simply refresh their memories. The video for each module includes the featured speaker plus the ensuing town-hall interaction with the audience.”
BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 1: “Because the over-arching theme of the workshop is interweaving Indigenous and Western thought, we invited the Musqueam to attend and provide a traditional welcome,” stated Kim Stephens
“Water and land are inseparable,” stated Morgan Guerin, Musqueam First Nation fisheries officer and Councillor, when informed about the Blue Ecology program (and which was held on the traditional territory of the Musqueam). “They are inseparable just like you cannot separate blood from the body. Because then both would die.” This statement led into a discussion of how land development alters the natural water balance and results in cumulative effects (or impacts). “It is death by a 1000 cuts. As a fisheries officer, I see those consequences. We must do business differently.”
BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 2: “When collaboration is a common or shared value, the right mix of people and perspectives will create the conditions for change. We need a paradigm-shift in the way we do things,” said Fin Donnelly – Member of Parliament, founder & Chair of the Rivershed Society of British Columbia
“I learned about the issues threatening the health of BC’s longest river in university. I experienced those issues and drew attention to the world’s greatest salmon river in a unique way, by twice swimming its 1,400km length. And because the need for Watershed CPR (Conservation-Protection-Restoration) is urgent, my goal is to inspire and encourage British Columbians to take action and apply CPR,” stated Fin Donnelly. “I can relate to Michael Blackstock’s Blue Ecology vision in that it interweaves Western science with Indigenous traditional knowledge.”
BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 3: “The Fraser Valley alone could provide two-thirds of the additional irrigated land area that is needed for food security. Think about that,” stated Ted van der Gulik, President of the Partnership for Water Sustainability
“The agricultural area irrigated in the Fraser Valley is substantial – for example, it is about 1.4 times that in the Okanagan, a fact that is not intuitive to most people,” stated Ted van der Gulik. “Also, the potential buildout for irrigated farmland in the Fraser Valley is about 2.4 times what is currently irrigated. The Fraser River would be able to supply much of the water required. But delivering the water would require a huge investment in infrastructure.”
BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 4: “Given his natural ability to relay complex scientific information in an easy to understand and fun way is always a highlight when Bob McDonald speaks at a Partnership workshop or conference,” stated Eric Bonham, founding member and elder statesman, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC
“Bob McDonald’s observation that climate change is a reality and needs an immediate and collective response given water is the issue of the 21st century, is timely, and a message that cannot be repeated enough. That said, we share a positive vision of the future, seeking solutions through collaborative partnerships and a realignment of the water story,” stated Eric Bonham. “His thought provoking presentation of ‘Water from a Global Perspective and Beyond’ truly provides the focus and context to rethink the invaluable role that water plays in our collective survival,”
BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 5: “Climate change is here. And it has happened quickly. More quickly than predicted. The real story is the accelerating rate of change, especially since extreme events are creating their own weather. In British Columbia, wildfires will shape our future,” stated Bob McDonald, national science commentator for CBC Television
“A recent interview with a UN diplomat got me thinking. The real issue is public engagement, he said. We are at a moment of truth. Unless the climate message offers hope, he explained, individuals will not be motivated to take action in the face of change. Yet action does need to happen quickly. Because Blue Ecology is a message of hope, I believe it is an idea whose time has come,” stated Bob McDonald.
BLUE ECOLOGY VIDEO 6: “Hydrologists and water managers can help build a brighter future by rediscovering the meaning of water, and interweaving the predominant Western analytical models with the more intuitive indigenous models,” stated Michael Blackstock, independent scholar and developer of the Blue Ecology ecological philosophy
Blue Ecology is an ecological philosophy developed by Michael Blackstock, professional forester and scholar. Blue Ecology looks at the water cycle differently to interweave First Nations and Western thought. Michael Blackstock has a vision: British Columbia water managers would embrace the Blue Ecology water cycle; our communities would become more water-resilient; and we would successfully adapt to a changing climate. His innovative thinking is recognized by UNESCO and the International Association of Hydrological Sciences.
DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate: Convening for Action at the 2018 Nanaimo Water Symposium – Sharing & Learning from Collaboration Success Stories (April 2018)
“Two decades, and in partnership with the City of Nanaimo, NALT launched Project 2000 to catalyze neighbourhood stewardship of city waterways. NALT held many community meetings to grow awareness of what living in a watershed means. Nowadays, groups come to NALT to tell us about their stewardship activities and to seek ways to expand those activities. We are working together to grow our network and activities across the region,” stated Paul Chapman.
FLASHBACK TO 2007: “Because people are so busy in their own worlds, it takes a third party to connect them,” stated John Finnie, CAVI Chair, at the launch event in the Showcasing Green Infrastructure Series on Vancouver Island
“There are indeed a lot of good things happening throughout Vancouver Island,” stated John Finnie. “Yet practitioners in local government are not necessarily aware when they are being innovative and are not often aware of innovation in other municipalities. We believe a key to the success of CAVI is that we are talking to people, not preaching at them. Our approach is to inform and educate. We do this by creating situations for people to have conversations.”
“Released in March 2018, ‘Our Story’ provides a comprehensive picture of the integrated program that the Partnership is delivering under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan,” stated Mike Tanner, a founding Director of British Columbia’s Partnership for Water Sustainability
“The purpose of the Water Sustainability Action Plan is to build practitioner capacity to explore new ideas so that those in the local government setting whose decisions influence community and infrastructure design can build greener and more water resilient communities in British Columbia,” stated Mike Tanner. “While the Action Plan program has ongoing since 2004, the focus since 2012 has been on an initiative branded as ‘Sustainable Watershed Systems through Asset Management’. The desired outcome is to achieve settlement, economy and ecology in balance.”