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Turning Ideas Into Action

Reflections on Inter-Generational Learning: “Today, how does any young professional truly learn his or her trade when so much of daily life revolves around the use of ‘apps’ for instant answers or solutions?” pondered Wally Wells when reflecting on what it means to be a professional engineer


“The reality today is a very different work environment then what we ‘old guys’ grew up in,” stated Wally Wells. “That leads to a required dialogue of what communicating really means and how the message is received and interpreted by different generations. Maybe, just maybe, we take too much for granted based on what we individually know in trying to communicate asset management. We need to think very hard about the way we carry the message – with, I would suggest, more thought to the perception of the listener.”

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TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION: Sustainable Watershed Systems – a decade long journey has its genesis in the seminar that launched the Beyond the Guidebook Initiative (November 2007)


“The Stormwater Guidebook set in motion a chain of outcomes that has resulted in BC being recognized internationally as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management in the urban environment,” stated Minister of Environment Barry Penner in 2007. “The Convening for Action initiative creates an opportunity to move beyond rainwater management to embrace all components of the water cycle through integrated water management.”

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TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION: Implementing change in BC – “Beyond the Guidebook 2015” illustrated the process for moving a new idea or innovation from genesis to mainstream


“Everyone learns from stories and the most compelling ones are based on the experience of the champions who are leading implementation of watershed-based solutions,” wrote Richard Boase. “The rate of progress in implementing new ideas or standards of practice generally depends on the willingness of individual champions in local government to push the envelope in applying new approaches.”

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MISSION POSSIBLE: “Major breakthroughs happen when decision-makers in government work with grass-roots visionaries in the community,” stated Eric Bonham, founding member of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


“Major breakthroughs happen when decision-makers in government work with grass-roots visionaries in the community to create the future desired by all. Collaboration grows from a shared vision about the future and commitment to action. This is the ‘top down and bottom up’ approach,” stated Eric Bonham.

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TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION: “Water as a Form-maker,” an op-ed by Tim Pringle, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


“Nature shapes landscapes, and harbours ecological assets that support human settlements. Our communities and enterprises have an uneasy relationship with this master form-maker. Why this tension when it is in human nature to respond to the run of the land, the palette of flora, and sensations stirred by wind, water, wildlife and other whims of nature?” wrote Tim Pringle.

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Turning Ideas Into Action: Environment Deputy Minister lauds work of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


“In particular the Partnership’s efforts to bring together five regional districts—Metro Vancouver, Capital Region, Cowichan Region, Nanaimo Region and Comox Valley—to implement the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Educational Initiative (IREI) has been particularly successful. This program is effectively demonstrating how to align regional and local actions with the provincial policy, program and regulatory framework,” wrote Wes Shoemaker.

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TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION: “We are creating a ‘sharing of experience’ about land development practices and stream health,” observes Peter Law, a founding Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


“The reason I joined the Partnership for Water Sustainability in the early days of ‘incorporation’ was to be an advocate for educating local communities, land decision makers and the stewardship communities about the need to move from awareness to action. We need to both reduce the demand for water and protect stream health from the adverse consequences of land development practices,” recalls Peter Law.

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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.”

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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.

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