British Columbia loses a champion for the environment: Jim Walker (1942-2017), former Assistant Deputy, BC Ministry of Environment

Jim Walker was revered by colleagues in the provincial government and beyond for his efforts to preserve natural areas around B.C. In a newspaper opinion piece published in 2013, he bemoaned what he saw as a lack of exposure to nature for many. “If this early intimacy and connection with nature is absent, will people still have an appreciation of the natural world?” he wrote. “Probably not.” Jim Walker served in government for 28 years. He helped to develop and deliver a number of high-profile provincial initiatives.

REGISTER NOW for an inspirational workshop on “Blue Ecology – interweaving First Nations cultural knowledge and Western science” (November 28, 2017 in Richmond)

"For the fifth straight year, the Irrigation Industry Association of BC and the Partnership for Water Sustainability are partnering to co-host a workshop that will mainstream a 'big idea' and provide professional developmentabout water management in BC,” states Kim Schaefer. "This year the workshop moves back to the Lower Mainland after being held in the Okanagan (2016), Lower Mainland (2013, 2015) and on Vancouver Island (2014)."

Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable: Keynote presentation by Kim Stephens at the June 2017 Community Meeting connected the dots to the call to action by the legendary Ian Mcharg in his classic book “Design with Nature” (1967)

Design with Nature is widely considered one of the most important and influential works of its kind. McHarg insisted we look at the many aspects of the entire system we are designing when building streets, structures, and cities; and instead of fighting against natural forces, design in harmony with them. "The ‘design with nature’ philosophy has become an integral and essential part of the green infrastructure, sustainable rainwater management and water sustainability branding in BC," stated Kim Stephens.

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE LAND DOES MATTER! – “Stormwater Impacts Communities and Creeks – What Can Streamkeepers Do?” – theme for regional workshop hosted by North Shore Streamkeepers (March 2017)

“My motivation is simple – I live right by a stream. I hear it roar when the rain is heavy, I hear it trickle in the summer. It provides comfort on dreary days. To me it is nature’s music. It is always there, that is how it should be. A threat to that undermines all those emotions that I and many streamkeepers feel," stated Jane Dysart. “Cause and effect. We hope to learn where we can help local government, and possibly participate by bringing ideas based on knowledge from this workshop.”

BOOK LAUNCH: “The book ‘downstream: reimagining water’ is an anthology and my chapter is titled Interweaving Weaver,” states Michael Blackstock, independent scholar and author

“Blue Ecology is an ecological philosophy, which emerged from interweaving First Nations and Western thought. It is just a starting point in this new era of interweaving,” states Michael Blackstock. “Our children’s children will be faced with daunting, complex, and urgent environmental problems. The impending crisis requires us to begin to lay a foundation for our children’s children to have a starting point, and some options to grasp in the urgent moment. We owe them hope.”

FLASHBACK TO 2005: “Implementing change is primarily a people matter, not a technical one,” wrote Erik Karlsen in a paper that introduced the What / So What / Now What / Then What mind-map as a foundation piece for convening for action

“Bridging the gap between interest and practice involves motivating practitioners to engage in ways that provide sufficient meaning to inspire them and lead to action. The desired outcome is implementation of on-the-ground changes in policies, programs, applied research, practitioner education and standards of practice that lead to full integration of land development and water management," stated Erik Karlsen.

ARTICLE: Planet Reconciliation – Interweaving Indigenous knowledge and western science to make water-first decisions through Blue Ecology (published in Water Canada magazine, March-April 2017)

"The journey to a water-resilient future starts with Western science acknowledging water for its central functional and spiritual roles in our world," states Michael Blackstock. "Blue Ecology has five guiding principles and aligns with the whole-system, water balance approach. Adoption of the principles – Spirit, Harmony, Respect, Unity and Balance - would move Blue Ecology from theory to practice, as an aid for water managers."

FLOWnGROW WORKSHOP: “I created a term called ‘A Water Rhythm’ to help describe how to wean plants from regular water supply,” explains Ken Salvail, the ‘Grower Coach’

The Okanagan Region is heavily dependent on irrigation to nourish crops and maintain greenspace throughout a parched region. Ken Salvail’s experience is that people in the Okanagan use more water than is needed. This results from a lack of understanding of how much water is enough. "The irrigation systems that I design and install tend to teach plants how to live with constant water rather than little water," wrote Ken Salvail.

Keeping on Track: Risk & Uncertainty at the Nexus of Water, Food and Biodiversity — a call to action by Bob Sandford, water champion & author, at FLOWnGROW workshop (November 2016)

“We need to get a better handle on how even non-tipping points in climate and other parts of the Earth system might cause truly abrupt tipping points in our social and political systems. We need to better understand the 'critical thresholds' that exist within our water and water-related climate systems and better connect them to associated tipping points ," stated Bob Sandford. “You have room to move. Move now while that room still exists."

“The Climate Nexus: Water, Food, Energy and Biodiversity in a Changing World” – a new book (2016) co-authored by Bob Sandford and Jon O’Riordan, water champions

“What we have not been good at is understanding the ecological effects of changes to the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere with induced warming,” states Bob Sandford. He insists that there needs to be agricultural revolution to retain far more carbon in soil. And he wants Canada to lead that revolution to 'protect crucial Earth system functions'. “I think we need agriculture that’s not just restorative but regenerative,” declares Bob Sandford.