FLASHBACK TO 2008: “There was a sense of urgency. We wanted to talk about and establish some way of collaborating on Vancouver Island,” stated Eric Bonham at the Shared Stewardship of Our Water Resources Workshop
Note to Reader:
In February 2008, the Vancouver Island Region of the Ministry of Environment hosted its second annual ‘water workshop’ in Nanaimo. Under the theme of Green Approaches to Development, the Ministry invited the team of Eric Bonham and Kim Stephens to provide a progress report on CAVI – Convening for Action on Vancouver Island.
The genesis of CAVI can actually be traced back to 2002, explained Eric Bonham, a founding member of the CAVI Leadership Team and formerly a Director in both the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
“When I was still with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and a member of the Board of the BC Water & Waste Association….we took ourselves up and down Vancouver Island. We asked the same question: What will Vancouver Island look like in 50 years?“
“There was a sense of urgency. We wanted to talk about and establish some way of collaborating on Vancouver Island. We found that the north is not talking to the south, and the east is not talking to the west.”
“So, we said why don’t we pull these people together. And we did! In 2005 we held the first Meeting of the Minds in Parksville. We brought together a diverse group of 40 people from three levels of government, academia, NGOs, First Nations and the business sector.”
“This led to a consultation workshop in conjunction with the Water in the City Conference in September 2006. Out of that came CAVI.”
Mobilizing to Save Civilization
“In his book Mobilizing to Save Civilization, Lester Brown wrote that we have the technologies to restructure the world and its economies and stabilize climate. The challenge now is to build the political will to do so. Saving civilization is not a spectator sport. Each of us has a leading role to play,” quoted Eric Bonham.
“In A Sound County Almanac,” he continued, “Aldo Leopold wrote that we abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see the land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
A Sand County Almanac is a combination of natural history, scene painting with words, and philosophy. It is perhaps best known for the following quote, which defines Aldo Leopold’s land ethic:
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
“Things do happen when we collaborate. I am a believer that when there is a will, there is a way,” concluded Eric Bonham.
To view the presentation by Eric Bonham, watch the video below:
To Learn More:
To view a copy of the agenda, click on Shared Stewardship of our Water Resources: Now and in the Future.
To download a copy of PowerPoint storyline that guided the co-presentation by Kim Stephens and Eric Bonham, click on this link to Creating Our Future: The New Business As Usual.
The Land Ethic
Published in 1949 as the finale to A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic” essay is a call for moral responsibility to the natural world. At its core, the idea of a land ethic is simply caring: about people, about land, and about strengthening the relationships between them.
Ethics direct all members of a community to treat one another with respect for the mutual benefit of all. A land ethic expands the definition of “community” to include not only humans, but all of the other parts of the Earth, as well: soils, waters, plants, and animals, or what Leopold called “the land.”
In Leopold’s vision of a land ethic, the relationships between people and land are intertwined: care for people cannot be separated from care for the land. A land ethic is a moral code of conduct that grows out of these interconnected caring relationships.
Leopold did not define the land ethic with a litany of rights and wrongs in A Sand County Almanac. Instead, he presented it as a set of values that naturally grew out of his lifetime of experiences in the outdoors. Leopold wrote that “we can only be ethical in relation to something we can see, understand, feel, love, or otherwise have faith in.”
He believed that direct contact with the natural world was crucial in shaping our ability to extend our ethics beyond our own self-interest. He hoped his essays would inspire others to embark or continue on a similar lifelong journey of outdoor exploration, developing an ethic of care that would grow out of their own close personal connection to nature.