Shifting Baseline Syndrome: “Why we all need to care about Watershed Health,” Kim Stephens informs Metro Vancouver elected representatives


Creating the Future: Recognize and Address the “Shifting Baseline”

Twice per year, Kim Stephens of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC meets with the Metro Vancouver Utilities Committee. The purpose is to keep municipal elected representatives informed about inter-regional collaboration with four Vancouver Island regions; and how Metro Vancouver members are both contributing to the program content and benefiting from the sharing and learning process.

Update presentations are by invitation, with the most recent being on November 13, 2014. In his presentation, Kim Stephens introduced the work of Dr. Daniel Pauly to underscore the importance of protecting and restoring Watershed Health in the Georgia Basin bio-region.

An Opportunity to “Get It Right” the Second Time

“The reason we all need to care about Watershed Health is that another million people are expected to call Metro Vancouver home by 2041,” stated Kim Stephens when he referred the Metro Vancouver Utilities Committee to a recent headline story in the Vancouver Sun newspaper.

Kim Stephens_Halifax_Nov2014_v2_120p“The good news is that some 80 percent of this projected population growth is anticipated to be accommodated within existing developed watersheds. In other words, we have a second chance to ‘get it right’ this time….as and when properties are redeveloped. It is essential to keep in mind that the decisions we collectively make now will ripple through time. By ‘designing with nature’, this means land redevelopment creates the opportunity to restore Watershed Health over time.”

“The ‘salmon crisis’ in the 1990s galvanized awareness in BC that our baseline was shifting, suddenly and dramatically. For almost a generation, the focus of our collective efforts has been on how to reverse the shifting baseline.”

“In the local government setting, a learn-by-doing process is opening minds and building confidence that we can re-set the baseline. It will take time, commitment and perseverance.” emphasized Kim Stephens.

To underscore the importance of this key message, Kim Stephens handed out copies of a “backgrounder /op-ed” released by the Partnership in October 2014. This document elaborates on the Shifting Baseline Syndrome, a concept introduced by Dr. Daniel Pauly in 1995.

To Learn More:

To download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation by Kim Stephens, click on Inter-Regional Collaboration for Watershed Sustainability: Collaboration will Help Everyone More Easily Deliver on Regulatory Requirements

To download a copy of the accompanying 2-page Executive Summary, click on Presentation #7 – Progress update for period May 2014 through November 2014.

To download a copy of the “backgrounder / op-ed” released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in October 2014, click on Creating the Future in British Columbia: Recognize and Address the “Shifting Baseline”.