ARTICLE: “Green + Blue Parallels from Down Under” – reflections by Kim Stephens in Sitelines magazine (October 2016)

Note to Reader:

Sitelines magazine is a publication of the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects (BCSLA). Published bi-monthly, BCSLA has a longstanding practice of inviting partner organizations or individuals to take on a co-editor role and provide the content for an issue. Julie Schooling was responsible for the October 2016 issue and invited Kim Stephens of the Partnership for Water Sustainability to contribute an article.


A Common Need to Adapt

julie-schooling_120p“When I volunteered to be co-editor the October 2016 issue of Sitelines magazine,I saw a ‘niche’ for Kim Stephens in sharing the ‘ecosystem’ of tools designed to help a wide range of people and organizations to manage our land and water,” states Julie Schooling, Kamloops-based landscape architect. “I’m dazzled at how accessible these tools have become for laypeople, including landscape architects.”

kim-stephens_sep2016_120p“At the end of August 2016, I was to be in Australia to deliver a keynote address on our parallel journeys. This timing combined with the schedule of key dates established by Sitelines led me to the obvious possibility – and that was to weave an Australian twist into a reflective article for Julie’s purposes. And so I did,” adds Kim Stephens, the Partnership’s Executive Director.

“When I started brainstorming about this issue of Sitelines with my team of contributors, I believed the articles would focus on the technical and environmental aspects of green infrastructure as it relates to water quantity and quality. And yet every author has emphasized how intertwined the social and economic dimensions of our ‘watershed assets’ are with their ecological benefits,” continues Julie Schooling.

“In his article, Kim Stephens draws parallels between made-in-BC solutions and those ‘Down Under’, noting cultural differences but the common need to adapt.”

Towards a Water-Resilient Future

“Green+Blue. How well are we doing in BC, really? Time and distance provide perspective. Two keynote presentations in Australia over a 15-year period allowed me to view our BC situation in a comparative context,” wrote Kim Stephens.

“BC and Australia are on parallel journeys, but our pathways to a water-resilient future differ. Still, the benefits of sharing and comparing are that we can inspire each other. Also, we can learn from the other’s experience to avoid going down dead-ends.”

“In 2001, the challenge on both sides of the Pacific was HOW to overcome fear and doubt. Conventional wisdom at the time questioned whether Green+Blue approaches would work. Trans-Pacific sharing and learning helped to overcome fear and doubt. In 2016, the spotlight is on GETTING IT RIGHT.”

“In my 2016 keynote, I introduced Australians to three ‘big ideas’ that underpin where we are heading in BC, namely: Primacy of Hydrology, Shifting Baseline Syndrome, and Cathedral Thinking. The three are interconnected. The outcome would be Sustainable Watershed Systems.”

To Learn More:

Download Green + Blue Parallels from Down Under to read the complete article written by Kim A Stephens.

Download Green + Blue Infrastructure to read the complete set of articles published in the October 2016 issue of Sitelines Magazine, edited by Julie Schooling and published by BC Society of Landscape Architects.