DOWNLOAD A COPY OF: “Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Oral history extends the period of record and our understanding of what the data mean” – released by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in February 2022
NOTE TO READER:
Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the vision for Living Water Smart in British Columbia to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate. The edition published on February 8, 2022 featured Michael Blackstock, Independent Indigenous Scholar, who developed Blue Ecology, the “water-first” ecological approach to interweaving Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science. The storyline highlights “moments of insight” extracted from a conversation between Michael and Neil Goeller, provincial government hydrologist, about the meaning of interweaving.
What is the Synopsis for this Conversation?
Blue Ecology is meant to be a companion because it augments existing Western science hydrology rather than displacing this knowledge. Oral history extends the period of record and our understanding of what the data mean.
In BC, hydrometric records are fairly limited in time and geographic coverage. From a hydrology perspective, then, interweaving science and a rich oral history would turn a comparatively short period of data collection into thousands of years of knowledge. This might profoundly change how we view extreme changes in the water cycle and the consequences in BC.
The Observation Record is in the Oral History
The question posed by Neil Goeller was this, “It seems obvious that oral history provides context. If our society had a rich oral history that stretched back over time beyond the period of scientific data collection, would we then understand that Mother Earth is in the driver’s seat, and maybe we are just misreading the map?”
“Michael, your work on Blue Ecology has me thinking that the idea of interweaving traditional knowledge gives us a broader set of tools to help people understand what we need to do.”
Michael responded, “In science, as you know Neil, you create your hypothesis and then you make observations. Indigenous knowledge can bring in thousands of years of observations. From that alone, and if you are humble enough, would you like a data set of 100 years or 10,000 years?”
TO LEARN MORE:
To read the complete story published on February 8th 2022, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Oral history extends the period of record and our understanding of what the data mean.