Category:

Convening for Action in the Province of British Columbia

FLASHBACK TO 2011: “Simply put, we believe if we respect the land, water sustainability will follow. Getting there requires a change in mind-set and land ethic,” stated Kim Stephens at the FCM Sustainable Communities Conference held in Victoria, BC


At the 2011 FCM Sustainable Communities Conference, eight innovators shared their breakthrough examples of municipal sustainability in a range of sectors. The format was interactive, which allowed participants to share and learn from each other. “Kim Stephens provided a water perspective. His takeaway message was that water sustainability will be achieved through green infrastructure policies and practices. There was a great deal of excitement and energy in the room and delegates were very engaged during the roundtable discussion,” stated Azzah Jeena.

Read Article

FLASHBACK TO 2008: “Infrastructure grant programs enable the government of British Columbia to influence behaviour and advance the ‘New Business As Usual’. The vision is to move toward water sustainability by implementing green infrastructure policies and practices,” stated Deputy Minister Dale Wall in his keynote address at the Gaining Ground Summit held in Victoria


The Province is looking at raising the bar as far as what it is trying to accomplish with standards, provincial legislation and infrastructure grant programs. “We are using the slogan The New Business As Usual to convey the message that, for change to really occur, practices that until now have been viewed as the exception must become the norm moving forward,” stated Dale Wall.

Read Article

COVID-19 PANDEMIC / WORDS OF WISDOM FROM THE WORLD’S TOP FISHERY SCIENTIST: “We transform the world, but we don’t remember it. We adjust our baseline to the new level, and we don’t recall what was there,” states Dr. Daniel Pauly when he explains the Shifting Baselines Syndrome, a term that he coined for an essay in 1995, and that helped to start the field of historical ecology


These are challenging and life-altering times as all of us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. In a very real sense, the situation parallels how it must have felt in 1940 when WW2 changed everything. Our COVID-19 response proves British Columbians can mobilize in a common cause when confronted with a life-altering emergency that impacts all. Viewed in this context, Dr. Daniel Pauly offers timely words of wisdom for “bending the curve” in the years and decades ahead to achieve ecological restoration and, in the process, adapt to a changing climate. When there is a will, there is a way. Keep calm and carry on.

Read Article

FLASHBACK TO 2006: “The Convening for Action initiative creates an opportunity to turn ideas into action,” stated Erik Karlsen in a magazine article about the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, and published by Construction Business


The Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia provides a partnership umbrella for an array of on-the-ground initiatives. “We are building on the successful precedent that the former Ministry of Water, Land & Air Protection established in 2002 when the Ministry published . The Guidebook set in motion a chain of outcomes that has resulted in British Columbia being recognized internationally as a leader in implementing a natural systems approach to rainwater management in the urban environment,” stated Erik Karlsen.

Read Article

FLASHBACK TO 2010: “A vision with a task is the hope of the world,” stated Kim Stephens in his panel presentation about Uncertain Water Supplies at the 2nd Annual Symposium on Planning for Resilience hosted by the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning


“Time and time again in my career, I have seen how we create layers of complexity around assumptions. Take any kind of an issue, drill down or peel back the layers of the onion, until you get to the simple assumption. So often, experience shows, the assumption is flawed. If you ask a different question, you may get a different answer,” stated Kim Stephens. “Too often, we seem to lose sight of the fact that the future is unpredictable. Part of that may be resulting from our increasing dependence on computers. They are great but computers are not a substitute for judgment.”

Read Article

IMPROVING WHERE WE LIVE: Maybe we are not doomed after all. We have the brains. Do we have the will?


In 1995, acclaimed marine biologist Daniel Pauly coined the term “shifting baselines” to describe a phenomenon of lowered expectations. This is a foundation piece for implementing restorative development, reconnecting hydrology and ecology, and bending the curve to restore stream systems. Accepted ‘standards of practice’ – especially those for engineering, planning and finance – influence the form and function of the Built Environment. The goal of shifting to an ecologically functioning and resilient baseline and creating a creekshed legacy will ultimately depend on the nature of change to standards of practice.

Read Article

HOW WILL BRITISH COLUMBIA ADAPT TO FIRE WEATHER: “Hope is active leadership. The Indigenous rooted theory of Blue Ecology, or a water-first approach to understanding and dealing with climate change, is a well-spring of hope,” states Michael Blackstock, author


“The signs of climate change are all around us. Earth mother’s lifeblood (i.e. water) is becoming sparse in the Pacific Northwest, and some Indigenous Elders say this is happening because humans are not showing respect to water,” said Michael Blackstock. “Water withdraws itself from the disrespectful. Water is transforming from ice, to sea and river water, and then to traversing atmospheric rivers. Water was sleeping as ice, but now it is moving rapidly and unpredictably around our planet. Some places are deluged, while others lay tongue-parched.”

Read Article

2019 SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP CONGRESS IN VANCOUVER: “Implementing sustainable solutions demands leaders who are more emotionally aware and open to learn from those on the leading-edge paving the way,” says Connie Linder, Founder and CEO of Intengine and the Global Change Foundation


“The Intengine Global Change Foundation is making sustainability as a lifestyle and strategy more accessible by providing funding, access, tools and education for sustainability advocates and leaders so they can expand their knowledge and bring this awareness into their profession – whatever that may be,” stated Connie Linder. “Our vision for the future is one that we all likely share, in which economic prosperity needn’t come at the cost of irreplaceable natural resources or violated human rights.”

Read Article

BLUE ECOLOGY: “There is hope for future generations if we take a water-first approach to setting priorities,” says Michael Blackstock, a champion for interweaving Indigenous Cultural Knowledge and Western Science


“Hydrologists and water managers can help build a brighter future by rediscovering the meaning of water, and interweaving the predominant Western analytical models with the more intuitive indigenous models. Blue Ecology’s philosophy is meant to be the bridge between these two cultural ways of knowing. There is hope for future generations if we take a water-first approach to setting priorities. Western science and Blue Ecology are truly partners. It is time the marriage was made official,” stated Michael Blackstock.

Read Article

Professional Reliance in British Columbia: Trickle-Down Consequences in the Local Government Sector


High profile consequences of the “professional reliance model” have been well-publicized in the natural resource management sector. Not as well-understood are the consequences in the local government sector. “80% of the revitalizing work done by urban planners and civil engineers in the 21st century will undo 80% of the work their predecessors did to cities and nature in the 20th century,” foreshadows Storm Cunningham, author of the Restoration Economy, and global thought leader. “We don’t fully understand complex systems, so humility and adaptive management are needed to restore nature, and to revitalize cities.”

Read Article