Category:

Outreach Presentations

RECONNECT PEOPLE, FISH, LAND AND WATER: “At the end of the day, it often comes down to the right people in the right place at the right time, over time. When the stars are aligned, it can result in pure magic,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, in his panel presentation at the virtual Living Soils Symposium hosted by Regeneration Canada (February 2021)


“The vision is to reconnect people, fish, land and water in altered landscapes. The big question is HOW we will pull this off. Decisions ripple through time. So it is imperative that we replace short-term thinking with a long-term view that extends out 50, 100 or more years. Instant gratification and quarterly reports are examples of the worst kinds of short-term thinking. That is what we have to replace with a career perspective. It takes a career to figure things out. And then we have to pass that understanding and wisdom on to the next generation,” stated Kim Stephens.

Read Article

MOVING TOWARDS A WATER-RESILIENT FUTURE: “Given the New Normal of floods and droughts in BC, we are at one of those ‘watershed moments’ in time where we need to challenge folks to elevate their horizons. We are at a tipping point. Will we adapt? Will we get it right? Will we restore balance to the water cycle?” – Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, at the Annual Conference of Engineers & Geoscientists BC (October 2018)


Kim Stephens quoted the author Eva Kras: “Our present global and societal problem is that short-term thinking governs much of what we do. In many organizations, the long-term view has somehow become excluded over many generations. We need to re-learn basically ‘how we think’, using both the right (long-term) and left (short-term) hemispheres of our brain. Both are important, but the sad part is that we have convinced ourselves that the Left Hemisphere can do EVERYTHING.”

Read Article

METRO VANCOUVER UTILITIES COMMITTEE: “The IREI provides Metro Vancouver municipalities with a mechanism to collaborate, share outcomes and cross-pollinate experience with local governments on the east coast of Vancouver Island,” stated Kim Stephens when he updated Metro Vancouver elected representatives about successes flowing from the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative (Sept 2018)


“Inter-governmental collaboration and funding enable the Partnership for Water Sustainability to develop approaches, tools and resources; as well as provide teaching, training and mentoring. We depend on the goodwill of elected representatives on committees such as Metro Vancouver’s Utilities Committee to provide political support for the unique bridging role that the Partnership plays in the local government setting. Their long-term support has contributed to the effectiveness of the Partnership as the hub for a ‘convening for action’ network,” stated Kim Stephens.

Read Article

KEYNOTE AT COMMUNITY MEETING OF COQUITLAM RIVER WATERSHED ROUNDTABLE (June 2017): "Everyone needs to agree on expectations, and how all the players will work together," stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, when he explained the ‘regional team approach’


“The ‘regional team approach’ is founded on partnerships and collaboration; and seeks to align actions at three scales – provincial, regional and local,” stated Kim Stephens. “We use the word collaboration a lot in British Columbia. And it means something to us. But in other parts of the world, my experience is that they don’t really understand our ‘top-down, bottom-up’ approach. It may take us longer to get there, but collaboration is how we get to the destination.”

Read Article

KEYNOTE AT REGIONAL WORKSHOP ORGANIZED BY NORTH SHORE STREAMKEEPERS (March 2017): "Redevelopment of neighbourhoods creates opportunities to ‘get it right’ the second time and restore watershed health," stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


“Our region is hemmed in by the mountains, the sea, the US border and the Agricultural Land Reserve. This means population growth will be accommodated through redevelopment, and this involves redevelopment of watersheds. This is what gives us the second chance to get it right,” stated Kim Stephens. “As the housing stock turns over, there is a window of opportunity. We get one window every 50 years. Will local government take action in time?”

Read Article

KEYNOTE AT ‘RISING TO THE CHALLENGE’ CONFERENCE IN AUSTRALIA (August 2016): “Two keynote presentations in Australia over a 15-year period have allowed me to view our evolving British Columbia situation in a comparative context,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


A national conference held in Queensland provided Kim Stephens with a platform for reflecting on ‘parallel journeys’ during the period 2001 through 2016. “The Rising to the Challenge conference was a milestone event. Because Australian practitioners are at a fork in their journey, they are looking to learn from BC experience. They are curious about our “whole systems” approach to water balance management,” observed Kim Stephens. “BC is moving from asset management to ‘sustainable service delivery’, with a focus on protecting the ‘water balance services’ that a watershed system provides.”

Read Article

FLASHBACK TO 2014: Metro Vancouver elected representatives were informed that UBC’s Dr. Daniel Pauly coined the phrase “Shifting Baseline Syndrome” to explain why environmental degradation is incremental


The Shifting Baselines concept explains why drivers for watershed protection differ across Canada. “Every generation will use the images that they got at the beginning of their conscious lives as a standard and will extrapolate forward. And the difference then, they perceive as a loss. But they don’t perceive what happened before as a loss. You can have a succession of changes. At the end you want to sustain miserable leftovers. And the question is, why do people accept this?,” stated Daniel Pauly.

Read Article

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: “The BC Process for moving from Awareness to Action, and achieving the vision for Sustainable Watershed Systems, is founded on alignment, collaboration and partnerships,” stated Kim Stephens at the Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium (March 2017)


“In British Columbia, we have this unique model called top-down, bottom-up. It is the synthesis that results when you have an over-arching provincial policy framework and then all the players embrace shared responsibility,” stated Kim Stephens. “If we can change the ethic, so that the land ethic becomes the water ethic, then the key is establishing precedents for doing things differently. Once you establish the precedents for designing with nature, then they can be replicated in other communities.”

Read Article

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: How the Water Sustainability Act is Already Influencing Water Management in British Columbia (Landscape Architects Annual Conference – Shifting Currents, April 2016)


The keynote address was a co-presentation by Kim Stephens and Ted van der Gulik of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC. “Licensing 20,000 wells initially seemed daunting when a provincial group met in mid-2015 to brainstorm an approach to this immense task. The team had to solve the challenge of HOW to help groundwater users reliably quantify their annual water licence volumes. Suffice to say, the brainstorming resulted in an Aha Moment and a solution took shape,” stated Ted van der Gulik.

Read Article

British Columbia vision for implementation of “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” introduced to Australian audience at national stormwater conference (Aug 2016)


“The Rising to the Challenge conference was a milestone event. Because Australian practitioners are at a fork in their journey, they are looking to learn from BC experience. They are curious about our ‘whole systems’ approach to water balance management,” stated Kim Stephens. “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. My due diligence in preparing for the keynote address involved interviewing a cross-section of ‘water thought leaders’ from across Australia.”

Read Article