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Turning Ideas Into Action

TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION: “We are creating a ‘sharing of experience’ about land development practices and stream health,” observes Peter Law, a founding Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC


“The reason I joined the Partnership for Water Sustainability in the early days of ‘incorporation’ was to be an advocate for educating local communities, land decision makers and the stewardship communities about the need to move from awareness to action. We need to both reduce the demand for water and protect stream health from the adverse consequences of land development practices,” recalls Peter Law.

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Turning Ideas Into Action: “Use hindsight to frame what lies ahead,” says Erik Karlsen


“Change involves a paradigm shift from an old way of thinking-and-doing to a new way, typically to replace unacceptable outcomes with acceptable ones,” stated Erik Karlsen.
“When this occurs some might ask why the old way wasn’t designed to anticipate and prepare for its impacts from the outset? And, more to the point, how do we design and implement new paradigms to achieve more sustainable and resilient outcomes.”

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Green, Heal and Restore the Earth: Ian McHarg’s “Design with Nature” vision has influenced implementation of British Columbia’s Water Sustainability Action Plan


In his 1969 book, Design With Nature, Ian McHarg pioneered the concept of environmental planning. “So, I commend Design with Nature to your sympathetic consideration. The title contains a gradient of meaning. It can be interpreted as simply descriptive of a planning method, deferential to places and peoples, it can invoke the Grand Design, it can emphasize the conjunction with and, finally it can be read as an imperative. DESIGN WITH NATURE!,” wrote Ian McHarg.

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BC Hydro’s Conservation Community of Practice demonstrates a “top-down & bottom-up” approach to leading change


“We define conservation quite broadly, to include more than just conserving energy or reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Our long-term goal is build connections between and within communities that result in advancing existing and creating new community-based commitments to actions that support the creation of a conservation culture,” stated Pia Nagpal.

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“Design with Nature” philosophy guides Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia


To understand where we are heading, we need to understand where we have come from. Historical context is important. The ‘design with nature’ paradigm is borrowed from the seminal book by Ian McHarg because it captures the essence of climate change adaptation. Adaptation is about responding to the changes that will inevitably occur. Adaptation is at the community level and is therefore about collaboration.

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