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Water – A First Nation’s Spiritual and Ecological Perspective: Michael Blackstock’s Blue Ecology Journey began when Elder Millie Michell “passed the torch” to him in 2000


Water was very important to Millie Michell; it was important to her that children were taught to respect water. She was very concerned that the water was drying up, about pollution, and about the changes in the weather’s annual cycle. Elders such as Millie Michell emphasized the importance of groundwater. They believe that trees and vegetation act as water pumps; the trees pump water from the ground and store it in the forest.

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WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENT (Nov 28, 2017): “The flood, drought and fire extremes of 2017 provide both the backdrop and a focus for the Blue Ecology Workshop,” states Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia


“Opportunities for land use, infrastructure servicing and asset management practitioners to make a difference are at the time of (re)development. To those folks we say: share and learn from those who are leading change; design with nature; ‘get it right’ at the front-end of the project; build-in ‘water resilience’; create a lasting legacy,” wrote Kim Stephens. “The Partnership spotlight is on how to ‘bridge the gap’ between talk and action. That is mission possible.”

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BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP – MODULE 4 (Nov 28, 2017): “Blue Ecology is a means to focus, with new watery eyes, because an attitude switch needs to be thrown on the current crisis of climate change,” says Michael Blackstock, independent scholar and developer of the Blue Ecology ecological philosophy


“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,” stated Michael Blackstock. “Blue Ecology is an incremental example of how we can interweave cultural perspectives on water, but that is just a starting point in this new era of interweaving.”

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DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: Flood, Drought, Fire, Wind and Cold – because extreme events are becoming the norm, communities need to progress along a continuum to achieve “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” (September 2017)


“The Partnership for Water Sustainability is evolving online tools that support implementation of the whole-system, water balance approach. British Columbia, Washington State and California are leaders. We are moving forward in parallel on this journey,” stated Jim Dumont. “Real-world success would be defined as reduced stream erosion during wet weather, and sustained ‘environmental flows’ during dry weather.”

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Published in 2017, “downstream: reimagining water” is an anthology that envisions an intergenerational, culturally inclusive, participatory water ethic to tackle climate change; and includes a chapter by Michael Blackstock on ‘interweaving’


“This book explores the key roles that culture, arts, and the humanities play in supporting healthy water-based ecology and provides local, global, and Indigenous perspectives on water that help to guide our societies in a time of global warming,” wrote Dr. Dorothy Christian, co-editor. She is dedicated to building and strengthening any alliances with non-Indigenous communities who are open to hearing how Indigenous ways of knowing informs relationships amongst all living things.

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FLASHBACK TO 2009: “The Role of Water Resources Management” (Proceedings of a symposium held on the island of Capri, Italy) – Michael Blackstock’s work on Blue Ecology recognized by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences


“Water is a core human interest upon which we can build collaborative cross-cultural climate change strategies,” wrote Michael Blackstock. “No longer is our goal ‘sustainable development’—to plan for a high standard of living for our children. Our goal must now be ‘sustainable survival’—to plan and behave in a cross-culturally collaborative manner that ensures children, generations from now, can survive with dignity in a world where respect for water and our climate is ubiquitous.”

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DESIGN WITH NATURE: North Shore Streamkeepers action plan focuses on “what we can do” to encourage local governments to implement effective rainwater management and protect streams on Metro Vancouver’s North Shore mountainside


“Community input has confirmed that we can work together to reduce the impact of stormwater on our communities and creeks. A consistent theme was that there are a lot of good things being done but it is time for ‘the next step’,” stated Glen Parker. ” Modified sewer/drainage taxes will motivate property owners to manage their stormwater and/or provide resources for our communities to manage it for them.”

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DOWNLOADABLE BACKGROUNDER: Stormwater Impacts Communities and Creeks-What Can Streamkeepers Do? (released in March 2017)


“The stewardship community can work with local governments to inform the broader community,” stated Zo Ann Morten. “We can open eyes and minds. We can open doors so that together we can make the changes necessary to achieve a vision for a watershed. It is the streamkeepers who have the on-the-ground knowledge needed to establish restoration priorities within a watershed. That is the key to benefiting from local input.”

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ARTICLE: Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management – Embed ‘state of art’ hydrology in engineering ‘standard practice’ (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Summer 2017)


The Partnership for Water Sustainability provides a type of engagement and outreach with local government that provincial staff no longer provide. Collaboration with participating local governments creates sharing and cross-pollinating opportunities that help eliminate the ‘disconnect between information and implementation’,” wrote Kim Stephens. “A desired outcome is that land use and infrastructure practitioners would understand how natural systems support municipal services.”

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BLUE ECOLOGY WORKSHOP: Module 1 – Fin Donnelly, founder of the Rivershed Society of BC will tell the story of his swims down the Fraser River and will “Connect the Drops” (November 28, 2017 in Richmond)


Fin Donnelly’s love affair with the Fraser River began more than two decades ago. As a young man, he was a marathon swimmer, crossing the Strait of Georgia several times. But it was his journey down the length of the Fraser River in 1995 that changed his life. It was a 1,400-kilometre swim, which he completed over 21 days. Following his epic swim, Donnelly and others formed the nonprofit Rivershed Society to promote public education about the Fraser River Basins.

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