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ARTICLE: Blue Ecology – for humans to adapt to a changing climate, a new culture of water is necessary! (announcement in Asset Management BC Newsletter, September 2017)


“The warming of the planet’s atmosphere is causing water to move more quickly and disruptively through the global water cycle. Flood, drought, fire, wind and cold – extreme events are becoming the norm. Instabilities in the water cycle are increasingly apparent,” wrote Kim Stephens. “All one need do is reflect on what British Columbia has experienced in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Impacts are magnified by human interventions. “

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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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SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED SYSTEMS: “The Partnership understanding of hydrology and watershed management issues in the Pacific Northwest provides some intriguing insights,” stated Dr. Charles Rowney, Scientific Authority, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (September 2017)


In September 2017, the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia announced the re-build of the waterbalance.ca website. It now provides easy access to an array of 11 online decision support tools and calculators. “The leadership shown by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in decisively moving in this direction well over a decade ago has led to a body of knowledge from which others can learn,” stated Dr. Rowney.

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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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Climate Change, Nature’s Services & Thinking Like a Watershed on Vancouver Island: Comox Valley Eco-Asset Symposium started a regional conversation about “Sustainable Watershed Systems, through Asset Management” (March 2017)


The Comox Valley faces a long list of challenges as more frequent and intense winter storms and summer droughts overwhelm engineered infrastructure and natural systems.The Symposium introduced participants to a whole-system, water balance approach for restoration of watershed health. “The symposium spotlight was on the potentially powerful and cost-effective role that ecosystem services can play in an infrastructure strategy,” stated Tim Ennis.

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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.”

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