ARTICLE: Sustainable Service Delivery in a Changing Climate – A Moment of Reckoning! (Asset Management BC Newsletter, September 2019)
The focus of the article is on how elders are leading by example to bridge a demographic gap until Generations X, Y and Z take the inter-generational baton. Greenland’s glaciers are melting; the Amazon forest is on fire. At a moment in history when the phrase ‘climate emergency’ is top of mind for many, and given that there is no easy or quick fix, the article reminds us that history repeats itself. Or, as the French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote in 1848, “the more things change, the more they are the same”.
RESILIENCE + CHANGE: Session on “Tools, Resources & Funding for Local Governments” at UBCM Annual Convention updated British Columbia local government elected representatives about the ‘convening for action’ leadership role played by Partnership for Water Sustainability (Sept 2019)
Big or small, rural or urban, our communities are experiencing change at an unprecedented rate. From climate change to economic pressures, local governments are on the front lines managing the local impact of complex issues. In an uncertain future, local leaders have a duty to learn from each other and from the past and to find new approaches to plan and thrive. “One-on-one conversations with mayors and councillors from towns around BC was an effective way to inform them about the Partnership’s work,” stated Richard Boase.
GUIDANCE DOCUMENT: Slow it. Spread it. Sink it! An Okanagan Homeowner’s Guide to Using Rain as a Resource (released by the Okanagan Basin Water Board in 2012)
“There are many reasons for changing our approach to rainwater,” states Anna Warwick Sears. “Making simple shifts to what we do around the house can save on irrigation water, and keep our streams and lakes clean and healthy. This saves money and energy for water treatment. It’s funny, but something as ordinary as mulching your yard is a progressive, personal way to make a difference for water in your community. I encourage other regions to adapt this guide and customize it for their areas. We are distributing them to the public at the front counter of building departments, and they are going like hotcakes!”
LIONS GATE SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT, METRO VANCOUVER: “Community advocates focussed political attention on the need to be visionary and dare to be bold in going beyond what is currently minimum standard of practice,” says Dr. Don Mavinic, a UBC engineering professor and world-renowned expert on wastewater treatment systems who has advocated for tertiary treatment
Motivated by a shared vision that “the future is here, NOW” for restoration of the aquatic environment in Burrard Inlet, three engineers with distinguished careers have been passionate and relentless in collaborating as an interdisciplinary team to convince the Metro Vancouver Regional District to re-think the treatment components for the new Lions Gate Treatment Plant. The decision to add tertiary treatment was announced in September 2019. “Now, there is no looking back…. ’elders power, combining mind and action’,” stated Don Mavinic.
PARKSVILLE 2019: ‘Convening for Action’ symposium started strong with Dave Derrick stream restoration workshop and walkabout, and finished strong with Storm Cunningham presentation on restorative development; remarkable 40% response rate by delegates confirmed that the key educational objectives were fulfilled
Attract an audience balanced across sectors. Demonstrate the power of collaboration between the stewardship sector and local governments. Create an environment for sharing and cross-fertilizing experiences. Those were the objectives. “I just wanted to say thanks to you and everyone behind the great symposium! Great job!! It was an exciting few days, and I left feeling inspired and even somewhat empowered about finding ways to protect water. The importance of ecological services really hit home for me. There is lots of great work happening out there – thanks to all the organizers for bringing it all together,” said Laura Beckett,
NANAIMO 2018: “The vision for restorative development is an idea whose time has come – and a set of videos uploaded to YouTube provide a permanent record of this watershed moment,” stated John Finnie, Chair, Nanaimo 2018 Symposium Organizing Committee
“The program was structured as three modules to enable the audience to have an informed conversation,” stated John Finnie. “Context is everything. Hence, two co-keynote presentations in Module A set the context and primed participants for a town-hall sharing and learning session in Module B about restorative development. In the afternoon, a set of four reflective presentations introduced building blocks for achieving Sustainable Watershed Systems.”
THE CUYAHOGA RIVER CAUGHT FIRE 50 YEARS AGO. IT INSPIRED A MOVEMENT: “In 2019, will the record rate of melting of Greenland’s glaciers at the same time as the Amazon forest is burning be the ‘Cuyahoga River moment’ for Generations X, Y and Z?” wrote Kim Stephens in the first article of a new season of Waterbucket News (September 2019)
“Throughout B.C. today, there are many ‘elders in action’ still doing good work, applying a lifetime of experience and passion to tackle local, regional and provincial matters. Now is the time to learn from their efforts and what it means to be knowledgeable, giving one’s time for the common good, working on solutions, and getting results. Elders in action are beacons of hope,” states Kim Stephens. “Elders are leading by example to bridge a demographic gap until Generations X, Y and Z take the baton. Learn from our experience. Build on it. Get the wheel rolling. Time is of the essence. It is 2 minutes to midnight. The future is here, NOW.”
GUIDANCE DOCUMENT: “Town of Comox – A ‘Beacon of Hope’ for Citizen Science in Action & Reconnecting Hydrology and Ecology through the Water Balance Approach to Land Development” (#8 in the Watershed Case Profile Series, released September 2019)
“The Town was not willing to entertain any development in middle Brooklyn unless there was a demonstrated program that would eliminate any increased risks to the Town; be they flooding or environmental,” stated Shelley Ashfield. “When the EAP analysis then connected the creek to the concept of it being an asset of the Town, this provided Staff with one more way to link the stream to the health of the community. The concept of the stream as an asset allows the Town to include it in the plans to manage all of the Town’s assets on behalf of the community for future generations.”
OUR CHANGING CLIMATE: British Columbia’s Green Communities Committee recognizes the City of Kimberley for its climate action commitment (September 2019)
The Green Communities Committee (GCC) was established under the Climate Action Charter to support local governments in achieving their climate goals. “By signing the Climate Action Charter, the City has made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions,” said Scott Sommerville, City Chief Administrative Officer. “This is important work and while accolades are always great to receive, we have even more work to do to meet our goals. We look forward to sharing those updates as we see more progress on climate action.”
CARING FOR TOMORROW: Why haven’t we stopped climate change? We’re not wired to empathize with our descendants, says Dr. Jamil Zaki, director of the Stanford University Social Neuroscience Laboratory
“Human activity is now a dominant force in shaping the Earth’s environment, but humanity’s moral senses have not kept pace with this power. Our actions reverberate across the world and across time, but not enough of us feel the weight of their consequences. Empathy could be an emotional bulwark against a warming world, if our collective care produced collective action. But it evolved to respond to suffering right here, right now. Our empathic imagination is not naturally configured to stretch around the planet or toward future generations,” wrote Jamil Zaki.