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.
ARTICLE: Reflections on Intergenerational Learning, Or Not? – a core message is that different generations have different perspectives because of the way they grew up which formed beliefs and thinking patterns (Asset Management BC Newsletter, July 2019)
“Asset management (for sustainable service delivery) and water sustainability are both top priorities for local governments. But the primary challenge is ‘integration’ and getting every discipline or department within an organization to recognize the contributions of the others plus get the organization working together on a common path. Another major challenge is communicating and understanding the message. The work environment is changing with time as are the methods of communicating and the form of the messages,” wrote Wally Wells.
DRINKING WATER & WATERSHED PROTECTION IN THE NANAIMO REGION: “We engage with volunteers in the Englishman River watershed and other watersheds across our region,” stated Julie Pisani, Regional District of Nanaimo, when she explained the region’s partnership-based water quality monitoring program in a panel session on ‘Watershed Health and You’ at the Parksville 2019 Symposium (watch on YouTube)
“Through the efforts of stewardship volunteers, the RDN’s Community Watershed Monitoring Network has successfully completed 7+ years of monitoring surface water quality. A recent study has analyzed the data region-wide, modelling land use factors and their connection to water quality results, including for the Englishman River,” explained Julie Pisani. “We have worked very closely with Ministry of Environment staff who helped us to decide what the key parameters are to monitor in order to get a baseline understanding of watershed health.”
DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCE: “An Introduction to the Ecological Accounting Process (EAP)”, released at the Parksville 2019 Symposium (April 2019)
“The Ecological Accounting Process offers some insights on the importance of considering the natural commons as systems that residents, property owners and local governments rely on, but understand only to a limited extent,” stated Tim Pringle. “The commons are those resources in the community that are shared by and available to all residents and property owners. From a human settlement point of view, the reality of the commons provides a way to understand the social realities of managing ecological systems. EAP helps communities calculate what ecological services are worth.”
DESIGN WITH NATURE: “Man is that uniquely conscious creature who can perceive and express. He must become the steward of the biosphere. To do this, he must design with nature,” wrote Ian McHarg in Chapter 1 of his landmark book that is his enduring legacy (published in 1969)
More manifesto than scholarly text, Ian McHarg’s now-canonical book arrived amidst the tumult of an ascendant, leftist environmental movement—one that delivered a series of landmark political victories in the 1970s, a period that would become known as “the environmental decade.” It remains one of the best-selling books ever written by a designer, has been translated into Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish, and remains in print today.
IMPROVING WHERE WE LIVE: Maybe we are not doomed after all. We have the brains. Do we have the will?
In 1995, acclaimed marine biologist Daniel Pauly coined the term “shifting baselines” to describe a phenomenon of lowered expectations. This is a foundation piece for implementing restorative development, reconnecting hydrology and ecology, and bending the curve to restore stream systems. Accepted ‘standards of practice’ – especially those for engineering, planning and finance – influence the form and function of the Built Environment. The goal of shifting to an ecologically functioning and resilient baseline and creating a creekshed legacy will ultimately depend on the nature of change to standards of practice.