A PROPERLY FUNCTIONING ‘NATURAL COMMONS’ SUPPORTS A PACKAGE OF ECOLOGICAL SERVICES: Ecological Accounting Process, EAP, is a pragmatic ‘made in British Columbia’ approach to financial valuation of the ecological services supplied by a stream
“The EAP program has three stages: Test / Refine / Mainstream. During 2017 and 2018, two Stage 1 demonstration applications tested the concept, and demonstrated EAP relevance to local government. In 2019, two Stage 2 demonstration applications resulted in working definitions and consistent application of the EAP methodology. In 2020 and 2021, six Stage 3 demonstration applications will mainstream use of EAP. The grand total of ten demonstration applications will encompass a range of land use situations in five regional districts,” stated Kim Stephens.
PREPARE FOR TOMORROW: “When the dust of COVID-19 settles, we should look back at this moment as proof that our societies are not enslaved to fate, and find strength in the demonstrated ability of modern societies to react to global emergencies,” say Eric Galbraith and Ross Otto of McGill University
“Why do we sometimes rely on slow, deliberative, and effortful choices, while at other times we rely on fast, habitual, and reflexive choice? On one hand, making the best possible decision is effortful and time-consuming, but on the other hand, the benefits resulting from deliberative behavior may be small relative to its cost,” wrote Ross Otto. “My research investigates why we sometimes rely on slow and effortful choices, while at other times we rely on fast and reflexive choice.”
ARTICLE: “An outcome of EAP evolution is the identification of an eco-terminology framework that is appropriate and relevant to municipal asset management,” stated Tim Pringle, the pragmatic visionary leading EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process initiative underway in British Columbia (Asset Management BC Newsletter, Winter 2020)
“Asset management professionals need to be aware of bias that may be implicit in traditional terminology for evaluation of ecosystem approaches. Bias comes into play in one or more of the following three ways. First, whether one breaks the ecological system into its parts, or looks at the system as a whole. Secondly, whether the analytical focus is solely on financial values, or also takes into account social values. Finally, whether the guiding philosophy for valuation primarily is influenced by academia and scientific arguments, or by how the community uses the natural commons (stream corridor),” stated Tim Pringle.
FORESTS 101: The green infrastructure sustaining life on earth – “People can work together to sustainably and effectively shape natural resource use, as long as ground rules and parameters are clear, and those who work on the land are involved,” stated Robert Nasi, Director General, Center for International Forest Research
“There are five areas where investment can be made to rejuvenate the functions of degraded ecosystems. These will help protect, expand and value forests and their biodiversity, transform agriculture into perennial systems, and build sustainable value chains, with the combined support of governments and the private sector to make the transition to sustainable economies,” said Robert Nasi. “Major policy decisions will continue to be undertaken with a presumption that individuals cannot organize themselves and always need to be organized by external authorities.”
DESIGN WITH NATURE: Stefano Boeri Architetti’s Smart Forest City plan for Cancun, Mexico, takes the concept of a green city to entirely new levels
“Indeed the effort of the smart Forest City of Cancun could make our world a better place, reducing significantly the negative impacts on the environment, possibly being a pioneer for a new kind of human settlement, a man made city for nature and biodiversity,” said Stefano Boeri. “”Thanks to the new public parks and private gardens, thanks to the green roofs and to the green facades, the areas actually occupied will be given back by nature through a perfect balance between the amount of green areas and building footprint.”
“Green infrastructure focuses on cost-effective, living, upstream solutions. And there is no-where farther up stream than the roof! Green infrastructure is so powerful because it harnesses the simple solutions of nature to provide primary and secondary benefits,” states Charlie Miller, one of the key people behind friction-detention technology. “By virtue of their huge surface area and their large lateral extent, green roofs change the hydrologic response of the roof surfaces that they cover.”
RENATURING CITIES: “The public realm must increasingly be where we get the benefits of nature. This has historically been a ‘blind spot’ for city planners, urban designers and engineers,” stated Thami Croeser, spatial analyst at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and part of an international project team advising the European Union on planning for urban greening
“As cities have developed, we’ve been focused on transport, housing, industry and infrastructure – nature has been an afterthought, as cities get a handful of parks and street trees at best. In the process, we have often produced very grey urban environments that get hot, flood easily and are unattractive and unhealthy to spend time in. We have a lot of retrofitting ahead of us, especially as the climate becomes more extreme. The good news is the nature-based solutions (NBS) industry is maturing and there are more and more ways to help our cities go green,” stated Thami Croeser.
FLASHBACK TO 2011 AND THE VANCOUVER ISLAND ECONOMIC SUMMIT: “A key message is that we must get it right at the front-end of the land development process in order to achieve long-term sustainability, especially financial,” stated Judy Walker, planner with the Village of Cumberland, at a pre-summit forum about the unfunded infrastructure liability as a driver for sustainable service delivery
“We have learned from Glen Brown and others that the change in approach starts with land use planning and recognizing that infrastructure and services can be provided sustainably, both fiscally and ecologically. Another key message is that everyone involved in land development has a role to play in achieving sustainable service delivery,” stated Judy Walker. “The topic for the town-hall part was Sustainable Service Delivery Means Integrate Land Use Planning and Infrastructure Asset Management.”
FLASHBACK TO 2011: “The link between asset management and the protection of a community’s natural resources is emerging as an important piece in Sustainable Service Delivery,” stated Glen Brown in foreshadowing the ‘Primer on Integrating Natural Assets into Asset Management’, released in September 2019
“The term Sustainable Service Delivery describes a life-cycle way of thinking about infrastructure needs and how to pay for those needs over time. The challenge is to think about what asset management entails BEFORE the asset is built. This paradigm-shift starts with land use planning and determining what services can be provided sustainably, both fiscally and ecologically,” stated Glen Brown. “Land use planning in British Columbia may be significantly improved when integrated with asset management planning.”
IMPROVING THE PROCESS OF IMPROVING PLACES: “Storm Cunningham’s RECONOMICS Process raises the bar for community and regional revitalization. It’s a powerful package, succinctly capturing the process that we have doggedly tried to identify over time, not always knowing the next step,” states Eric Bonham, founding member, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia
“Every public leader knows that the reliable production of anything requires a process. They also know, deep down, that they have no real strategy or reliable process for producing either revitalization or resilience in their community (though few would acknowledge it),” stated Storm Cunningham. “I’ve thus spent the past two decades researching commonalities: what’s usually present in the successes, and what’s usually missing in the failures? I’ve boiled it down to six elements. Each of them individually increases the likelihood of success. The more of them you have, the more likely you are to succeed.”