Tag:

climate emergency

    SEASONAL USE OF WATER IN BALANCE WITH A CHANGING WATER CYCLE: “The City sees the BC Landscape Water Calculator helping us manage our peak demand. I like that the calculator will be able to show people just how much they can reduce their water use,” stated Amy Peters, coordinator of the City of Abbotsford water conservation program


    “Many homeowners are now familiar with how much they are using because the number is on their utility bill. It really is important that they be able to see how much outdoor water use contributes to their total water demand. The BC Landscape Water Calculator does this. We are encouraging people to transform their front yards by replacing grass with water efficient plants. We are promoting both water efficient and native plants. The BC Landscape Water Calculator provides them with choices for both,” stated Amy Peters.

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    DOCKSIDE GREEN, WORLD’S GREENEST NEIGHBOURHOOD: “Do we have the intelligence and will to impel change? Can convention be busted open again to develop sustainably? This book encourages sustainable change agents to make fundamental, systemic change. Please go implement. Now,” urges Kim Fowler, author of Dockside Green, the story of the world’s most sustainable development


    “At Dockside Green, a ‘sandbox’ development concept was created instead of a ‘straitjacket’ conventional approach. This was achieved by setting the basic requirements for site redevelopment while still providing flexibility to promote innovation and competition in the land sale process. Traditional zoning was deemed to be a ‘straitjacket’ containing far too detailed and prescriptive land use and design. It would have destroyed competition and innovation,” stated Kim Fowler.

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    INTER-GENERATIONAL COLLABORATION: “In a representative democracy, politicians can only lead where people are prepared to follow,” stated Joan Sawicki, a former Speaker of the BC Legislative Assembly and Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks during the period 1991 through 2001


    “Voters often send mixed messages. While it is perfectly legitimate to hold politicians’ “feet to the fire”, there is some justification to do the reverse as well! It is sometimes too convenient to blame politicians for the short term thinking hole that we are in. If we truly want our governments to shift from short-term to longer term thinking, as voters we must then be prepared to support – and re-elect – those politicians who bring in such policies and legislation, even if those initiatives negatively impact us personally today ” stated Joan Sawicki.

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    BC’S GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERSHIP: “You can trust these people. Their only goal is to turn you on to the practical reality that designing with nature – particularly water – is underway, is working, and holds out hope for communities and cities to function better,” stated (former) West Vancouver Mayor Pam Goldsmith-Jones when she facilitated a presentation to elected representatives on the Metro Vancouver Sustainable Region Initiative Task Force (October 2006)


    “I was asked by members of the Green Infrastructure Partnership to help them support local leaders throughout BC, so that we – the politicians – can champion the idea that designing with nature, particularly with regard to how water flows, has everything to do with achieving a built environment that is truly sustainable. As the leaders appointed to design the Sustainable Region Initiative, we view you as critical partners in affecting positive change with regard to infrastructure design in the region,” stated Mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones.

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    HYDRATING LANDSCAPES TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE: “It was 20 years ago when we realized that soil is the cornerstone for water sustainability. Restoring the ‘balance’ to the ‘water balance’ starts with soil,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia, in his panel presentation at the virtual Living Soils Symposium hosted by Regeneration Canada (February 2021)


    “To adapt to a changing water cycle, soil depth as an ‘absorbent sponge’ is a primary water management tool, during both dry-weather and wet-weather periods. When the soil sponge has sufficient depth, the water holding capacity means that less water would be needed during dry-weather to irrigate gardens. This contributes to sustainability of water supply. And in wet-weather, an effective sponge would slowly release runoff and contribute to sustainability of aquatic habitat,” stated Kim Stephens.

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    FLASHBACK TO 2009: “To do an Integrated Stormwater Management Plan right, one has to start with the desired outcome – which is protect or improve stream health – and then determine what actions in the watershed will green the urban landscape,” stated Kim Stephens, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Management Reference Panel, when reporting out to regional elected representatives


    A commitment by Metro Vancouver municipalities to integrate land use and drainage planning was the genesis for Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs). “When the Reference Panel reported back to the Waste Management Committee in July 2008, we identified the ISMP process as a sleeper issue because there are 130 watersheds in the region; and continuation of the old-business-as-usual would potentially result in an aggregate unfunded liability that could easily equal the $1.4 billion cost of sewage treatment,” stated Kim Stephens.

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    CONVENING FOR ACTION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “If we are going to tackle the huge challenge that is the climate emergency, then we are absolutely going to need to work with nature and put aside the idea that we can dominate it,” stated Laura Dupont, President, Lower Mainland Local Government Association


    “Salmon brought me a strong sense of community, something I had never really felt before. That came as an unexpected surprise. I felt protective of what we share, and that the next generation deserves it as much as we do. I got political and ran for city council. I talked to everyone who would speak with me and found out that a lot of people shared those values. It was rare to come across someone who didn’t care about the parks and trails and nature we are so fortunate to have right outside our door,” stated Laura Dupont.

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    DESIGN WITH NATURE: “Floods will always come, but we can build better to prepare. How do we dispose of large volumes of water when they collect in inconvenient places is the question,” – Elizabeth Mossop, University of Technology Sydney


    “Traditionally, we have tried to armour rivers and waterfronts with levees, barriers and sea walls to keep all floodwaters out. Increasingly, however, planners, designers and engineers are looking to new approaches. Instead of trying to keep all floodwaters out, we can design landscapes to accommodate the water without damaging cities or farmland. There are many examples around the world of buildings and landscapes where flooding is ‘designed in’,” stated Elizabeth Mossop.

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    CLIMATE ADAPTATION: “NYC, Vancouver, Sydney, Auckland, Copenhagen and Amsterdam present differing narratives toward pluvial flooding. Vancouver has embraced an image of environmental friendliness and constructs a narrative of rainfall management full of ‘green’ improvements,” stated Charles Axelsson, PhD candidate, University of Venice (January 2021)


    “As a geographer researching urban environments, I really enjoy focusing on where scientific environmental research meets urban policy. In developed cities, decades and centuries of urban growth have led to a jigsaw puzzle of urban infrastructure. Storm drainage systems are ageing, built at different times to different standards, and often follow political boundaries not drainage basins. With climate change stressing these systems, it is all the more urgent to understand how to design with nature to prevent rapid runoff,” stated Charles Axelsson.

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    FLASHBACK TO 2008 / CREATE LIVEABLE COMMUNITIES: “In the first year of the Living Water Smart rollout, my lead-off presentation in the inaugural Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series traced the evolution of rainwater and stormwater management policies and practices in British Columbia. This provided a frame-of-reference and a common understanding for subsequent seminars,” stated Kim Stephens, series team leader


    “In 2008, the Vancouver Island Learning Lunch Seminar Series was held in both the Comox and Cowichan valleys. This program was the first step in building a regional team approach so that there would be consistent messaging regarding on-the-ground expectations for rainwater management and green infrastructure in BC. By spreading the curriculum over three sessions, this enabled participants to take in new information, reflect on it, blend it with their own experience, test it, and (we hoped) eventually apply it in making decisions,” stated Kim Stephens.

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