“In October, 2018, faculty engaged in water research from a broad range of disciplines across the UBC Okanagan campus welcomed Michael Blackstock to share his theory of Blue Ecology and interweaving Indigenous and western science,” reports Marni Turek
Note to Reader:
Michael Blackstock has a vision: British Columbia water managers would embrace the Blue Ecology water cycle; our communities would become more water-resilient; and we would successfully adapt to a changing climate.
What we are essentially talking about is RECONCILIATION: going back to the headwaters of where we got our relationships with water and with one another wrong; and then starting back down the river of time – this time together – with a full understanding of the importance of embracing a water-first approach to planning human interventions in the environment.
Thought-provoking presentation by Michael Blackstock introduced Principles of Blue Ecology to the inter-faculty UBCO Water Research Network and Guests, October 2018
“In October, 2018, faculty engaged in water research from a broad range of disciplines across the UBC Okanagan campus welcomed Michael Blackstock to share his theory of Blue Ecology and interweaving Indigenous and western science,” reports Marni Turek, Watershed Management Research Extension Facilitator at UBC Okanagan, who invited Michael to introduce the theory of Blue Ecology to the members of the UBCO Water Research Network.
Marni first met Michael, and was inspired by his water leadership vision, at the “Flow and Grow Workshop” hosted by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in November 2016, and held in Kelowna.
“It is interesting to hear the journey from which Michael’s ideas on water leadership evolved, starting with asking what he refers to as a deceptively simple question, “What is water?”. Seeking out opportunities to enrich thinking and learning around water values is important and the Water Research Network is very appreciative for Michael sharing his truly inspirational views and message of hope for a new attitude… one that embraces a water-first approach.”
Water for All – Our Responsibility
“Particularly timely dialogue, especially considering the catastrophic flooding, fire and drought events over the past two years, emerged following the thought-provoking presentation by Michael Blackstock to the Water Research Network at UBC Okanagan,” continues Marni Turek.
“The presentation took place in October 2018 one day after the siwłkʷ (WATER) FOR ALL – OUR RESPONSIBILITY Environmental Flow Needs Conference 2018: Science, Policy & Practice (Kelowna, British Columbia).
“The conference brought together representatives from national and international organizations who are engaged in water management or research, including fisheries and water managers, First Nations, regulators, policy-makers, academia, and NGOs.
“The conference focused on the state of knowledge of Environmental Flow Needs in B.C. and recent work in the Okanagan and elsewhere in Canada and the United States.
“It featured a keynote from Robert Sanford, EPCOR Chair in Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, who eloquently shared the urgency in which we need to recognize and address the global water challenges, and the message of hope in what he calls a restoration imperative and the need to restore balance in earth system function.”
To Learn More:
Read BLUE ECOLOGY: “There is hope for future generations if we take a water-first approach to setting priorities,” says Michael Blackstock, a champion for interweaving Indigenous Cultural Knowledge and Western Science
In 2008, Michael Blackstock was appointed to a UNESCO Expert Panel for a 4-year term. His work on the Expert Panel led to an invitation to speak at an international symposium held in October 2008 by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS). This resulted in a peer-reviewed paper, published in February 2009, and titled Blue Ecology and climate change: interweaving cultural perspectives on water, an indigenous case study.
While international recognition gave Blue Ecology early credibility and profile, there was little or no awareness within British Columbia of what Michael Blackstock had accomplished. Fast forward to November 2017. That is when the Partnership for Water Sustainability held the Blue Ecology Workshop to begin the process of mainstreaming Michael Blackstock’s work into the local government setting.
To learn more about Michael Blackstock and Blue Ecology, watch the video on YouTube: