LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Blue Ecology is an idea whose time has come. If British Columbia water managers would embrace the Blue Ecology ecological philosophy, our communities would become more water-resilient, and we would successfully adapt to a changing climate,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (January 2022)

Note to Reader:

Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the vision for Living Water Smart in British Columbia to build greener communities and adapt to a changing climate. The edition published on January 11, 2022 featured Michael Blackstock, Independent Indigenous Scholar, who developed Blue Ecology, the “water-first” ecological approach to interweaving Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science.

Michael Blackstock’s Vision for Blue Ecology as a Bridge between Two Worlds

“Blue Ecology has been a two-decade long journey of discovery for Michael Blackstock, highlighted by his appointment to a UNESCO Expert Panel for a 4-year term in 2008. His work on the Expert Panel resulted in an invitation to share his Blue Ecology message at an international symposium held in October 2008 by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS),” stated Kim Stephens, Waterbucket eNews Editor and Executive Director.

“In his peer-reviewed paper titled Blue Ecology and climate change: interweaving cultural perspectives on water, an indigenous case study, Michael laid out the case for an attitude change and culture-shift related to water. In the decade-plus since, he has written and/or contributed to a series of books that further explore and build on this theme.”

A Message of Hope by Michael Blackstock

“My thesis, that water is a living entity, is provocative. So I was a bit nervous about presenting Blue Ecology to the International Association of Hydrological Sciences. But I soon found the hydrologists to be very welcoming hosts.  I spoke near end of the conference, after a series of papers warned of the impending effects of climate change,” recalled Michael Blackstock.

“Sobering messages, one after the other, said the same thing – climate change is here, and it is affecting water in serious ways.  My message was one of hope – hope derived from human cross-cultural collaboration.  My hopeful message was warmly welcomed by the scientists. Unfortunately, the symposium accurately portended the amplifying negative impacts of climate change on the world’s hydrological cycle.”

A New Way of Looking at Water

“Hope is not a passive desire but an active attitude,” states Michael Blackstock.

“I really see the value of each culture being genuinely curious about each other and willing to interweave to resolve disputes: This is my action.”

“Now is the time to act on the belief that if we interweave our strengths as traditional knowledge keepers, scientists, poets, artists, and architects in a collaborative manner, we can make a difference.”

“Blue Ecology is an incremental example of how we can interweave cultural perspectives on water, but that is just a starting point in this new era of interweaving.”

Creating a Climate for Change

“Blue Ecology is the pathway to reach water reconciliation, added Kim Stephens. “The relevance is that we have landed at the crux of two of the most important issues facing Canadians – relationships with First Nations and relationships with water – in an era when we must also adapt to a changing climate. And the Partnership and partners just happen to be trying to piece them together as a seminar and eventually as symposium!”


To read the complete story, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Blue Ecology is the Pathway to Reach Water Reconciliation.

If readers are curious about the work of Michael Blackstock, the Partnership for Water Sustainability encourages you to visit the Blue Ecology homepage on this website:

Also, for an overview of the Blue Ecology vision as the bridge between two worlds, download a copy of a PowerPoint presentation by Michael Blackstock titled Launching the Blue Ecology Institute Foundation.