LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “It is clear in my mind that traditional knowledge and western science are in alignment. They are just different ways of communicating. In fact, I believe there is an analogy between Indigenous oral history, and a statistical approach called Bayesian analysis. This is a way of processing anecdotal information,” stated Neil Goeller, Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy (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. 

CREATING A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: Michael Blackstock’s Vision for Blue Ecology as a Bridge between Two Worlds

“Michael Blackstock’s Blue Ecology ecological philosophy aligns with the whole-system, water balance approach that the Partnership for Water Sustainability  champions for restoration of hydrologic function and stream system integrity within the built environment,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership Executive Director.

“As defined  by Michael, interweaving is about creating a new form of knowledge through collaboration by interweaving useful threads from each way of knowing into a more robust way. Interweaving is not integration, just as equality is not about assimilation and creativity is not empirical. Interweaving is collaborative and incremental rather than a revolutionary process. Collaborators identify packets of knowledge that would benefit from the interweaving process.”

“Blue Ecology is an ecological philosophy, which emerged from interweaving First Nations and Western thought. It is meant to be a companion because it augments existing Western science hydrology rather than displacing this knowledge.”

Neil Goeller & Michael Blackstock in Conversation: “Moments of Insight” about Interweaving

Neil Goeller, hydrologist with the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, is a member of the Watershed Moments team. He is involved in the process for evolving the approach to interweaving Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science. After he read the paper written by Michael Blackstock in 2009 for the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, Neil initiated a conversation with Michael to explore interweaving and the idea that “water is living”.

When they convened in a “question-reflection” setting, a series of Aha Moments resulted. An idea would click as either Michael or Neil had a flash of insight because of what the other was saying. This is the context for presenting their “moments of insight” as a series of quotable quotes. The Partnership for Water Sustainability hopes this conversational approach to sharing a story will inform curious readers who wonder, “What exactly is interweaving?”

“Previously, I have breezed through Michael’s writings about Blue Ecology and listened to him during the planning sessions for the Blue Ecology Symposium later in 2022,” stated Neil Goeller. “To prepare for my on-on-one conversation with Michael, however, I watched the video of one of his presentations. I wanted to improve my understanding, from a hydrology perspective, of what interweaving means and how this will help communicate the water-first perspective of Blue Ecology.”


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.