BLUE ECOLOGY IS THE PATHWAY TO REACH WATER RECONCILIATION: “What Blue Ecology offers local government is a foundation, and starting point, that has both Indigenous and non-Indigenous buy-in. I believe this will alone remove some of the fear,” says Michael Blackstock, independent Indigenous scholar and creator of the Blue Ecology methodology

Note to Reader:

Waterbucket eNews celebrates the leadership of individuals and organizations who are guided by the Living Water Smart vision. The edition published on January 24, 2023 previewed the Blue Ecology bridging seminar and primed readers for a panel discussion about interweaving of Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. The seminar goal is to raise the level of awareness of what “water reconciliation” means in practice.



Interweaving is about creating a new form of knowledge

“The research question is, what is water? I am looking at it from both the Indigenous and Western perspectives,” states Michael Blackstock

“My journey started at a theoretical level, but as the concept of Blue Ecology emerged from my research, then I wanted it to be implementable. Like, how do you use this in reality?”

“My philosophy is that only collaboration will get us through the real tough problems. We need everybody at the table to harness all the energy and the diverse thinking to be able to solve complex problems such as climate change.”

Hope lies with local government and local knowledge

“I have been reflecting on the recent UN climate change conference in Egypt. It seems that the wind is coming out of the sails. It seems like climate adaptation is too big a hill for nation level governments to climb and solve.”

“My hope lies in local government because local people understand their local area. And at the local scale, we are able to self-organize better on specific execution of executable tasks.”

“I have lived in many communities throughout BC and have learned that those towns each have their own culture. So, local knowledge is important, whether it is Indigenous or non-Indigenous. Local knowledge is really key.”

“With the Blue Ecology bridging seminar, my hope lies in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities working together, with a foundation that was designed to be jointly respectful of each other’s way of thinking, rather than trying to adapt one to the other. It is a joint foundation. Then build the house based on local knowledge.”

“When non-Indigenous people do not engage or they back away, I have observed that it is usually due to FEAR. They are not used to working with Indigenous people; they are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. So, the easy thing to do is pull back and not do it.”

“What Blue Ecology offers is a foundation that has Indigenous buy-in and non-Indigenous buy-in that will remove some of the fear so they can move towards the hope spectrum. We can collaborate so that there is not that fear,” concludes Michael Blackstock


To read the complete story published on January 24th 2023, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: A Pathway to Water Reconciliation and Resilience at the Local Scale.