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Blue Ecology / Michael Blackstock

TODAY’S DECISIONS – TOMORROW’S FUTURE: “During times of crisis, a few leaders always step into the spotlight with a new vision bridging conflicting worldviews. Michael Blackstock is one of these visionaries,” stated Glen Brown, Chair of Asset Management BC, when he announced the keynote speaker for the AMBC annual conference in November 2024


“During times of crisis, a few leaders always step into the spotlight with a new vision bridging conflicting worldviews. Michael Blackstock is one of these visionaries,” stated Glen Brown. “As an Independent Indigenous Scholar and founder of the Blue Ecology™ theory, Michael Blackstock offers a unique First Nations perspective on the climate crisis, inserting water into the difficult debates about carbon emissions. His ability to mediate grew out of a uniquely diverse background as a writer, a thought leader, and Forester. He has written over two dozen peer reviewed papers.”

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BLUE ECOLOGY IS FUNDAMENTALLY ABOUT AN ATTITUDE CHANGE: “When you examine what comprises the heat balance, carbon is definitely a factor. But it only accounts for 4% compared to 95% for water. People do not understand this linkage,” stated Michael Blackstock, independent Indigenous scholar and co-founder of the Blue Ecology Institute


“Every year I listen to the climate change debates. Scientists talk about temperature rise to one decimal place. An image of a committee with their hands on a thermostat popped into my mind. And they are trying to adjust it. There is so much arrogance in that, and so much naivety at the same time,” stated Michael Blackstock. The image of a Climate Change Thermostat draws attention to the flaws in a “slice-and-dice” approach that does not account for the interaction of variables within a system.

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HOW BLUE ECOLOGY AND HARRY POTTER ARE CONNECTED: “We invited Michael Blackstock to contribute a chapter on Blue Ecology because we think Michael is well-positioned to help us achieve an ambitious goal,” stated Dr. Serpil Oppermann, co-editor of The Bloomsbury Handbook to the Blue Humanities


How are Harry Potter and Blue Ecology connected? The answer is Bloomsbury Publishing, the originating publisher and custodian of the Harry Potter series. “The Bloomsbury Handbook to the Blue Humanities has 35 chapters. My section has 10 chapters, and Blue Ecology is one of them. I knew that there is this Canadian scholar who developed Blue Ecology and he is very effective in Canada. So, I said to my team, if anyone is going to write the chapter on blue ecology it is going to be Michael Blackstock. He coined the term. It belongs to him,” stated Serpil Opperman.

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EAP, THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS, IS AN EXPRESSION OF BLUE ECOLOGY: “Rivers and streams in BC are sending us a message… change our attitude towards them. It is hard to hear their message, from a boardroom or Zoom rooms,” stated Michael Blackstock, co-founder of the Blue Ecology Foundation Institute


“Blue Ecology is about interweaving two ways of knowing through a collaborative framework that would help facilitate how Indigenous, provincial and local governments work as leaders on a common problem, the climate crisis. Tools like EAP can be used to shape the future, as our new attitude deploys these existing tools in new ways. Has the moment come to reframe ‘ecosystem services’ as ‘gifts of nature’? If it does not get measured, it does not get managed. EAP helps us measure and assess the trade-offs; and helps us understand when it is time to just let the land heal,” stated Michael Blackstock.

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BLUE ECOLOGY OFFERS HOPE AND REMOVES THE FEAR OF RECONCILIATION: “As long as you show a genuine curiosity, the willingness to learn, cross-cultural conversations blossom,” stated Michael Blackstock, Independent Indigenous Scholar and co-founder of the Blue Ecology Institute Foundation


Michael Blackstock believes that a message of hope is paramount in these times of droughts, forest fires and floods. “Rather than looking through a cumulative effects lens, I also see the concept of ‘cumulative healing’ landing as a way to give back to water and land. Rather than wondering how much more can we take or impact land before we need to stop, instead we should ask how much longer should we let the water and land heal, before we ask for more,” states Michael Blackstock.

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BLUE ECOLOGY IS A PATHWAY TO WATER RECONCILIATION AT THE LOCAL SCALE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: Blue Ecology is about taking responsibility for care of the land. Indigenous scholar Michael Blackstock discusses interweaving Indigenous oral history and Western water science.


The Blue Ecology video documentary seeds the idea that hope lies within the spheres of influence for local governments…whether they are Indigenous OR non-Indigenous. At its heart, Blue Ecology is about taking responsibility for care of the land and passing on the intergenerational baton. The video also seeds the idea that making it so requires a change in attitude to achieve the five Blue Ecology principles – Spirit, Balance, Harmony, Respect, Unity. The primary audience for the video are people in local governments. The Watershed Moments goal is to help remove their fear of saying or doing the wrong thing.

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DOWNLOAD THE ARTICLE: “Is it time for Biocultural Diversity Zonation in British Columbia?” asked Michael Blackstock (BC Forest Professional, September – October 2014)


“British Columbia has an an amazing diversity of Indigenous languages, about 60% of Canada’s First Nations languages are found in BC. Language is an essential component of the cultural diversity of the planet. Biocultural diversity emerged as a term this millennium that inextricably links cultural and biological diversity, focusing on correlations between biodiversity and linguistic diversity. The evolution of the two in BC can be portrayed by interweaving Biogeoclimatic (BEC) Zones and linguistic zones to create Biocultural Diversity (BCD) Zone maps,” explained Michael Blackstock.

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RICHARD BOASE IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL BLACKSTOCK: “If young people were taught, by their parents and grandparents, from the moment that they can understand, that water has a spiritual dimension, it would become a way of life,” stated Richard Boase, facilitator for the Blue Ecology Seminar Series


“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. Communities have a once in a generation opportunity to get our relationships with both right. First Nations talk about the responsibility for care of the land being passed on from one generation to the next. They have been much more effective than us in having the community understand their role in stewardship and why that matters,” stated Richard Boase.

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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


“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,” stated Michael Blackstock.

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ORAL HISTORY EXTENDS THE PERIOD OF RECORD AND UNDERSTANDING: “Michael Blackstock observed that the individuals most receptive to Blue Ecology were the ‘hydrology elders’ when he presented at the International Association of Hydrological Sciences Conference. I am not surprised. hydrology elders understand the limitations and assumptions inherent in how scientific knowledge is applied. They are not dazzled by a slick software interface,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability (February 2022)


“If Thomas Bayes (1702-1761) was alive today, I have no doubt that he would say, oral history extends the period of period and our understanding of what the data mean. One of his most memorable quotable quotes is that, probability is orderly opinion (and) inference from data is nothing other than the revision of such opinion in the light of relevant new information. Four decades ago, UBC Professor Emeritus Denis Russell developed a methodology to show how Bayesian statistics offers a framework for combining different kinds of information and making best use of what is available,” stated Kim Stephens.

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