Category:

British Columbia Context

Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment for British Columbia: “Only after wading into the executive summary did one realize it was one of the more alarming documents commissioned by this or any other B.C. government,” wrote Vaughan Palmer, Vancouver Sun columnist (July 2019)


“At first glance the report posted quietly on the provincial government website this week resembled a typical midsummer offering. Pretty pictures on the cover. The word ‘preliminary’ in the title. Not even the courtesy of a media release to flag its arrival. All seemingly calculated to be overlooked in the July political doldrums,” wrote Vaughan Palmer. “More than 400 pages, the report evaluates the risks to B.C. over the next 30 years of 15 specific climate-change-driven events, each weighed on a sliding scale of consequences from ‘low’ to ‘catastrophic’.”

Read Article

SHIFTING BASELINE SYNDROME: “With each new generation, the expectation of various ecological conditions shifts. The result is that standards are lowered almost imperceptibly,” stated Dr. Daniel Pauly, professor and project leader, Sea Around Us Project, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia


“We transform the world, but we don’t remember it. We adjust our baseline to the new level, and we don’t recall what was there. If you generalize this, something like this happens,” explains Daniel Pauly. An understanding of Daniel Pauly’s “Shifting Baseline Syndrome” is a foundation piece for implementing restorative development, reconnecting hydrology and ecology, and bending the curve to restore stream systems. The goal of shifting to an ecologically functioning and resilient baseline will ultimately depend on the nature of change to standards of practice.

Read Article

BUILDING CLIMATE RESILIENCE IN THE OKANAGAN: “The goal of the Homeowner’s Resource Guide is to raise awareness and identify key actions homeowners can take to protect properties from flood, drought, fire, and invasive species,” states Eva Antonijevic, lead author (May 2019)


“Understanding how wildfires travel onto private property helps homeowners understand how to reduce risks of property damage. Reducing fire risk requires a team approach and communities need to work together–neighbour to neighbour,” states Eva Antonijevic. “The guide summarizes climate challenges, and introduces solutions to support Okanagan homeowners in their efforts to protect and enhance their real estate investment from the ongoing challenges of climate change.”

Read Article

LEARNING FROM THE BURNING: “We keep talking about adaptation in service of resilience; but more than that we need to adapt now for what is to come,” stated Bob Sandford, Canada’s Winston Churchill of Water


“The foundation of my work is science. It seems to me that the commandments of science can be reduced to two: tell the truth and stand up for all humanity and for the planet,” says Bob Sandford. “Good science is not just the sharing of knowledge about the world, it is a candle we light when we want to see and be warmed by the truth. There has probably never been a time in history when making what science is telling us understandable to a vastly diverse and often preoccupied public has been more important.”

Read Article

FIRE WEATHER SEVERITY: ‘Abnormally dry’ conditions across Pacific Northwest could spell long wildfire season for British Columbia (May 2019)


“The signs of climate change are all around us. Earth mother’s lifeblood (i.e. water) is becoming sparse in the Pacific Northwest, and some Indigenous Elders say this is happening because humans are not showing respect to water,” said Michael Blackstock. “Water withdraws itself from the disrespectful. Water is transforming from ice, to sea and river water, and then to traversing atmospheric rivers. Water was sleeping as ice, but now it is moving rapidly and unpredictably around our planet. Some places are deluged, while others lay tongue-parched.”

Read Article

“Blue Ecology is a means to focus, with new watery eyes, on the current crisis of climate change. A new culture of water is needed in order for humans to adapt,” wrote Michael Blackstock, a champion for interweaving Indigenous Cultural Knowledge and Western Science


“Hydrologists are encouraged to embrace the companion Blue Ecology water cycle that is meant to enhance Western science’s hydrological cycle by providing a holistic cultural context. Hydrologists and water managers could also communicate complex climate change impacts to the public, using common sense terms. Hydrologists and water managers can use the hydrological and Blue Ecology cycles to help explain how and why the climate is changing. Water is a core human interest upon which we can build collaborative cross-cultural climate change strategies,” stated Michael Blackstock.

Read Article

CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION: “If communities are to adapt, and be quick about it, we must move beyond ‘shock and yawn’,” wrote Bob McDonald in a co-authored opinion piece published by the Vancouver Sun (November 2017)


“No longer is climate change a future scenario. It has happened more quickly than predicted. The real story is the accelerating rate of change, especially since extreme events create their own weather,” stated Bob McDonald. “As glaciers disappear and droughts become more frequent, it is vital, in every sense of the word to manage our most precious resource wisely. Actually adapting requires transformational changes in how we apply hydrologic understanding.”

Read Article

BOOK LAUNCH: “downstream: reimagining water” envisions a new water ethic


“The book ‘downstream: reimagining water’ is an anthology,” explains Michael Blackstock. “It brings together the perspectives of artists, writers, scientists, scholars, environmentalists, and activists. It does this by exploring the key roles that culture, arts, and the humanities play in supporting healthy water-based ecology. My chapter is titled Interweaving Water. It outlines four steps toward transforming sovereign knowledge into collaborative knowledge.”

Read Article

“The challenge of climate change now demands a level of collaboration and commitment heretofore unseen,” stated Eric Bonham at the conclusion of the FLOWnGROW workshop on water sustainability in BC (Nov 2016)


“Michael’s message truly resonated with the audience, namely the interweaving of Western Science and First Nations Cultural Knowledge. The essence of Michael’s vision is embrace a water first approach. He describes water as a living entity – the sacred centre from which all other activities radiate. Western science and blue ecology are truly partners. It is time the marriage was made official. I believe that this was one of the most important take-away messages of the workshop,” stated Eric Bonham.

Read Article

Our Climate is Changing: Will there be sufficient fresh water in the Lower Fraser River for agriculture in the future?


“Climate models predict warmer, longer, and drier summers. This means that farms within the Lower Fraser River will require more irrigation water in the future. Local sea level is predicted to rise and may contribute to an increasing quantity of salt water pushing up the river. In addition, changes to river hydrology may occur due to the removal of the George Massey Tunnel, possibly further increasing salinity levels,” states John ter Borg.

Read Article