Design with Nature

    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Research by Jane Wei-Skillern offers insights into how champions in the local government and stream stewardship sectors can ensure that their collaborative efforts can have an impact that is dramatically greater than the sum of the individual parts,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia (November 2021)

    “At the beginning of 2021, the Partnership leadership reflected on our long-term commitment to collaborative leadership and growing a network. From the outset, we had vowed never to fall into the trap of concentrating our energies on building an organization and thus losing sight of ‘the mission’. This view of the world reflected our history as a roundtable,” stated Kim Stephens. “Are there other precedents for our approach, we wondered? Or are we unique? We decided it was time to research the social science literature to definitively answer these and other questions.”

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    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “If someone says something is not working – that barriers prevent success – then our challenge for them is: Think about what would make it work, and what are you going to do to make that alignment of goals happen? Our theme is ‘imagine’,” stated Susan Rutherford, former Legal Counsel with West Coast Environmental Law, in capacity-building presentations delivered under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan in the first decade of the 2000s

    “What we have in mind when we say ‘imagine’ is that players would imagine a legal tool or procedure that would ensure that barriers are removed or other parties in the process more effectively fulfil their piece of the sustainable development puzzle. There are solutions to be found if all parties in the community development process, i.e., staff within local and regional governments as well as private and other actors external to government but no less involved in the development process, simply talk to each other about how they could all work together more effectively, using law reform or other process changes as tools,” stated Susan Rutherford.

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    LIVING WATER SMART IN 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. And the question is, why do people accept this? Well, because they don’t know that it was different,” stated UBC’s Dr. Daniel Pauly, a living legend in the world of marine biology who has had a profound influence on the work of the Partnership for Water Sustainability

    In September 2021, Greystone Books published The Ocean’s Whistleblower. It is the first authorized biography of Daniel Pauly, a truly remarkable man. Daniel Pauly is a living legend in the world of marine biology. And he lives in British Columbia. Among his many contributions is the Shifting Baseline Syndrome. This is a foundational concept. And it goes to the heart of the vision for intergenerational collaboration.

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    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Part of the reason for the success of our shared responsibility way of thinking is a result of the efforts of various organizations who have managed to successfully engage governments, developers, the community, academia, etc., in water-centric thinking, planning and development activities. In many jurisdictions, water-centric has become a focus and part of our daily conversations,” stated John Finnie, Past-Chair (2006-2011), CAVI-Convening for Action on Vancouver Island

    According to John Finnie, the Partnership for Water Sustainability challenges its audiences by posing this question: what do you want this place to look like in 50 years? The decisions communities make today will ripple through time. We do have a choice – will it be cumulative impacts or cumulative benefits? Looking back, 2008 was a defining year for ‘designing with nature’ on Canada’s west coast. The government of British Columbia put in place a policy framework that is a ‘call to action’ on the part of local governments.

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    LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Inspired by Buzz Holling, the Stormwater Planning Guidebook established an international precedent for application of an adaptive management approach in the local government setting. The Guidebook developed the ADAPT guiding principles for reconnecting hydrology and stream ecology through use of Water Balance performance targets,” stated Kim Stephens in the Partnership for Water Sustainability’s tribute to the late Buzz Holling (1930-2019)

    Buzz Holling had profound and far-reaching influence during his lifetime, having made major contributions to the theory of predation, the concept of ecological resilience, the concept of panarchy, and adaptive management. “The only way to approach such a period — where uncertainty is very large and one cannot predict what the future holds – is not to predict, but to act inventively and exuberantly in diverse, adventures in living and experiment,” said Buzz Holling. One of his talents was his ability to bring people together to understand, assess and act on new solutions to complex problems of people and nature.

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