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Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC

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Resiliency Planning During a Pandemic: perspectives from Gibsons on a local government response


“In our resiliency framework, Emergency Planning is identified as an area of focus and includes recommendations to update programs to support neighbourhood preparedness to deal with natural or human-induced disasters. We had barely identified that as an action, and here we are dealing with an extremely serious situation, affecting everything and everyone we know. I wanted to share some thoughts about what I have observed in terms of our local government’s response to this on-going situation,” stated Emanuel Machado.

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PREPARE FOR TOMORROW: Here’s what the coronavirus pandemic can teach us about tackling climate change


“In many ways, what we’re seeing now is a rapid and unplanned version of economic ‘degrowth’ – the transition some academics and activists have for decades said is necessary to address climate change, and leave a habitable planet for future generations. Degrowth is a proposed slowing of growth in sectors that damage the environment, such as fossil fuel industries, until the economy operates within Earth’s limits,” stated Dr. Natasha Chassagne.

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VALUATION OF ECOLOGICAL SERVICES: Do you wonder how streams influence property values and purchasers? To find out, download the Shelly Creek report!


“We arrived at an important insight about ecological assets; that is, an ecological commons is a land use. Regulations define stream functions and setback requirements. Whether it is a pond, wetland or riparian zone, it can be measured. The assessed values of adjacent parcels can be used to provide a value for the natural commons. The inference is that the area of the natural commons would be zoned residential or whatever if the stream was not there,” stated Tim Pringle.

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PREPARE FOR TOMORROW: Coronavirus response proves the world can act on climate change


“The alarms for both COVID-19 and climate change were sounded by experts, well in advance of visible crises,” stated Eric Galbraith. “As scientists who have studied climate change and the psychology of decision-making, we find ourselves asking: Why do the government responses to COVID-19 and climate change — which both require making difficult decisions to avert future disasters — differ so dramatically? We suggest four important reasons.”

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KEEP CALM & CARRY ON: Words of wisdom from UBC’s Dr. Daniel Pauly, the world’s top fishery scientist, provide perspective during difficult times


“It’s not a question of gloom or hope. People ask you: pessimist or an optimist? What does it mean if I tell you I am an optimist or a pessimist? You don’t know what I’m going to do. But what we need to do is what Winston Churchill told England what it had to do to fight Nazism. We will fight them on the beach and fight them on the hills and we’ll fight them. That speech is the answer to the question. Churchill never told people whether he was an optimist or a pessimist. Churchill didn’t know if the Germans were going to cross the English Channel. It is beside the point,” stated Daniel Pauly.

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WATER, PLACE AND RECONCILIATION: Unpaving Paradise at Kus-kus-sum on the Courtenay River on Vancouver Island


“Pre-1950 aerial photographs confirm that Kus-kus-sum was indeed a forested streamside area in the K’ómoks Estuary with side-channels connecting it to the adjacent Hollyhock Marsh,” stated Caila Holbrook. ”The restoration process will include removing built infrastructure from the site, removing fill, re-grading the topography of the area, planting native species and removing the steel wall. Nature will come back; it is already trying to – as trees and salt marsh plants are poking through the 1 foot deep rebar-reinforced concrete.”

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Water, Place and Reconciliation – Stitching Together Altered Landscapes (article #6 in a series)


“I am fond of the saying: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. This comes from the hiking world but is applicable to many aspects of life and to the unique challenges of adaptation in the face of climate instability,” stated Paul Chapman. “The truth of this adage is apparent when we come together to learn from each other’s water stewardship efforts, glean new ideas to take home from our gatherings and modify and apply in our home watersheds. Comox Valley 2020 promises new opportunities to build our community of stewardship.”

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Reinventing the Traditional Vegetated Roof for Detention – an application of whole-system thinking


“Put simply: the modern vegetated roof is designed to drain extremely fast. That is not to say no one has considered alternatives,” states Sasha Aguilera. “Slowing down water to create detention has been tried in vegetated roofs, albeit with mixed success. There are a few examples of great success, but replicability and widespread adoption have been difficult to achieve. This is unsurprising, since creating detention in a thin vegetated system is challenging. However, innovations are changing that equation.”

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CONNECT THE DOTS: International Year of the Salmon – Will Lightning Strike Twice? – CONTINUE READING TO UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT (#5 in a series)


“From an International Year of the Salmon perspective, large efforts of a very large mass of people around the rims of the North Atlantic, North Pacific and likely Arctic oceans will need to ‘come together’ for any real change to occur. From this perspective the requirement in an increasingly interconnected world is closer to ‘humankind’ than to a few of us in the local community. That said, it’s the sum of us in local communities that will move this closer to a humankind undertaking,” stated Kim Hyatt.

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IMPROVING THE PROCESS OF IMPROVING PLACES: Should Storm Cunningham’s RECONOMICS be mandatory reading for Mayors, Chief Administrative Officers & Directors of Planning in cities and regions?


“I’ve spent the past 20 years leading workshops, keynoting summits and consulting in planning sessions at urban and rural places worldwide. All were focused on some aspect of creating revitalization or resilience.Most of those events had other speakers who recounted their on-the-ground efforts and lessons learned. I’ve thus spent the past two decades researching commonalities: what’s usually present in the successes, and what’s usually missing in the failures? I’ve boiled it down to six elements. Each of them individually increases the likelihood of success,” explained Storm Cunningham.

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