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michael blackstock

    ORAL HISTORY EXTENDS THE PERIOD OF RECORD AND OUR UNDERSTANDING: “Blue Ecology is an ecological philosophy, which emerged from interweaving First Nations and Western thought. It is meant to be a companion because it augments existing Western science hydrology rather than displacing this knowledge.” – Michael Blackstock


    “In my mind, traditional knowledge and western science are just different ways of recording, or documenting, and communicating the same information. I believe there is an analogy between Indigenous oral history, and a statistical approach called Bayesian analysis,” stated Neil Goeller. In BC, hydrometric records are fairly limited in time and geographic coverage. From a hydrology perspective, then, interweaving science and a rich oral history would turn a comparatively short period of data collection into thousands of years of knowledge.

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    CREATING A CLIMATE FOR CHANGE: Blue Ecology is the pathway to reach Water Reconciliation


    “Our children’s children will be faced with daunting, complex, and urgent environmental problems. The impending crisis requires us to begin to lay a foundation for our children’s children to have a starting point, and some options to grasp in the urgent moment. We owe them hope,” stated Michael Blackstock. “Now is the time to act on the belief that if we interweave our strengths as traditional knowledge keepers, scientists, poets, artists, and architects in a collaborative manner, we can make a difference.”

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    Water Reconciliation and Blue Ecology Virtual Seminar: Creating a Climate for Change


    “Blue Ecology is meant to be a companion because it augments existing Western science hydrology rather than displacing this knowledge. Collaborators identify packets of knowledge that would benefit from the interweaving process. My question for the Western science world is this: Are you prepared and willing to change your definition of water in science? This is what reconciliation really gets down to when we are talking about interweaving Indigenous knowledge and Western science,” stated Michael Blackstock.

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    FLOODS AFFECT SOME OF US. DROUGHTS AFFECT ALL OF US: Have you considered why climate change is a variable, not a driver? “The real issues are uncertainty and risk, more specifically how we deal with the first and manage the latter,” stated Robert Hicks, Metro Vancouver Senior Engineer, at the Achieving Water Balance Workshop which was the launch event for the Convening for Action in British Columbia initiative (April 2005)


    The idea for the deceptively simple Water OUT = Water In equation originated with Robert Hicks. He believed it would be an effective visual means to explain complexity to a continuum of audiences, ranging from technical to elected. “How do you solve the OUT = IN equation when both sides are variable? After all, it is mathematically not possible to solve for two or more unknowns when one has a single equation. The inherent variability creates uncertainty which in turn creates risk,” stated Robert Hicks.

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    ADAPTING TO THE NEW REALITY OF LONGER, DRIER SUMMERS: Unlike other regions and countries, the water supply challenge in British Columbia’s mountainous environment is that seasonal water storage potential is limited – such that there is little margin for operational error even though our droughts are measured in months rather than years!


    “Consider our recent experience. For five straight years, from 2015 through 2019, British Columbia repeatedly dodged a bullet due to the new reality of longer, drier summers. 2020 was different. It was a wet year. This is why we must not be lulled as we emerge from winter and look ahead to summer. Once upon a time, a 5-month drought was considered possible but unlikely. And then it happened. A 6-month drought was considered improbable in the rain forest. And then it too happened – in 2015. In the big picture of water demand, our water supply lakes and reservoirs are mere puddles,” stated Kim Stephens.

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    Canada’s Bob Sandford is “The 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.”

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    ‘Abnormally dry’ conditions across Pacific Northwest could spell long wildfire season for British Columbia


    “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.”

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