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A Method To Assess The Cumulative Effects Of Land Use & Dispossession On The Indigenous Seasonal Round

I've been leading a lot of #CumulativeEffects work in Secwepemcúl’ecw, the unceded Traditional Territory of the Secwépemc Nation. The people of this indigenous Nation have lived in southern British Columbia, Canada, for over 10,000 years and their Territory is the largest of all First Nations in British Columbia occupying almost 20% of the Province.  

In the Virtual Time Machine Podcast, I discuss how we can travel back in time to see how the Secwépemc lived for thousands of years, directly from the land, long before the arrival of Settlers. In the spring, summer and fall, they would travel to different areas of Secwepemcúl'ecw to gather the various resources from they land they needed to survive.  This moving around for resources is characterized in English as the 'Seasonal Round'.

Obviously, food was a critical resource.  Here is an excerpt from BC School District 73 website about this.

“In winter people...

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How To Select Indicators That Will Help You - And How Many Do Yo Need?

My last blog explored stories as one of the most powerful Virtual Time Machines. In planning, especially land use planning, our stories are captured and shared as scenarios. They are like “short stories” rather than novels. When you develop a land use planning scenario, you have a general sense of where and when but the place to start working out the details is to understand what is important first. The key priorities or values are the starting point – and everything else is connected to this. 

"Defining an appropriate set of indicators at the earliest stages of the planning process is crucial because it influences all the subsequent decisions"

In storytelling, these are the characters. In scenario planning, these are the performance indicators. In environmental impact assessment terminology – these are the valued components. Defining an appropriate set of indicators at the earliest stages of the planning process...

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#CumulativeEffects

 

You heard it here first, one of the biggest hashtags in your social media will soon be #CumulativeEffects    Cumulative Effects is a term that soon will be as common in our discussions as #ClimateChange. 

WHY?
The Virtual Time Machine shows us that we are entering the Anthropocene, a geologic epoch where humans have become the dominant force of change and where the scarcity of natural resources is on the rise. This is driven by 2 key factors:

1.   Planet Earth is a system with finite (a set limit of) resources

2.   Humans are increasing in # and per capita resource consumption at unprecedented levels


Photo by Jayphen Simpson on Unsplash

When did this start? The arrival of the industrial age has increased our technology and power – improving our collective quality of life beyond anything ever experienced before in history. But we are now starting to realize that the patterns, processes and approaches...

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This Secret Can Get Your Project Plan Approved!

When I talk with people in big business, they often tell me the biggest threat to future investment and creating more jobs is the ‘risk and uncertainty of land use approvals’. Here’s how to tip the scale back in favour of jobs and development.

First, take out your smartphone and look at it.  That little marvel in your hand might be the most influential human innovation of our time. Never have we had such easy access to so much information, convenience, productivity aids and endless entertainment! 

Recently I was in Davis California as an invited guest speaker.  It was my first time in northern Cali and I wanted to take advantage and see the area.  Not so long ago a paper map bought at the gas station would have been critical.  But, armed with my IPhone on roam and Google Maps – my wife Karen and I took off on the backroads to explore Folsom, Napa, and Muir Woods aided by on-demand and free access to GPS satellites that cost $12...

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5 Actions To Earn Social License For Your Project

How can you get people on side and supporting your project and avoid being mired in conflict and resistance? Start by doing these 5 things:

1.    Be Grateful

  • Gratitude is the language of happiness. Being grateful will make you and all those around you happier and that will shine favourably on your project too
  • Showing appreciation for everyone’s contribution brings more meaning to the work, it increases everyone’s self esteem and this adds energy and enthusiasm
  • Humbleness makes it easier to network and removes opposition
  • Gratitude is the best attitude :)

2.    Have Integrity

  • Builds trust
  • Builds loyalty
  • Others will see you as a leader and they will share your ideas with others building momentum for your project
  • “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching”

3.    Add Value

  • Invest in the place & people where you will do business.
  • Have a vested interest in the wellbeing...
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Project Conflicts Driven By Answering The Wrong Question

THE ANSWER: THE PROPOSED PROJECT WILL HAVE NO SIGNIFICANT NEGATIVE EFFECT


Read just about any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and this is the answer you will find. And of course the project will bring significant benefits or we wouldn’t be contemplating it. #Duh 

But think about this for a moment. If there are no significant negative effects, shouldn’t the environment be pretty much pristine? It’s not pristine – so what gives here?

We the public ask the assessors the wrong question. Now, I am most familiar with the process in Canada, but it is my understanding that to a large extent, EIA’s around the world approach project assessments similarly. To greatly simplify it, the question we ask those who must assess the benefits and costs of proposed projects goes something like this, “compared to today, will there be any residual (left over) negative effects after we apply mitigation (first aid)?”

The key here...

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Splendour Without Diminishment

We British Columbians have a common vision for our future – one that sees us benefit and enjoy the land, air and waters that sustain us today – but one that also recognizes that today’s use of these resources must be tempered by the knowledge that we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, rather we borrow it from our children. This common vision is reflected in our commitment to sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It’s even deftly captured in the Provincial motto of BC – Splendor Sine Occasu – translated from Latin to mean Splendor Without Diminishment. 

And despite this awareness, the path towards our future seems strewn with conflict, misunderstanding, mistrust and frustration. Disagreement over land use is one of the biggest sore spots. Whether it is the conflict at Burnaby Mountain over Kinder Morgan’s pipeline survey work,...

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11 Crucial Requirements To Get Cumulative Effects Right

 

Recently I had the opportunity to participate as a speaker and a delegate at two excellent conferences in British Columbia, Canada centered on cumulative effects assessment;

Columbia Mountain Institute Applied Ecology’s Environmental and Social Assessment Forum http://cmiae.org/event/enviroandsocialassessment/


Canadian Institute Energy Group’s Cumulative Effects and the Future of Natural Resource Management http://www.canadianinstitute.com/2016/343/cumulative-effects-and-the-future-of-natural-resource-management

First let me share that both events were extremely well organized and a pleasure to be a part of.   Both Hailey Ross (CMIAE) and Elizabeth Dempsey (CI Energy Group) are outstanding organizers. Both events had excellent speakers and delegates providing good learning and dialogue from range of perspectives.

I found much of what was discussed was in-line with what I believe are crucial requirements for getting Cumulative Effects...

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A 3 Point Plan To Fix Environmental Assessments In Canada

 

Prime Minister, you are right, Canada's environmental assessment (EA) process needs a major overhaul.  The current process leaves everyone feeling muzzled, confined and lacking trust.  Here's a 3 - point plan to fix EA's in Canada: 

  1. Make the process inclusive from the beginning
  2. Get cumulative effects assessments right
  3. Seek solutions that balance the three pillars of sustainability - economy, society, and environment. 

If we can get these 3 right, then we'll be well on our way to rebuiling trust from Canadians, building buy-in for responsible resource development and respecting the rights of those most affected.

The root of current mistrust and conflict in the resource development arena lies in restrictive land use decision-making processes that exclude many Canadians and that are not adequately examining the cumulative effects of all land uses and natural disturbances across meaningful time and space. Here’s how we change that.

First, let’s...

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