Click Here To Join our Linked In Community

Success Doesn't Just Happen, It's Planned

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...

Continue Reading...

#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...

Continue Reading...

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...

Continue Reading...

Floodplains Are Key To Public Safety

Reports of human loss and suffering from flooding are reported at least weekly, if not nightly, in mainstream media. And while the axiom “if it bleeds it leads” may heighten our perception of how bad it is, the impacts of floods on people and their homes is on the rise. According to the report Cities and Flooding [1] commissioned by the World Bank, the 10-year moving median # of reported flood events is rising steadily and is a full 16 times higher in 2010 than 50 years earlier.

But floods are nothing new. Rather, they are natural events that have been happening for millennia, shaping the earth we live on and creating much of the natural bounty that supports us today. 

Still, we villainize nature when she brings us harm. Floods, like wildfires, have gotten a very bad name because of the harm to people we associate with these events. But Mother Nature is not the problem. Dr. Gilbert White, the late founder of the internationally recognized...

Continue Reading...

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...

Continue Reading...

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...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete