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...
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.
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
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...
Doesn’t it feel like we’ve been tossing around in a washing machine of natural disasters in 2017? Hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, drought, storm surge… earthquakes! Is this because of climate change or is it just weather?
What’s the difference between climate and weather?
Climate is different than weather and both are driven by global warming and human land use.
Weather is local and temporary. It’s how the atmosphere is behaving at a particular time in a certain place. Temperature, rain, snow, and wind are all elements of weather. Weather is variable and constantly changing. When you look out your window, you are looking at weather; the 7-day temperature, sun, rain or snow forecasts are telling you about the expected weather.
image source: The Weather Network
A hurricane, snowstorm or heat wave is weather – not climate.
Thinking bigger picture, climate describes average atmospheric indicators like...
Hunting is no longer the biggest fire burning at the grizzly bear’s cave door.
No, I’m not a Grizzly Bear Biologist and I'm not a hunter. I am a Systems Ecologist & Professional Forester – much of my career’s work has centered around understanding the cumulative effects people and nature have on one another and using that knowledge to help plan for a future we all want.
This week the fledgling new British Columbia Government announced it will fulfill an election promise by banning “Trophy Hunting” of Grizzly Bears in the Province.
But you can still kill them as long as you pack the meat out and turn in the head, paws and hide to the Government – and providing you are not in the Great Bear Rainforest.
It appears that killing grizzly bears is not really perceived as a threat to their survival – but the social acceptability of killing them for “sport” does appear to be on the decline.
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...
Have you ever spent a whole bunch of time making a plan, and maybe not only a bunch of time, but a bunch of money putting together a very comprehensive plan for something that you want to do? And you've tried to do your due diligence. You to tried to cover all the bases, meet all the requirements, you feel like you thought about everybody’s perspective in putting together your plan. After a good long time and a fair bit of effort your plan is finally done. Then you go out and share it with a bunch of other people you think will be interested. In my experience doing that results in one of two different responses; either it’s total silence and I mean like crickets…… and nobody even wants to hear you,
Or worse, you get a bit of a backlash, or maybe some resistance or maybe even anger. Why does that happen? You know you’ve covered all the bases, you’ve met all the legal requirements, you try to do things with the best intent but it’s not...
Indicators are how you will be able to measure performance in scenario planning and implementation. Think of it just like the dashboard in a car or truck where you have a number of indicators that inform you about the performance of your vehicle. For example, you have a speedometer to tell you how fast the vehicle is moving, you have a fuel gauge so you know how much fuel is left before you hit a critical threshold of running out of gas, and you normally also have a temperature gauge so you know how hot the engine is and therefore how well your cooling system is working. These are all indicators.
Defining an appropriate set of indicators at the earliest stages of the planning process is crucial because it influences many subsequent decisions including the study area boundary, how the landscape is stratified, and what data and information will be needed.
What makes a good indicator?
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
2. Have Integrity
3. Add Value
You read that right - the process is more valuable than the product!
There are at least a zillion quotes about how important planning is to achieve success. And that is because generations of experience have proven planning to be a critical success factor – in anything you are trying to accomplish.
“ a good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there” - Stanley Judd.
There is a lot of wisdom in that quote beyond the obvious. Clearly we know that a road map improves our chances of a successful journey. I like to think of plans this way too – it’s a nice metaphor.
But the gold that is not so obvious to everyone, the greater wisdom, is that it is “the planning” that is of greatest value, not the plan.
it is in the planning where you