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 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
“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.” – Steve Jobs
Did you watch Before The Flood? You should – don’t rely on the pundits to tell you what to think about it – evaluate the message for yourself. And do yourself a favour and leave your “position” on climate change at the door for 90 minutes.
Leonardo DiCaprio uses story telling to convey his message that climate change is something we should all be taking seriously. Using powerful visuals, the movie shares some of the less desirable cause // effect relationships between humans and the Earth through the industrial age. It goes on to describe the “Business As Usual” scenario for the future – that is, if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, then we should expect some very unpleasant outcomes.
Most importantly, the movie...
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...
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,...
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...