Think Big, Stay Positive and Work Together

As my career is winding down, the young people I teach at Selkirk College are just stepping into their work as environmental technologists.  These learners are smart, committed, and sensitive to all the pressures, responsibilities, and opportunities this field of work has to offer.  They give me such confidence in the future.  In some ways, I’m envious of the work ahead for them. Society is undergoing a paradigm shift in its relationship with the environment. Engagement in public land (97% of BC’s landbase) management is at an all time high. The values that were once seen as secondary to the economic potential of our forests and lands are shifting to the forefront. Water, soil, biodiversity, fish, wildlife, recreation, cultural heritage, nature as a health provider and other values found in nature, are top of mind for many people in this province, and especially in the Columbia Basin. The recognition that a healthy environment translates to a healthy society is being understood and accepted all over the world. 

The shift in how we view nature is very much connected to the increased engagement with Indigenous peoples and perspectives connected to land and culture. Through the connections between western science, and Indigenous knowledge, we are finding alternate ways of answering questions on how to best protect our natural resources for generations to come. The diversity of thought will help guide us into a profoundly different way of looking at nature. 

In many ways, climate change has become a unifying force. In Columbia Basin Trust’s most recent Columbia Basin Management Plan, the people of the Basin asked that climate resiliency and Indigenous relationship building, be incorporated as an integrated priorities throughout the Trust’s work in the Basin. 

Last fall, the Trust launched the new Climate Resilience Program to support Basin communities in preparing for, responding to, and adapting to challenges associated with our changing environment. We know that local communities around the Columbia Basin care deeply about the environment and the impacts of climate change. We are so fortunate to have climate change experts who live in the Basin, along with engaged citizens that want to make a difference. Local entrepreneurs and educators are working hard to find innovative solutions to meet the unique challenges we face in the Basin. We need to continue to think big, stay positive, and work together to support a healthy environment for generations to come.

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Photo by Terry Nelson