Pecha Kucha packs a punch

Last night WWF held its first Pecha Kucha in front of a packed room at the Hive in Vancouver.  Japanese for “chit chat,” Pecha Kucha is an innovative format that gives speakers 20 slides—and exactly 20 seconds per slide—to make their point.  All six of our speakers delivered punchy and memorable talks on one of the most important topics in B.C. (and Canada) today: the future of water and salmon.

James Casey, MC for the evening. © Mike Ambach, WWF-Canada

The night was framed by the launch of our new freshwater video narrated by hockey star Scott Niedermayer  (WWF’s Freshwater Ambassador, and a recent inductee to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame!). Scott was there in person to kick things off, with a rousing address on his hopes for clean and flowing water for his kids’ future.
I was the guinea pig – the first speaker on deck, with my presentation on the “Top Ten Reasons Why We Needs a New BC Water Act”.  My key points in a very small nutshell are that a new Act can:
#10: be modernized to address today’s pressures on water as the hundred year old Act is long overdue for revision,
#9:  put rules in place to stop overuse and deal with a likely future of more and more water restrictions which could jeopardize food security,
#8: set flexible rules to adapt to a changing climate and stronger rules to protect environmental flows,
#7: incorporate the public trust doctrine, so that the government has a fiduciary duty to manage water, and protect it in the public interest,
#6: protect aquatic species such as the almost one third of BC’s freshwater fish species classified as at risk,
#5: address water use by BC’s fast growing oil and gas industry,
#4: protect BC’s wild rivers,
#3: fill a glaring loophole in BC’s law: lack of regulation of groundwater extraction,
#2: clarify aboriginal rights to water, unrecognized when the Act was first passed,
And the number one reason we need a new Water Act in BC:   to stop ignoring nature’s needs for water. Water for nature. Water for people. We need rules to protect both.

Scott Niedermayer and Canadian for the Great Bear UBC’s Dr Eric Taylor with WWF-Canada’s Linda Nowlan. © Mike Ambach, WWF-Canada

I was joined by five excellent and passionate speakers (some of whom you’ll hear from as guest bloggers in the near future):
–          Amy Huva, North Growth Foundation, on “What BC can learn from Australia”
–          Julia Ko, Water Matters, on “What BC can learn from Alberta”
–          Tim Leadem, Ecojustice, Counsel for environmental groups at the Cohen Commission, on “Implications of the Cohen Commission for Salmon”
–          Ken Ashley, BCIT Rivers Institute, on “Salmon 2100”
–          Sherry Boudreau, First Nations Fisheries Council of BC, on” We Can’t Breathe in Water and Fish can’t Breathe in Air “

Scott Niedermayer with the band, The River and the Road. © Mike Ambach, WWF-Canada

After the talks we were treated to a few songs from the aptly named band, The River and The Road.  The lively crowd included a mix of people: students, energy and mining company executives, academics, activists, lawyers, and lots more. One of the ‘original six’ Canadians for the Great Bear, Professor Rick Taylor of UBC, was a special guest.
Pecha Kucha, a perky way to present pertinent ideas.  And a great opportunity to engage a new crowd in an issue that really matters.
Join the effort to protect water and salmon! Here’s what you can do:
Spread the word– Please share WWF’s video widely with friends, family, colleagues.
If you live in BC, contact your MLA to voice your support for a new BC Water Act with strong rules to protect environmental flows. Use the Top Ten reasons or add your own. Tell your government how much you value water.
Wherever you live: contact your federal MP and ask for action on all 75 of the recommendations from the Cohen Commission on sockeye salmon in the Fraser River.