Grassroots Power in British Columbia

img_4780.jpgWhat’s possible when we come together as a freshwater movement, united by a powerful desire to protect and love our home waters?

This question is one of the big ideas we’re working with at the Freshwater Alliance. The Alliance is taking a regionalized approach to kickstarting a national network across Canada, with British Columbia as one of two pilot regions (the second is the Great Lakes region). BC alone is home to over 200 freshwater stewardship groups, including First Nations organizations, streamkeepers, riverkeepers, ENGOs, and recreational and community groups. In addition to our diverse freshwater stewardship communities, the possibility of new water legislation makes BC an excellent place to start.

The Alliance’s BC Program is aimed at supporting the capacity-building needs of the BC freshwater stewardship community with a priority on grassroots groups and First Nations organizations and communities. For the next three years, our BC Program will focus on innovative outreach and communications support to increase success for pubic engagement on water issues. Join us as we roll out a training and coaching service alongside a sophisticated suite of cutting-edge “engagement tech tools” over the next few months. In January 2013, we hosted our first Engagement Organizing Training for BC’s Freshwater Leaders in Brew Creek (just outside of Whistler). Fifteen groups from across the province were selected out of over 50 applicants for a weekend of intensive training on storytelling, messaging, and engagement tech tools. This spring, we’re launching our new BC Mentorship Program - a one-of-a-kind, six-month learning experience dedicated to amplifying the impact of grassroots work on freshwater issues in British Columbia. Stay tuned for details on how your group can apply.

Now is the time to come together as a community. We need each other in order to confront the mounting challenges our waters are facing in BC – from proposed pipeline and mining projects, to unresolved First Nations rights and title, to threats to our beloved salmon populations. And we need to learn from each other, build together, and take action on the things we care about to make a ripple in Canada’s water movement.