I’ve gone to a lot of water conferences, have worn a lot of different conference "hats," and am a self-confessed aqua-nut. So it is with some shame that I confess: I have a serious case of water conference-fatigue syndrome. (WCFS™ Lynn Patterson!)
Yes, it’s gotten so bad that when I’m at a water conference, I feel like I’m trapped in a Twilight Zone episode—it’s like an endless loop of the same panelists spouting the same (important) messages to the same tired audience. Then the preacher, choir and congregation all switch spots and the loop begins again: “We need a national water policy…Canadians take water for granted…We need full cost-recovery pricing…We need to communicate better!” Only the hotel location and menu of local salad greens change.
My symptoms are getting worse and are no longer confined just to conferences about water.
My eyes roll back in my head when speakers read out their Powerpoints in that flat conference-voice. I get fidgety during those tired old ‘three-experts-and-a-moderator’ panels. I’m frustrated that hotel coffee cups are so small and irritated that they never seem to serve just plain old orange pekoe tea. And why does the ladies room have to be so far away? Argh! How I dread being trapped in a hotel ballroom and slowly drained of my life force, all in the name of a conference!
Don’t I sound like a grumpy old man?
Then it might surprise you to hear how much I enjoyed the 2012 Living Waters Rally. Why? It’s because the Rally re-vitalized me, rather than de-vitalizing me.
It’s called a “Rally” on purpose. This three-day event is chock full of fun, with really useful tips, resources and best practices you can use right away, as well as access to a whole bunch of smart, friendly people who have dealt with some of the very same issues that you’ve got on your plate.
The Living Waters Rally provides inspiration at every corner, and all in the heart of our nation’s capital. What other conference gives you a chance to canoe the Ottawa River? To attend a First Nations welcoming ceremony in the pouring rain on Victoria Island (much more fun than it sounds!) The chance to enjoy a glass of wine at the RBC reception in the stunning Canadian Museum of Nature?
Trust me: this isn’t your typical conference. That’s why I’m counting the days until the second Living Waters Rally in October, of which RBC is a proud sponsor. Everyone is as passionate about water as you are, and you’ll come away with a list of great ideas, a sense of belonging to a community of like-minded people from across the country and a renewed sense that your work serves a higher purpose.
For me, one of the most important ways we can help sustain a freshwater movement in Canada is to make sure that our front-line water stewards have the energy they need to tackle the important work that lies ahead. The Living Waters Rally will top up your battery—come join us!
Lynn Patterson is Director, Corporate Responsibility for RBC, and works on the RBC Blue Water Project, a 10-year, $50 million commitment to helping ensure swimmable, drinkable and fishable water. Twitter @LynnPatterson