We all drink water (and wash, clean, dilute with it… some of us swim, sail, fish, grow food or use it in industry). Water belongs to all of us. Join us in understanding how to take care of this common pool resource.

Nothing that is living on this planet can exist without water. Yet around the world pollution, abstraction from rivers and climate change is seriously harming freshwater ecosystems and human health while the sea contains plastics, much of our global sewage and marine ecosystems are struggling to survive. According to the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century more than half of the world’s rivers are either going dry or are polluted.

In the UK all our rivers are failing health tests and water is already the first natural ‘resource’ coming under severe stress from climate change. By looking at specific issues such as where our drinking water comes from, or how our coasts are protected, we can see into the systems they are a part of. To open up this conversation and look for pathways to improvement we have created three interrelated, citizen-led concepts, the River Charter, River Keepers and the River Council.

You can never see a whole system but can take a view in through bounded examples. To do just that, we co-hosted the 2019 SW Water Resilience Summit. This day-long event took place in Totnes Civic Hall, co-produced with Westcountry Rivers Trust and funded by the EU ProWater programme. As part of our Climate Resilience Learning Journey the day offered experts and the public an insight into how water is being managed in the South West of England and the kind of challenges being posed by climate change. The Summit was part of BLC’s Bioregional Learning Journey.

We all live in ‘sheds’, our natural life-support systems. Most of us know what a watershed is: the local geological basin that catches rain and feeds it into streams and rivers for our drinking water, food and eco-system health. A bioregional economy also pays attention to local food sheds, energy sheds, soil sheds and fibre sheds and how they overlap and interact. Re-localising is a key strategy for climate resilience and turns us into stewards of our own resources. Sourcing locally reduces energy and CO2 emissions as well as boosting local economies and livelihoods.


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We work in and at the intersection of economy, ecology, learning, arts and culture and the gaps in between.