With the long-forewarned impacts of climate change becoming increasingly present around the world and here in Nova Scotia, our communities are waking up to the need to plan and adapt. To mitigate risk and adapt successfully, we require innovative solutions to observe and accurately ascertain what those risks are.
COVE resident company, 3D Wave Design, owned by Stevens Solutions & Design Inc., and President/Co-Owner Barry Stevens are accomplishing exactly that. With their 3D interactive mapping solutions, they are revolutionizing how we perceive and respond to environmental challenges.
“3D Wave Design works primarily in climate change adaptation, we do a lot of work with First Nation communities and rural communities throughout Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada,” said Stevens, a Mi’kmaw person, and a member of Acadia First Nation.
Stevens was inspired to create a more accessible method of observing environmental risk upon discovering an issue with flood plain mapping. “I read several papers and could not understand why the reports were so difficult to understand and why you could not ascertain risk,” he said. “What we did was create a tool for non-technical users like politicians, bureaucrats, or Indigenous leaders to be able to understand those risks and plan preventative action.”
The use of 3D interactive mapping solutions helps overcome the challenges posed by complex technology and scientific terms found in raw data and research reports. This enables users to spend more time on observation, planning, and adapting to the information presented. 3D Wave Design’s unique, innovative and indigenous designed technology provides an interactive experience that allows nontechnical users – working on standard mobile devices – dynamic adjustment of scientifically accurate 3D digital elevation models with hydrodynamic SLR, storm surge, fluvial flooding, wildfires and other climate change events.
With a focus on minimizing environmental impact and enhancing societal resilience, this technology offers tangible solutions for communities to proactively address impending challenges.
3D Wave Design was selected to deliver 3D LiDAR Climate Change modeling software for First Nations Communities across Atlantic Canada through the Samqwane’jk Sustainable Ocean Partnerships project. Samqwane’jk, a first-of-its-kind initiative led by Ulnooweg in collaboration with COVE and Upswing Solutions, connects Indigenous ocean businesses and ocean technology companies in Atlantic Canada to work in partnership to improve the sustainability of our oceans and our communities. The project aims to mobilize action to deliver measurable progress against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We received funding through the Samqwane’jk project and were able to help four communities here in Atlantic Canada – two in Nova Scotia, one in PEI and one in New Brunswick,” said Stevens. “It was great for getting us moving. After that, we started working with the Union of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq, and all five communities in Cape Breton. We’re also working with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, for the remaining communities in Nova Scotia.”
3D Wave Design’s innovative solutions have not gone unnoticed.
The company was recently awarded a Canada’s Clean50 award, annually given in recognition of Canada’s leaders in sustainability for their contributions over the prior two years.
“Going to the Clean50 award ceremony and receiving the plaque, I couldn’t believe the quality of individuals that I was involved with. It was inspiring to see so many people of different walks of life, nationalities, and educational backgrounds come up with great ideas for the betterment of humankind and our civilization,” said Stevens. “I can honestly say winning that award was one of the highlights of my long career.”
Stevens was also recently an Atlantic finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year, an honour given to entrepreneurs across Canada who master the artful balance of passion, determination, character, and skill to create businesses that address the most complex challenges and build a better working world.
“I’ve been involved in running my company Stevens Solutions for 25 years or so and I’m very honoured by the award, but I’ve always considered myself more of a problem solver than an entrepreneur,” said Stevens. “I’ve done a lot of different designs and inventions that have been used throughout Canada and North America, and some deployment in Europe, but an entrepreneur? I don’t know. A problem solver? Absolutely.”
3D Wave Design has been a tenant at COVE for four years, and the company has found value in the talent and collaborative nature of the community.
“COVE as a concept is absolutely key. It’s a critical mass for a lot of bright minds, including a lot of emerging talent, that come together at a facility built for collaboration,” said Stevens. “Our involvement with COVE allowed us to be introduced to people and businesses that we otherwise probably wouldn’t have met. We’ve built on relationships we’ve made there and its generated work.”
As 3D Wave Design continues to carve its path, far more important than the awards and accolades is the company’s core commitment to providing solutions towards a sustainable future.
“What they call the blue economy from my perspective is more of a sustainable economy or a circular economy. In the past we just kept extracting resources as if there were no end. I think people now are understanding that we do have an influence, that we can deplete resources, so we must put time and money back in,” said Stevens. “People think it’s a new concept but it’s not, it’s a seven-generation indigenous concept. We still have time, but we’ve done a lot of damage.”
Stevens acknowledges that the struggle to get people motivated and to take action has been long, and that this struggle will continue. Yet, there is ultimately optimism in his voice when reflecting on the progress that has been made and the progress we continue to see. “We are finally starting to wake up, and it’s about damn time.”