Cochrane Sustainability News

The 13 Days of Christmas – Cochrane Sustainability Style

With the holiday season upon us, SPUR (Sustainability Partners Uniting Resources) would like to thank all the residents of Cochrane who have contributed toward realizing the vision of the Cochrane Sustainability Plan. Countless area businesses, organizations and individuals are helping create a sustainable future for Cochrane, and we are grateful for your support.
In the spirit of the season, SPUR would like to use this edition of its monthly newsletter to share our recommendations for making this holiday season merry and sustainable.

Pathway 1:  We are a socially responsible and empowered community.  
The holiday season is the ideal time to think about supporting those who are less fortunate.  Consider volunteering your time with Habitat for Humanity, helping low-income families realize their dream of having their own home at the Sibbald Street project.  Were you one of the many area residents who watched the screening of Green during the local film festival?  For $10 per month you can sponsor an orangutan who has been displaced by palm and timber company deforestation through Orangutan Outreach.  You can also support local charities by shopping or making donations at Home Reno Heaven, which supports affordable housing programs, or at the Home Treasures Thrift Shop at 11 - 118 11 St., which boasts a great selection of Christmas ornaments.
Pathway 2: We treat water as a precious resource.
As some Alberta communities struggle with water supply issues, Cochrane has made a commitment to conserving water and protecting our water supply.  This holiday season, why not give the gift of plants suited to our climate? Gift certificates for xeriscaping plants from area businesses like Bow Point Nursery  can make a great present that also helps preserve our water supply.  Water bottles from The Healthy Hut make ideal stocking stuffers – check out the Purica steel and Kleen Kanteen models, so your water bottle is aluminum free.
Pathway 3: We use energy responsibly and innovatively.

Holiday decorations don’t have to put an unnecessary drain on your electrical bill – try using a timer to make sure they are on only when wanted.  The Energy Detective allows homeowners to see how much power they are using, and to store and analyze the data. If time is of the essence, you can buy The Energy Detective from a distributor in Calgary. You can sync it with Google PowerMeter for even more information.
Pathway 4: We contribute to the solution on climate change.

Each year in Cochrane, holiday celebrations lead to an increase in waste production, particularly from wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and used Christmas trees.  The good news is there are options available to make your holiday season happy, sustainable and environmentally responsible, thanks to the efforts of The Town of Cochrane and the Recycling Depot. Torn between cutting down your own Christmas tree this holiday season, or buying an artificial tree?  The Recycling Council of BC has some good advice that weighs the pros and cons of both tree options – click here to read more about The Great Christmas Tree Debate. Feeling crafty?  This website has ideas for creating Christmas tree ornaments from recycled items like lightbulbs.
Pathway 5: We consume the bounty of our local economy.
Cochrane is fortunate to have a great selection of merchants who can help ease the stress of holiday shopping. The Twisted Basil offers a wide range of sustainable food items from local growers, including prepared meals for when time is an issue. Their turkeys are also local, from Bowden Farm.  In the mood to celebrate the spirit of the season? The newly opened Fallentimber Meadery has some great offerings, including locally produced mead, honey, candles, holiday baskets and more. Yum.
Pathway 6: Our local economy is healthy and diverse.
The holiday season is a good time to think local.  Did you know that $68 out of every $100 you spend locally is returned to the community through payroll, taxes and other expenses?  Learn more about the importance of local purchasing power at the 3/50 project.
Pathway 7: Everyone has an opportunity to pursue
their potential in Cochrane.

Christmas is the ideal time to give the gift of self-improvement. Consider giving a gift certificate for a fitness class, an adult education program or an arts and craft workshop.  Addie’s Creative Fabrics offers courses in quilting, knitting and more, and Saffron Collective Studios will teach you everything you want to know about pottery.  You can take a variety of fitness classes at the Spray Lake Saw Mills Family Sports Centre, or check out the Program and Activity Guide from the Town of Cochrane for more learning opportunities.
Pathway 8: We are a caring community that lives and celebrates together.

The holiday season is a difficult time for families who are facing financial challenges.  In Cochrane, the Activettes are helping ensure that all area residents have an opportunity for a merry Christmas.  You can learn more about the Share your Christmas program that provides food, clothing and gifts to more than 100 local families on the Activette’s website.

Pathway 9: Everyone has a roof over their head.
This holiday season, why not open your home to a new family member?  The Cochrane and Area Humane Society has a wide selection of cats, dogs and other animals all looking for a loving home.  Not ready to commit to a new pet quite yet?  You can give the gift of a Humane Society donation for the hard-to-buy-for folks on your list.  It’s even tax deductible!
Pathway 10: There’s enough room for everything a community should have.
The Cochrane Environmental Action Committee (CEAC) is dedicated to protecting our natural environment, and preserving our natural spaces.  You can support their work by visiting the Cochrane Farmer’s Market in the summer months, taking part in their annual Branches and Banks Tree Planting Event, by purchasing a rain barrel or by attending their new Green Drinks events.  
Pathway 11:  Wherever you are in Cochrane, you’re close and connected.
One of the best things about living in Cochrane is the access to all the great winter activities.  Whether you want to go skating, sledding, or bird watching, or simply want to take a stroll along the pathways, you’re just a short distance from enjoying our winter wonderland.  Check out the Town of Cochrane website for ideas on the best way to enjoy recreational activities right in our community.
Pathway 12. There are diverse options for getting around.

This holiday season, if you are planning on venturing out for Christmas shopping, why not invite an elderly neighbor along who might have trouble navigating winter streets without assistance?  Whether you are driving to the ski hills or making a trip to the city for last-minute shopping, consider carpooling to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  A winter sleigh ride can be a nice way to slow down and enjoy the season – and traditional snowshoes offer great exercise as well as a good way to explore natural areas.
Pathway 13: We build Cochrane on the strengths of our natural and
cultural heritage.

You can celebrate Cochrane’s proud and impressive past with the purchase of a copy of More Big Hill Country from the Cochrane Historical and Archival Preservation Society  (CHAPS).  This beautiful, gold-embossed hardcover book features more than 800 pages of memoirs, historical facts, letters and photos about Cochrane’s history.  Cost is $65.

Happy Holidays from SPUR 

Want more info?
The Cochrane Sustainability Plan website features all the latest information on sustainability in our community – be sure to check it out for regular updates.
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