Canmore sustainability video on YouTube: Rocky Mountain Outlook

The Town of Canmore’s training video for new staff to introduce them to the concepts of sustainability and the Natural Step program is available on YouTube. The 20-minute long video, which shows how the municipality has taken steps to increase its sustainability, is available for anyone to check out on the Natural Step’s YouTube channel. Sally Caudill, environmental care coordinator for the Town, said last week the Natural Step orientation video is shown to all new employees after they are taken for a tour of the community and treated to a coffee in a stainless steel re-useable mug.

The video uses real examples of how the Town of Canmore is implementing sustainability throughout the community. In addition to the orientation video, the municipality has established a sustainability committee that meets monthly with representatives form all departments across the corporation. Caudill said the committee, which was established in May 2008, functions as a sounding board for sustainability issues and ideas and reviews corporate initiatives for sustainability. Annually, it also updates the Natural Step master plan and links it to the municipal budget. In addition to the YouTube video, the committee has put up the current exhibit in the Civic Centre, recommended discontinuing selling bottled water at the Rec Centre, presents an annual staff award and is currently working on the Environmental Sustainability Action Plan.

Caudill said the committee also conducts Natual Step analyses of initiatives or issues like plastic bags, Canmore becoming a Fair Trade Community, the Towards Zero Waste initiative, community gardens and the Cougar Creek commuter trail. She said one of the hurdles for the committee is trying to create a corporate structure where a Natural Step analysis happens before a project instead of after. “We are looking for ways to interject that analysis at the beginning of a process,” she said. In the future, the committee will also look to establish concrete high level goals around sustainability for the corporation, with indicators to measure whether or not those goals are being achieved.

Caudill said looking at projects proposed by the corporation through the lens of the Natural Step involves asking three strategic questions to achieve its goals. The first question looks at whether the action proposed moves in the right direction with respect to Natural Step sustainability objectives. The second question looks at whether it provides a stepping stone for future moves toward sustainability objectives and the third asks if it proves a good return on investment. The Natural Step was developed in 1989 by Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt, a Swedish oncologist who linked a rise in leukaemia among children to increased toxins stemming from human production processes.

The organization promotes a system of production in which all products taken from the earth are put back at an ecologically acceptable rate, while ensuring the life cycle of a product comes full-circle to help reduce the amount of waste created.

Article Author: Tanya Foubert

Source: Rocky Mountain Outlook