Cochrane Ideas – March 2020

It is with great regret that we had to cancel our March & April Ideas evenings.

A man who used to attend Cochrane Ideas emigrated to Edmonton some years ago.  He formed an Ideas groups there and contacted us, hoping to drive down here with 10 or so Edmonton people.  We were delighted.   They wanted to get to know us, and we were keen to get to know them.  What topics do they deal with?  How do they conduct their meetings? After months of negotiating we were ready to see them here on 21 March.

But we’re sorry to let you know that our joint discussion with Edmonton guests could not go ahead due to concerns about current Coronavirus outbreak.  We are following recommended protocol adopted by many other groups in Alberta to restrict larger public gatherings.

We hope that the next Cochrane Ideas evening will be in May, but we will continue to keep you informed.

Be well, Ideas subscribers!


Cochrane Ideas – February 2020


with Jerry Osborn
Professor Emeritus of Geoscience

7 p.m., Friday, February 14th, 2020
King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane
Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Jerry Osborn’s two grandchildren, Sinclair and Liam, are approximately 2 years old.  There is a good probability they will live through the end of the 21st century.  Meanwhile, the International Panel on Climate Change and a number of independent researchers have made a series of projections of global mean and regional mean temperatures, and sea level for the end of the 21st century.  The IPCC has also made ancillary projections about economy, health, food supply, and biodiversity. Which of the projections are most likely depends on society’s energy decisions in the next several decades.  This talk will consider the world in which Sinclair and Liam will live in the latter part of the century. In order to get to that point, the speaker will consider the likelihood that current warming is anthropogenic, the degree to which large-numerical-climate-model output should be accepted, the right-wing and left-wing social agendas draping climate change that place climate in the heart of current culture wars, current climate politics, influences on belief systems, and the inertia of social change.  His conclusion is that 2 degrees of warming is probably wishful thinking, and the world will be a very different place for Sinclair and Liam.

Jerry Osborn is Professor Emeritus of Geoscience at the University of Calgary, with a research specialty in Holocene (last 11,000 years) glacier and climate history. He is very interested in relations between science and society. On the side, he likes to photograph and hike in the desert and photograph and play with his grandchildren; in the future he would like to photograph and then eat more pumpkin pie.

Some of those who attended our January Ideas mentioned how much they enjoyed the presentation on the discovery of the wreck of the Nova Zembla, a Scottish whaling ship, off the Baffin Island coast. The presenters, Michael Moloney and Matthew Ayre, from the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary, showed themselves to be real adventurers and excellent scientists. They also demonstrated humor and youthful energy in their talk. We thank them for their efforts in coming to Cochrane and sharing their stories and knowledge.


Cochrane Ideas – January 2020


The remarkable story of the discovery in Arctic waters
of a whaling ship from 118 years ago

7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 10, 2020
King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane
Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Two Calgary-based researchers from the Arctic Institute of North America will demonstrate the challenges and the societal implications of their exploration of the Scottish whaling vessel that sank off Baffin Island in 1902.

Dr. Michael Moloney. For his doctoral studies in Archeology at the University of Calgary, Michael investigated the application of innovative, computer-based spatial modelling to the examination of shipwrecks and shipboard societies.  An adjunct assistant professor at the U of C, Michael also has a masters degree in maritime archeology from the University of Southampton, England, and a BA in classical studies from the University of Waterloo.  He has worked in remote locations around the world, conducting archaeological excavations on land and under water.  He was made a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2018 for his explorations of Canadian Arctic history.

Dr. Matthew Ayre.  Matthew is a historical climatologist at the Arctic Institute.  After gaining his undergraduate degree in geography at the University of Sunderland, England, he went on to complete his PhD there, specializing in the extant log books from 19th century British Arctic whaling trade, and the climate of Baffin Bay.  He continues to work with these rare and interesting documents at the Institute.  They are not only providing new insights into the changing Arctic climate, but are also identifying much of the undocumented whaling heritage in the Canadian Arctic.

Those who attended December Ideas were treated to a refreshing change to our normal Ideas routine.  Dara Dines inspired creative juices to flow with her session on expressive arts.  We are grateful to Dara for leading participants in the creation of a range of hands-on and artful expressions relevant to the holiday season.  Many thanks to Dara for the thoughtfulness and preparation she put into the presentation.

Cochrane Ideas – December 2019


Please join us for a relaxing evening with Dara Dines, a member of our Cochrane Ideas community

7pm, Friday December 6th, 2019
King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Dara will share with us how she uses Expressive Arts in her work and will gently lead us in creating something meaningful together in preparation for the holidays.

DARA DINES has a degree in Fine Arts & Business from Concordia University, a certificate in Expressive Arts Training from the Prairie Institute of Expressive Arts Therapy (PIEAT) in Alberta, and she also studied Design at Algonquin College in Ottawa. She is a Registered Expressive Arts Consultant / Educator with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA).

When she taught art classes she enjoyed being in process with people as they created. She explored and integrated many forms of art into her classes, such as mindfulness, movement, drama, music and play. Dara has has been working in the field of mental health and wellness, and has also been training facilitators to use Expressive Arts in their workplace. The past few years she has created leadership development workshops for community support workers, peer mentors and volunteers.

Warm thanks to the three brave and highly articulate Millennials who offered their perspectives at the November Ideas on the topic: “The Boomer Legacy.”  Eily Aurora and Zoe Richardson offered more personal visions of what is significant in their lives as young, caring people. Ben Carson dealt with some of the more commonly recognized differences between younger and older people. They helped provide an enlightening evening for all participants.

Cochrane Ideas – November 2019



7pm on Friday, November 8th, 2019
King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane

A panel of millennials and others will lead an open discussion on the unique challenges they deal with. And, they’ll debate how much responsibility may be placed on the older and still-dominant demographic of the Boomer generation for these conditions. Other discussion points may include:

◊  What are the major differences between the world your parents lived in when they were young, and the world you now live in?
◊  Were the older Western world generations given a better chance than you have?
◊  Do you think older generations are blocking your access to political power? Does it help your interests to vote?
◊  What worries you the most? Climate change? Economic inequalities? Growing influence of artificial intelligence and other technological innovations? Population predictions? What else?
◊  Have formal mainstream religions lost their significance in your lives?
◊  What gives you the most hope?

Younger panel participants include:

Eily Aurora: 
Eily, 33, combines her background as a Family Constellations facilitator with music. She is a professional harpist, singer-songwriter and producer, with two CDs and a western Canadian tour among her accomplishments. With her passion to support mental health, she founded the Home Shall Be Here project, which toured to 14 communities across western Canada. As a practicing Buddhist, she does regular meditation, and has been a member of Birken Forest Monastery for 13 years. Native spirituality is a strong guiding force in her life, Eily spent four years at Mount Royal University, with two years in a student  executive role.

Ben Carson:
Ben, 32, spent two years as a music teacher in the CBE after completing his Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees at the University of Calgary. He went on to obtain a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Victoria and spent the following two years as Senior Community Relations Officer for the Victoria Symphony. In the summer of 2012 Ben Carson and Richard Marshall rode their bicycles from Calgary to Toronto just for fun.

Zoe Richardson:
Zoe arrived at the moment the panel discussion was about to start, and to everyone’s amazement immediately joined the panel.  Zoe had met Ely previously which led to her being somewhat at ease.  It was a delight to have Zoe share her views on being a millennial.

Katherine Arich:
It was with great regret that Katherine had to cancel her plans to join the panel.  She has been an eloquent 15 year old speaker at previous climate strikes on Calgary City Hall steps – sometimes before crowds of 400 people.  We very much regretted not having a passionate teenager in our midst.


Cochrane Ideas – October 2019

Regional Growth Management

Is it Even Possible?
What Has Been Tried in the Calgary Region?

7 pm, Friday, October 11th, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge, Centre Avenue, Cochrane
Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Managing Growth at a regional scale is not for the faint-of-heart!  It comes with all the drama of the wild west poised on the razor’s-edge of a “local autonomy” vs. “broader shared interest” in the Calgary Region, It also comes with a  clash between urban and rural values. Still, it has been possible to find common ground.

Join us on October 11 to learn how compromises were made. Share your own observations and questions. Bob Miller has spent many years engaged in urban and regional growth management and planning in the Calgary region.  From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s Bob served as the City of Calgary’s technical representative to the Calgary Regional Planning Commission.  As a city planner, he worked with rural municipalities and towns across the region in regional strategy-making, annexation and strategic planning studies. From 1999-2010 Bob served as the Manager of Strategic Initiatives, providing strategic analysis and advice to City Council and the senior administration.

Retiring from the City, Bob joined the Calgary Regional Partnership in 2010, implementing the Calgary Metropolitan Plan and developing region-wide strategies around growth management, transit, regional water systems, economic prosperity and broadband/fibre networks.  As CRP closed its doors in 2018, Bob retired and now enjoys life in the Summer Village of Ghost Lake. He contributes as a volunteer where he can.

Bob holds degrees in Urban and Regional Economics (BA, UofC) and Community and Regional Planning (MA, UBC)

Many thanks to Ozzie Sawicki and Jill Uniacke for detailing with such empathy and understanding at September Ideas the extent of palliative care in Cochrane area, and future goals to help people with their end-of-life challenges.  If you are interested in hospice and palliative care, please go to the local Cochrane website

Cochrane Ideas – September 2019

Cochrane Ideas launches its 20th year with a presentation on

Planning our end-of-life journey

7 pm on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019
at Frank Wills Memorial Hall
405 1st Street East (beside RCMP Station)

Please bring snacks                 Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Discussion leaders:
Jill Uniacke, volunteer board member and education committee lead for the Cochrane and Area Hospice Society.
Ozzie Sawicki, volunteer chair of the Cochrane and Area Hospice Society and Cochrane business owner. He runs a company called Amped2Play, helping companies, organizations and schools introduce unstructured and experimental play programs for all ages.

The Cochrane and area Hospice Society is part of a growing number of rural support organizations surrounding Calgary. They focus on providing those in the final stages of their lives the chance to have all the information needed to make quality decisions and be exposed to available and exemplary palliative care, as well as end-of-life and bereavement care options.

Other topics that Jill and Ozzie will cover include:
– Palliative care versus end-of-life care .
– Advanced-care planning and legislation behind Personal Directives.
– Medical assistance in dying legislation.
– Home and hospice care.
– Family support.

Other mission objectives for the Society include providing palliative volunteer training, and advocating for hospice and respite beds for people unable to stay in their own homes.

This will be an interactive session — questions and comments welcome

Summer Break

Our next IDEAS evening will be held in September so please join us then to take part in the excellent conversations. We have many exciting speakers/topics planned for the new season.

Have a wonderful summer,
The IDEAS Team

Cochrane Ideas – June 2019


7 pm on Friday, June 14, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge
Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks (Meat, sweets, veggies — whatever your fancy).
Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

Four Bow Valley debaters will speak for or against the following motion:
WHEREAS the ever-increasing world-wide mass meat production raises environmental concerns and also involves some ethical issues;
BE IT RESOLVED that we support a substantial reduction and the eventual elimination of mass-produced meat consumption.

Moving the motion will be retired engineer Heinz Unger, a member of the Ideas co-ordinating team, a committed conservationist and a former official with the World Bank. The seconder will be Robin Slater from Lac Des Arcs, a committed vegetarian for 50 years and an active Ideas participant for many years.

Planning to stun the audience with his debating skills in his opposition to the motion will be Erik Butters, well-known and conservation-minded rancher operating on Hwy. 40 northwest of Cochrane. Currently a councillor with the municipal district of Bighorn, his historical roots in the area go deep. He will be joined by seconder, Greg Trout, new to Ideas with his debating chops and a citizen of Cochrane since 2012. He, too, is a professional engineer with his degree from the University of Saskatoon. Greg works in the mining and equipment maintenance fields.

This is the final Ideas event before the summer break. After the four speakers have made their pitch for or against the motion, the debate will open up to the audience for comments.

Cochrane Ideas – May 2019

Current And Future Energy Use
The Questions And Possible Solutions

7 pm on Friday May 10, 2019
at King Solomon Lodge (our usual location)
Centre Avenue, Cochrane

Please bring snacks if you can. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

The presentation by Cal Hill will attempt to address the following questions:
– Why energy is so important in our lives
– What forms of energy we have and benefits and disadvantages of each
– A world without fossil fuels
– Energy demand growth and population growth
– The big problem and what it all means
– The tough solutions

CAL HILL is a retired geologist having spent his career working for the Alberta Energy Regulator. In his last few years with the regulator, he was responsible for strategy and regulatory development. This included providing scientific assessments of Alberta’s energy resources and the demand for them as well as understanding trends in global energy consumption and what that meant to Alberta.  Since his retirement, Cal continues to be interested in the topic of energy and how it impacts on our environment. In his spare time, he wanders the foothills and mountains with his wife Judy, attempting to become a better outdoor photographer. Cal lives in the Cochrane area.

There was a large and appreciative audience for Duane Bratt‘s talk on political populism at April’s Ideas. We are grateful that Duane donated his time, energy and clarity of thought to make the event so stimulating.