Clay Adams | June 9th, 2016
As I write this, many are celebrating World Oceans Days. Hug an octopus, spin with a seal or float among sharks. I can attest first-hand just how amazing that is and what a wonderful environment our oceans are.
Which gets me to a key word – environment. Or, more to the point, environmentalists. Now when one thinks of environmentalists, they (meaning me) think of tofu-munching, hemp wearing, bearded hippies with guitars and no job.
But that would be stereo-typing and I, for one, would be the last person to do that. Well, maybe. The reality is that my picture of an environmentalist is probably further from the truth than a Donald Trump policy speech (which I can say without fear of retribution because Trump hasn’t actually declared any policies as yet…well, other than building a wall against Mexico which, I suppose is one to stop the US national team getting a spanking on the soccer pitch).
I know this because I had the honor and pleasure to meet over 150 planet saving folks recently – and there wasn’t a hemp outfit among them, although a couple did have beards. And they all had a job. I know this because they all work for VCH, PHSA, Providence and Fraser Health.
A large community
The gathering was to celebrate the work of our Green+Leaders across the Lower Mainland. These are the roughly 260 active folks like you who have made a voluntary commitment to make our health system a greener environment. Lab techs, nurses, program managers, health record clerks. Just employees giving back to the system in their own way by encouraging their colleagues to think green.
Now I don’t see myself as a “greenie”. (Really? Now that’s a surprise – Ed.) I don’t hug trees, wear hemp (let alone smoke anything resembling it), munch anywhere near enough salad, or walk streets with placards urging people to save whales, dolphins or exotic Guatemalan hardwoods.
I do my part
On the other hand, amidst much eye rolling at home, I meticulously separate garbage from recycling and place kitchen scraps in our green bin. I shut off lights when rooms are empty, tear apart and recycle those little Keurig cups (I know they’re bad for the environment, but I absolutely suck at making coffee), and turn the thermostat down in winter. I even drive a hybrid car when I’m not using transit, although I draw the line at cycling. Sorry.
Some might call me responsible; some might call me anal. I won’t tell you what my family calls me, only to say I can’t repeat it and I doubt that they will nominate me for a Green+Leader award anytime soon.
The reason I raise this is because the world is changing. Being green these days has taken on an entirely new dimension. It is no longer about saving Mother Earth, but simply about keeping Mother Earth alive for a lot longer and – hopefully – without calling a Code Blue every so often.
One way of getting on board the bus, bike or whatever (sorry, but the Toronto Blue Jays own the bandwagon right now) is to become a part of the Green care Community. From here, you can sign up for a carpool, discover ways to make your workplace more resource friendly, register for the Clean Commuter & Wellness Challenge, and even save the bees.
It is heartening and humbling to see and hear what our Green+Leaders do and the impact they make by creating awareness and engagement that leads to a true culture of environmental health and wellness.
It’s not easy to create change in the workplace. Heck, it’s not easy to make change anywhere. But I can tell you that their efforts are being noticed and that every year the Lower Mainland Green Care program grows and every year we see more projects and more people touched by the volunteer work that they do.
We rely on our Green+Leaders to help lead and inspire others, whether it’s through Active and Clean transportation campaigns in the workplace, improved recycling habits, or lunch and learn events. Green+Leaders are changing our culture, one person and one action at a time and that is something that we should all be proud of.
I’m not running out to grab a pair of spandex riding shorts. In fact, I’m not running anywhere. This body wasn’t built by doing marathons. What I am doing, like many others, is trying to spread the word that we can all reduce waste, cut down on those greenhouse gases and try to make our health system a little better for the patients, clients and residents we care for and about.
What are you doing?