Sometimes we get stuck in our own box, plugging away at our own battles, unable to see the FSC-Certified Forest for the trees. Last week, I had the privilege of participating in a new event put on by the Ontario Public Service (OPS) Green Office, called Green Leaders, Sharing Success Stories . It was a fantastic revelation. They brought together members of all parts of the public sector, areas that are often stuck in their own silos, to get us to meet and mingle, share victories and commiserate on challenges. We at Talkin’ Trash were thrilled with the result!

It all went down at the MaRS Discovery District Auditorium on March 6th, and has left a lasting impression. Rarely do we get the chance to hear what’s going on in public schools, universities, hospitals, and the provincial government all in one jam-packed morning. Extra points for ensuring the coffee and snacks were served on reusable tableware. Here’s cheersing a little “walk the talk”, plus coffee tastes so much better in a proper mug (says my inner green princess).

The morning began with a nice big picture view…as they say, go big or go home.  Peter Berg, Associate Professor, and Director, Energy and the Environment program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, gave a mind-blowing talk on the impact of resource scarcity on the global economy and our way of life. It inspired me to crack open his book, The Finite Planet , to find it equally jaw dropping, with a little humour to help the staggering stats and science go down easier. And I’m not just plugging his book because he gave me a free signed copy (though that never hurts).

Monica Da Ponte, Director, Strategic Partnerships at WWF‐Canada, closed the event with some concrete examples of how some companies have embraced greening into their processes. It was good to learn how an environmental agency can work with business to help them operate leaner, cleaner and greener. Businesses often have big ol’ carbon footprints, so when they change their ways to shrink their shoe size, it pleasantly pleases the planet.

And the rest of us in education (from primary to post secondary), healthcare and governement filled out the juicy middle, presenting on our organization’s successes and participating in very interactive panel discussions. How refreshing to have so many good questions and comments instead of that awkward silence that sometimes follows even the best presentations. Neil Sentence, ADM of the OPS Green Office gave a superb speech on a lot of fantastic green initiatives at the OPS green office. I presented on the top-down-meets-bottom-up greening approach we have at UHN.

I’ll share these presentations when they become available (unfortunately, not quite ready at press time). Keep your eyes open for a repeat performance by the OPS next year, or just keep reading Talkin’ Trash as I’ll be sure to mention it. Much like this event, we like to share the good stuff.