TGH EarthDay Booth with Heather and Ashley

Before you make a not-so-friendly phone call to HR, get your mind out of the gutter…the dirty part was actual soil from our trees for toonies, a wildly successful new part of our Earth Day Festivities. But that’s not all! (please ignore the familiar tones of the guy selling ShamWows on late-night TV…I’m just really excited!) On April 19th, Toronto General, Princess Margaret and Toronto Western Hospitals all hosted Earth Day Booths to spread some knowledge and enthusiasm to UHN staff. A giant thank you goes out to the 25 green team volunteers that worked before and on the day to get this going, to the 109 staff who signed the Green Pledge, the 136 people who bought a tree, and to the countless more that lingered to learn a thing or 2 (though if we were to count in a ballpark sort of way, it would be near 800).

In case you missed it, our booths had oodles of info on energy conservation i.e. giving a flick, recycling, composting, and the 20 great green ideas you may remember from Revolutions 2012. We had an LED light display and savings calculator showing the brighter LED using just 7 measly watts vs the incandescent energy hog using 60 (thank you Green team member Daniel Cotfas). We also collected staff’s old cell phones for proper electronics recycling.

And who knew that in addition to being enviro-champs, those green team volunteers know how to shill (shameless plug…why not join the Green Team?). They sold 136 trees for toonies, so that staff could bring 1, 2 or 10 home to plant in their gardens. What a great idea by GT member Heather Ford! I personally planted 3 with my family on Earth Day. We still have a few left so contact me ASAP if you’d like some. Anything left at the end of the week will be planted in the UHN Urban Garden to get even bigger before the next event. So don’t be a sap…plant a sapling.

The best part of the event was that we were in great company. Just in case you’ve ever felt it’s not easy being green, just you and your recycling bin against the world, you should know there’s a whole network of us out there. UHN, Mt. Sinai, St. Michael’s, Credit Valley/Trillium, St. Joseph’s, and Toronto East General Hospitals all united for simultaneous Earth Day Events on that very same Thursday, April 19th. We even put together a joint presentation which you may or may not have had a chance to see at our booths (TGH had success, but PMH and TWH experienced…um…technical difficulties…but bless SIMS for trying). Even the Ontario Public Services Greening Office celebrated simultaneously.

We had a friendly competition to see how many staff would sign the green pledge. Our whopping 109 signed pledges were nicely distributed between the 3 sites at UHN. St. Michael’s had 60 signatures, Toronto East General had 85, St. Joe’s scored 132 pledges and gave pledges free seedlings, Trillium’s 2 sites got 95 in total, and Mt. Sinai had quite a few as well.  That’s around 600 hospital staff all trying their best to be green…finally something good to call HR about.