image credit: MagicalRubbish
image credit: MagicalRubbish

(thanks, and apologies, to M. Gandhi…even though he actually didn’t say the quote you’re thinking of)

At some point during this, the two-thousand-and-fourteenth year Anno Domini, will be the day that represents fifteen years since I set foot in UHN, green in many ways, and ready to work on this “environmental thing”.  A lot has happened over those years…I’ve had five offices (three of which were in buildings that no longer exist…be forewarned LuCliff Place, be forewarned), a buncha different bosses and way more recycling and light turning-off than I could have imagined (but, contrary to popular belief, I did not have more hair when I started here).  Did I know what I was getting in to?  Not a chance.  Could I have imagined fifteen years at UHN?

Well…The thing about working for a healthcare provider is that, almost to a person, it’s a pretty sure thing that each and every individual reading this New Year edition of Talkin’ Trash will at some point be a receiver of healthcare.  Not only that, but it’s pretty much a sure thing that your family, friends and just about everyone you see around you will also be receivers of healthcare.  So, as healthcare workers, every time we invest in making healthcare a little bit better, a little bit more efficient, we’re investing in ourselves, our family, our friends, our future.  What a great thing to be able to give…sure, everyone hit you up for the staff discount when you worked at Free Range Anchovies Be Us, but to be able to give the gift of healthcare, why I’d take that over a big screen EnergyStar internet ready, high definition television any day.

For those who work directly with patients and do what you do (for which I, as a receiver of healthcare and an alleged master of science can think of no better word than “magic”), thank you.

For those who go that little extra step, up and beyond the call of duty, to recycle, to turn-off some lights…thank you some more.

And for all those who take the time to get in touch to ask how they can help make UHN more environmentally friendly, more sustainable…thank you.  Thank you for letting someone like me, whose most common interaction with patients is giving directions to the nearest Tim Hortons (which, at Toronto General pretty much means pointing down any hallway and saying “that way”) be part of it…so I too can give the gift of healthcare.

Could I be doing the same sort of greening thing for a maker of coloured, bubbly, sugar water?  Sure, why not.  Would I have been doing it for almost fifteen years?  Depends how tasty the coloured, bubbly, sugar water was.  Nah…just kiddin’…I doubt it.

Happy New Year, UHN, Happy New Year.

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.  As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.

-Mahatma Gandhi