On August 20th, one of the most quintessentially Canadian and legendary bands will perform their very last concert ever. Gord Downie, lead singer of  The Tragically Hip  (or The Hip, as they’re known) was diagnosed last December with Glioblastoma, a particularly nasty type of of brain cancer. Rather than go gentle into that good night, Gord decided to spend his time doing the thing he loves most … performing for his fans.

Gord Downie of The Hip. Image credit: Scott Gardner / The Hamilton Spectator
Gord Downie of The Hip. Image credit: Scott Gardner / The Hamilton Spectator

I was lucky enough to get some nosebleed, standing-only tickets for last Friday’s show (who needs seats anyway, and isn’t sitting is the new smoking?). We lucked out with the setlist that they infamously switch up night to night: starting with “Courage”, “New Orleans is Sinking” in the middle (an ode to Climate Change, if I’ve ever heard one) and ending with “Ahead By a Century”.

Most of all, it was a shared experience, like a giant group hug in the extremely packed Air Canada Centre. Everyone walked out of there in equal parts happy, sad and inspired.

As shared experiences go, we’re also on day 13 of the Olympics in Rio. The games opened with a lot of singing and dancing, as you’d expect, but it also delivered a particularly powerful message about climate change. The theme of this year’s games is sustainability.

Canada is normally super fierce in the Winter Olympics and just happy to be here in the summer ones. This year, we’re doing shockingly well!

Congrats to Canadian swimmer Penny Oleksiak, at 16, the youngest to score a gold in all of Canada’s Olympic history! She was rejected when she first tried out for a swim club. Now she is also the first Canadian to win four medals at a single Summer Games.

Penny Oleksiak and Simone Manuel tie for gold. Image Credit: TheStar.com
Penny Oleksiak and Simone Manuel tie for gold. Image Credit: TheStar.com

Also congrats to Canada’s Andre De Grasse! At a mere 1.75 m and 70 kg, he somehow managed to keep up with THE Usain Bolt, a towering 1.96 m and 94 kg. (for those comfy with feet and pounds, 5’9″ vs 6’5″ and 154 vs 209 lbs).

Andre De Grasse and Usain Bolt grin at the finish. Image credit: SB nation
Andre De Grasse and Usain Bolt grin at the finish of the 200 m. Image credit: SB nation

And let’s not forget Michael Phelps, our neighbor to the south who has not only won the most medals of ever, he’s also the oldest swimmer to win an Olympic gold.

What does the Hip and the Olympics have to do with greening healthcare, the main mantra of this here blog? That it’s never too soon or too late to do what you must do, and don’t get discouraged if you try and fail at first. Size doesn’t matter, but spirit and a smile go a long way. Also, in this crazy heat, go swimming!

Speaking of heat, here’s another peek at peaks since all large institutions (that’s us) get charged a fee based on our 5 worst hours of power in the year before. What we do now could raise or lower UHN’s electricity costs for all of next year (no pressure :)). Check your peaks at home too.

What to do?

  • Turn off what you don’t need, not just at day’s end, but in the middle to reduce that peak.
    • If you pass an empty room, switch off lights, TV, computer, AV display
    • If daylight is bright enough, turn off the light now
    • If you’ll be away for big stretches, you could turn off your computer and fan
    • Shift to later (7 pm-7 am) for high-energy appliances like dishwashers and dryers (maybe try a clothesline)
  • Is your area too cool now? at work, contact facilities to let them know the HVAC system is wasting electricity and needs balancing
    • If you have control, reduce the air conditioner to the high-side of normal temps
    • At home, use that programmable thermostat, and be a peaksaver too
  • Dress cool so you’re comfy in the heat.

Make saving electricity your own Olympic sport. Courage, and power to you!