Like many fellow Canadians, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks watching athletes from around the world perform amazing physical feats as part of the Rio Olympic Games.
Unlike most fellow Canadians, however, I was probably the only one thinking of how I could capture the energy and excitement of the Games to write about sustainable transportation. Sure, there were probably a couple of high-school physics teachers figuring out how Andre De Grasse’s silver and bronze medal dashes, at speeds that would get him a ticket on my street, could be used to explain things like velocity, acceleration and power…but how could I relate his running to the importance of clean commuting? And Allison Beveridge, Laura Brown, Jasmin Glaesser, Kristi Lay, and Georgia Simmerling peddling their way to bronze in cycling’s team track pursuit…what does that have to do with active transportation?
I was stumped…how was I going to hurdle this barrier? I mean, with an Olympic amount (23%) of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from transportation, (almost twice as much as from buildings) and the majority coming from road transportation, it’s an important topic to discus, isn’t it? So, after wrestling with this for some time, I figured I might as well just dive right in and start paddling towards…
UHN’s Sustainable Transportation Olympics
Turns out, with clean-commuting, everybody wins a medal. Also turns out, fortunately, that medals are not handed out for writing clichés. Here are some of the main ways you can clean commute to/from/around UHN.
- Active transportation: Active transportation is pretty much what it sounds like – using your own energy to transport yourself, be it walking, running, cycling, pogo sticking, ice skating or whatever. It’s good for your body, it’s good for your mind, it’s good for your wallet, and it’s good for the environment. Gold medal for sure. Check out the Cycling@UHN page for the latest in UHN bicycle activities, or the Bicycle Parking at UHN page for information on where to store your ride when at work (link available only for those with access to UHN’s intranet) .
- Public transportation: Okay, maybe not always good for your mind and body, but definitely good for your wallet and the environment…and gives you a chance to catch up on your email, reading and Candy Crush. A solid silver. Check out the Triplinx trip planner, because in the GTHA saying you “can’t get there from here” is not an option anymore. And don’t forget about UHN’s TTC VIP program (UHN intranet) for discounted Metropasses.
- Carpooling: All the comforts of driving, at a fraction of the cost (less gas, less insurance, less parking to pay for), and built-in coffee buddies to boot. Strong showing for the bronze. Start with the UHN Carpool Zone (UHN intranet).
And should you want to be a Clean Commuting Tri-athlete, the new Smart Commute tool allows you to enter your starting point, destination…and then gives you all of your sustainable transportation options, including potential carpool matches.
Links to the Outside – Almost-End of-Summer Reading Edition
- Active commuting is good for your body, but active commuting through pollution is not so good…which creates a sort of chicken-and-egg problem
- Active commuting is good for your mind.
- Check out Toronto Public Health’s newly launched activeTO.ca page for information on “free and accessible physical activities in Toronto”. You’ve probably heard about the Rio Olympic Games’ message on climate change…but did you hear about Olympic athlete David Katoatau’s dance telling the story of how his home island of Kiribati is disappearing under rising oceans?