Celebrating Bike Month

HAPPY BIKE MONTH! May 27th marked the “bike to work day”, hope it was an enjoyable one! The 30th annual Bike to Work Day Group Commute & Pancake Breakfast in Toronto took place on the 27th. Bike riders met at Yonge and Charles bright and early and biked to Nathan Phillips Square, where they enjoyed breakfast!

On a global scale, approximately 100 million bicycles are made every single year. Bicycles are not only an excellent means of exercise, but they also help in encouraging sustainable transportation. They are emission free, and are one of the 24 ways that we outlined that can help in combating climate change!

UHN Bike Session held at PMCRT in 2017

Here at the UHN, we will be hosting two of our own events celebrating Bike Month as well.

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/road-rules-101-tickets-62323791137

Road Rules 101: Thursday, June 13th, 12 – 1

550 University Ave, Lecture Theatre

Ever had any questions about cyclist’s responsibilities and rights? Want to learn more about your rights as a cyclist? If so, come out to “Road Rules” session on June 13! During this session, you will learn about the rules, responsibilities and being a cyclist. Topics include – laws and fines that apply to both cyclists and drivers, sharing space with pedestrians and other road users, common misconceptions about turns, parking, passing, right of way and more. You will also get the opportunity to ask questions!

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/basic-bike-maintenance-tickets-62325548393

Basic Bike Maintenance: Thursday June 20, 12 – 1 pm

Toronto General Hospital, Elizabeth St Entrance

Have any questions concerns about how to maintain your bike? Or simply just want to get more informed? Come by to this session, as expert bike mechanic will provide insight on how to maintain your bike. Topics include – safety checks, assessing air pressure, flat tires, tightening brakes, lubing chains, and ensuring your bike is the right fit. Open to all UHN staff and volunteers.

I wanna walk down to Electric Avenue

20190523_113302-copy2Or drive it in an electric car, natch. We’re having some pretty major electric dreams right now as (drum-roll please)…

We just installed 36 new Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations at UHN!  We have Tesla wall connectors and Universal (J1772 Connector) charging stations so they can be used by all kinds of EVs. Best part? There is no extra cost to charge your car. Just pay for parking, and power up.

Where?

Toronto General Hospital: Elizabeth Street Lot:

  • 16 Tesla Vehicle charging stations
  • 8 Universal (J1772 Connector) charging stations for other EVs

Toronto Western Hospital: Leonard Street Lot:

  • 8 Tesla Vehicle charging stations (Tesla Wall Connectors)
  • 4 Universal (J1772 Connector) charging stations for other EVs

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Though all charging stations have been manufactured by Tesla, you can distinguish the universal charging stations by the much longer cord and by generic EV signage. These charging stations are split between staff and patient/visitor parking so everyone can benefit.

GenericEV and sign

Generic EV signage denotes the universal charging stations. Note the longer cord.

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These signs will help prevent ICEing. ICE=Internal Combustion Engines parking in these spots and blocking EVs from charging there. ICEing wastes a valuable resource.

As we know from Mike’s post, climate change is a health care issue. In Ontario, gas-powered transportation is responsible for the most Green House Gas (GHG) emissions that cause climate change, not to mention, the pollution that causes asthma, lung cancer and other respiratory illness. Yikes! Switching to clean-air transportation heals patients and planet simultaneously, right up our alley.

A top reason I’ve heard people pause before transitioning to electric is range anxiety. This surge in EV charging infrastructure really breaks that down. Staff know they can charge their cars at work (and make their home electric bills even smaller), and visitors know that not only are they brightening a patient’s day, they are powering up while they visit. Let’s not forget the added convenience of not having to go to a glamorous gas station anymore.

A recent look at Plugshare, the google maps of EV charging stations, shows there are lots of charging options now (though the yellow highlighted ones are particularly sweet :).

plugshare

There is more good news. Not only can you charge up in UHN garages, the Canadian Federal Government will give you $5,000 cash back if you buy a reasonable electric car or other zero-emissions vehicle. Sweet!!! This breaks down the other barrier to EVs, the higher up-front costs. Good to note that EVs pay for themselves sooner than you’d think; no gas and far lower maintenance costs, plus a super peppy and quiet ride. I’ll stop gushing now :).

This was one of my favorite projects to work on yet! It is the culmination of an amazing collaboration between UHN’s FM-PRO team (which houses us in Energy & Environment) and Tesla Motors Canada ULC as part of the Tesla Destination Charging Program. A big thank you to all of the people involved, including Ron Swail, Susan Grove, John Latam, Roula Boultadakis, Tameru Tesfaye, Stewart Dankner, Karl Karvonen, John Soares, Chris Read, Brent Kurliak, Eusra Amin, Joe Lopes, Emily Martins, Todd Milne, Carl Valentine, Perry Ross, Ed Rubinstein, Mike Kurz, Mehdi Motakefpour, Robert Reti, Angela Elia, Liliana Vilela-Andre, Tony Letterio, Daniel Valadares and the JML team.

 

P.S. Here is the official website for the Government of Canada $5,000 Zero Emissions Vehicle Rebate. Or you can skip straight to the list of eligible vehicles

http://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/road/innovative-technologies/zero-emission-vehicles.html

P.P.S: Misheard song lyrics alert:  Eddy Grant’s song is actually “We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue”. Not walk :). Thank you, helpful readers!   

 

Patient and Planetary Care – Why Waste Reduction in our Hospitals Matters

By Meghan Kerr and Nicole Green, UofT MD Class of 2021 and current Operation Green volunteers

meghan n nicoleOver the 2018-2019 school year we have had the privilege of actively tackling hospital waste reduction as coordinators of the Operation Green program across the University Health Network. This role has been challenging, rewarding, and elucidating as we coordinated a UHN-wide program, met health care workers committed to sustainable healthcare, and physically lugged boxes and bags of unused medical equipment across hospital floors to pass on to Not Just Tourists for redistribution to areas of need. Continue reading

A deeper look into Earth Week(s) at the UHN

With Earth Week(s) here at the UHN completed, we can definitely say it was a success, with over 350 ballots filled and even more visitors! We travelled with our Earth Week Booth all over UHN, with Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Centre Research Tower, and OPG boasting the highest volumes of engaged booth visitors. Lots of employees walked away with more knowledge and a pack of seeds to help get their garden started! The graph below shows the engagement at the various sites in comparison to each other.

Graph depicts the engagement at the various sites visited

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A Deeply Cool Year in Energy & Environment

A Deeply Cool Year in Energy & Environment

Energy & Environment … two great concepts and the department that makes up our Talkin’ Trash with UHN team. Our 2018 annual report infographic is a vibrant look at how we support patient care through a sustainable environment. Enjoy the scroll …

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Earth Week(s) Climate Challenge

Spring has (finally) sprung, and guess what’s coming? Hint: what’s even better than a 4-day weekend? Earth Week, of course!

click here for the earth week calendar

Now, our guest of honour has been having a rough time of late. Climate change is looming large, and many of us don’t know where to start. Luckily, we got your back and have put together a solid list of 24 ways you can act on climate right now.

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Climate Change is a Health Care Issue

A lack of progress in reducing emissions and building adaptive capacity threatens both human lives and the viability of the national health systems they depend on, with the potential to disrupt core public health infrastructure and overwhelm health services.

This is not a quote from Greenpeace, Al Gore, or David Suzuki. It is from The Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. More and more health organizations are recognizing climate change as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Canadian health organizations, such as the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, and others are urging decisive action from political and business leaders, institutions, and individuals to reign in CO2 emissions that are causing climate change.

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Flash Flooding in Toronto. Photo Source

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