Thursday, April 14, 2011

It’s Not Easy, Being Green…But It's The Right Thing To Do

Over the past several months, I’ve talked a lot about taking care of the healthcare needs of the community and providing care that we would expect for our own loved ones to ensure a better, healthier future. You’ve also heard me talk about “doing the right thing” for our patients. This week I’d like to talk about how GBMC is doing the right thing in another way – by being “Green.” We have quite a robust Green Team at GBMC made up of a wide variety of employees who are helping to create a brighter future not only for our community, but for our planet.  We celebrate Earth Day on April 22 and our team has been busy working on the second annual Earth Day event, which will be held at GBMC on Thursday, April 21.
When I first talked to the leader of the Green Team, Mike Forthman, and later met with other members of the team, it struck me that these individuals are really passionate about their efforts. And I must say that over the past two years since the team was established at the hospital, they have achieved some pretty amazing results. They have implemented energy conservation and recycling programs to reduce waste (and waste reduction is something I’m really keen on, as many of you know). In fact, I was amazed to find out that at last year’s Earth Day event, we collected 133 pounds of household batteries, 77 cell phones and 104 pairs of eyeglasses for recycling! The team also introduced healthy living options including installation of a bike rack to encourage more staff who live nearby to bike to work and, in tandem with Keith Sappington and our dietary team, healthier food options in the cafeteria, including locally grown produce.

I know many of you are looking forward to the start of the GBMC Farmer’s Market, which was first introduced last year. I’m told this year the market will be even bigger as the team collaborates with more local farmers, and some of these farmers will be on hand at the Earth Day event, so check them out! The Farmer’s Market, and many of the green activities the team participates in throughout the year, clearly demonstrates our collaboration with other community leaders as well as other hospitals throughout the state through our membership in Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (MD H2E).  
We often think of ourselves as partners in health with our community, but we’re also partners in the health and sustainability of our environment. Not only are our efforts far reaching and long lasting, but so are our actions. I’m proud of the responsibility we are taking to ensure the future health of our community…in more ways than one.  
Employees - Visit the Green Team pages on the GBMC Infoweb to learn more about next week’s big Earth Day event and how you can take part in GBMC’s green efforts.
What are you doing to be green, either at work or at home? Share your ideas!


  1. You seem to have had a very successful Earth Day pickup! It's always nice to hear about wonderful events such as that, even if they aren't local to me. Hoping for similar or better results again this year!

  2. I'm happy that we have a green team and encourage others to be more green! :)

    I was told that the black plastic bowls/platters used for food in meetings in other areas (conference rooms)were thrown away after the meetings, or do you recycle the them?

  3. The Earth Day celebration is always a lot of fun and it gets better every year. REALLY liked the addition of the Farmers' Market on campus last year! Would also like to see more vendors like the cupcake truck come here. We can't leave during the day, and even if we could there is nothing close enough to walk to. The mountain needs to come to Mohammed! And it's good for morale. Thanks.

  4. Switched to rubber mulch from recyled tires. Paying little more for it; however, the color lasts for 12 yrs. Also prefer using rubber mulch for plants in close proximity to home to avoid infestation of termites. This is a win/win!

  5. We have a recycling can in our office and our staff fills it with paper, plastic and glass left over from their lunches. Rebecca Denison then takes it home with her and adds it to her household recycling. The Geckle Center is doing our best to be Green too!

  6. With the rising gas prices I would like to see HR help employees coordinate car-pooling. This would be green for the environment, green for our pockets AND free up precious parking spots for our patients/visitors.

  7. It would be great to have changing/freshen up rooms somewhere if individuals did ride their bikes in. I know it would be tricky to pull off, but when you wear a suit everyday - it's hard to also ride a bike in.

  8. I've gotten into the habit of turning off my monitor and desktop printer whenever I'm away from my desk during the day (and in the evenings when I leave).

    At home, I recycle or compost about the same amount as I throw away.


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