By Austin Park
Call me a geek; I’ll gladly agree. Understanding science is cool, and understanding technology is cooler. Perhaps the only thing cooler than understanding technology is being able to use it without getting an engineering degree to learn how it works. Take the Hospital Sustainability Team’s latest project, for example. Each team member assembled a power point on a critical aspect of sustainability. Using a website builder, I compiled the sections and wrote a poppin’, snazzy web page in one weekend. I’ve never coded in my life, but hey, were it not for this blog, no one would ever know. And the best part is that within a month or so, workers at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center (RRMC) will begin enjoying that snazziness as they click their way through the brand new, UCLA-made Sustainability Education Module. It truly feels like that lightbulb moment I was hoping for — the one where I’m convinced our team is having a measurable, positive difference on the environment. If an entire army of healthcare professionals can learn from our module, you can too! Look out for the link in a future blog.
Patti All-Over Sustainability
Our team has been driven to find out just how sustainable RRMC’s food is. On the UCLA health system's sustainability website, “sustainable” means meeting one item from their list of criteria. Criteria range from “local” to “grass-fed”. Unfortunately, these terms are weak and ambiguous. “Local” can mean within 100 miles or 5,000 miles, and the minimum requirement for grass-fed meat is that it has eaten grass once — that’s right, once — in its life. We are not devaluing the progress RRMC is making, but rather being careful in concluding that it is real, veritable progress. To help with that evaluation, team leaders met this week with RRMC’s Chief Clinical Dietitian, Patti Oliver, and received a crash course proving how awesome and dedicated she and her coworkers are. Here are a few examples:
- UCLA serves no fried foods. The price of the salad bar has decreased from $6.99 to $4.99.
- Meatless Mondays. There is signage in the front of the cafeteria with ten reasons to eat less meat. There is also a healthy Green Apple Program to identify the healthiest entrees (the healthiest foods has a label of 4 green apples). Goal = less than 500 calories, less than 500 mg sodium, less than 5 grams of added sugar.
- Sustainable food purchases. UCLA reached 24% sustainable food.
- Waste, recycling, and compost bins for workers.
- Reusable coffee mugs can be purchased and workers can also bring their own mugs.
In other news, finals are expected to end the world in approximately one week. Until next time. If there is a next time. Back to you, Tom.
Image courtesty of http://hungryherbivore.wordpress.com/