"They Don't See the Harm"

"They Don't See the Harm"

by Carol Baroudi

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.@CleanMed conference focused on healthcare/environment http://3bl.me/8yxxeh panel presentation with @carol_baroudi from @ArrowGlobal
Friday, May 22, 2015 - 10:20am

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CleanMed 2015, Portland, Oregon. Keynote speaker Robin Guenther says that organizations are impeded from doing the right thing more by attitude than lack of funds. “They don’t see the harm” and thus do not see the need to act. When they see, they act, and often find solutions that may ultimately save money.

CleanMed is about creating healthy environments and is the leading conference on healthcare and the environment. This community of healthcare professionals and hospital leaders has been actively working toward health and well-being inside healthcare facilities for more than a decade.

This year CleanMed took aim at climate change. The spotlight frequently fell on this graphic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing the health impacts of climate change.

To combat climate change, hospitals are looking at energy efficiency, of course, but also toward eliminating the enormous amount of waste they produce. In the U.S., it’s calculated at 5.9 million tons per year. And amid that waste is e-waste.

The same hospitals that lead environmental stewardship in their communities as well as in the CleanMed community have understood the health hazards associated with mishandling of electronics for nearly 15 years. Yet every year new professionals and new organizations come to CleanMed to get a quick education in the intersection of health and environmental sustainability.

This year I was on a terrific panel with such leaders – Sister Mary Ellen Leciejewski, director of ecology at Dignity Health; Vanessa Lochner, director of environmentally preferable purchasing at Kaiser Permanente; and Sarah O’Brien, director of global community development at the Green Electronics Council. We covered soup to nuts topics for understanding the environmental implications of purchasing and handling electronics, concluding with a vision for taking electronics environmental stewardship to a higher level.

CATEGORY: Environment