Yesterday I was talking to Doug Erickson, CEO at Facility Guidelines Institute and a great friend of mine–he asked me about my reaction to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement. I told him it was best if I bit my tongue about the things our President is doing, and so I will! (For those interested in an objective analysis, I refer you to this article in Scientific American Magazine.)
But I did want to reflect on something related. I remember almost a decade ago, the leaders of ASHE, AHE, and AHRMM asked me to help them build a Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals. I was incredibly honored to be selected, and one of the things that we did was build a philosophical framework for that effort. Because ASHE represents people from all over – coast to coast – we needed to create a set of “politic-free” tools that would help people regardless of political persuasion. We wanted to avoid things that tore us apart as a country and focus only on things that brought us together. I have always been committed to this vision, and I remain so today.
To that end, we never emphasized climate change. Instead, we tried to focus on ways to eliminate waste in the context of all of the other things that demand attention of busy healthcare professionals. We tried to focus on ways to eliminate wasted energy, wasted water, wasted waste. We tried to help support the economic imperatives of the AHA member organizations – avoid added cost and help each member invest in things that helped them achieve their missions.
I am proud that this spirit continues in the AHA programs, and, frankly, infuses the work of our people at Mazzetti. Don’t misunderstand – I am, personally, an ardent tree-hugger. Mazzetti, making sure to walk the talk, has been carbon neutral for almost a decade. We would never suggest that someone do something we wouldn’t do first. As I wrote last week, we are proud to move the codes and help hospitals like Stanford build the most sustainable hospitals possible. With most major companies in the country, we were among the first signatories to the new CERES/E2 open letter on climate change. But, like ASHE, we don’t sit in judgement of anyone. We are committed to meeting people where they are, to help them to do as well as they are comfortably able to do, to benefit them, their clients, and our world.
I recall hearing some concerns on saving energy–one California official told me, “my grandmother will be on the table lit by candles because we want to save a little energy.” That is, some people think that there is a necessary conflict between clinical efficacy and sustainability. The great people of ASHE and AHRMM and AHE, and, frankly, our clients, have shown us that this untrue. And in the same way, the fear that there is some kind of inherent conflict between economics and protecting the air we all breathe, is equally untrue.
I (we) remain committed to helping our clients achieve their mission. We remain committed to helping, whenever possible, to eliminating waste in all its forms. And, not only are we walking the walk – we hope we are leading by example. Everything is possible, if we decide to make it so.
Let’s light candles. Together.
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