HSAA Live Better Day - Energy, Opportunity and You

By Jessica Graham,
Behavioural Specialist, Alberta Hospital Edmonton,

Chair Ad Hoc Environment Committee

 

Have you …

  • Seen a Tesla dance?
  • Driven an electric car?
  • Experienced how sustainable energy works?
  • Learned about clean-energy incentives that can help you save money and live better?

 

If you attended the first HSAA Live Better Day: Energy, Opportunity, and You on Sept. 23 at on our main office in Edmonton, you have now!

The clean-energy themed event was open to HSAA members, their friends, and families and had two main components.

First was a tradeshow of local clean-energy initiatives and organizations, including the University of Alberta, City of Edmonton, Electric Vehicles Association, Evergreen and Gold Renewable Energy, Chevrolet and more.

As well as the dancing Tesla and other electric vehicles, we had experts on hand to show people emerging clean-energy technologies, such as how solar panels work. The tradeshow booths also provided information on clean-energy incentives you can take advantage of as part of the Government of Alberta’s climate-change plan. Information was also available on how HSAA was using technology and energy efficiency to save members’ money.

The second part of the event was a series of workshops and talks that were offered throughout the day by esteemed speakers including Dr. Joe Vipond with Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and David Dodge with Energy Efficiency Alberta, as well as several researchers from the Pembina Institute.

These workshops and presentations were able to provide more in-depth information and education on important topics including health and climate change, energy-efficiency options, climate change in Alberta, and jobs emerging from the green economy.

Members may ask why their union should be concerned with clean energy and climate change. The answer to that is twofold. 

As a union of health-care professionals, we need to be concerned with phenomena that impact global human health. In 2009, The Lancet, a leading British weekly peer-reviewed medical journal described climate change as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.

Health-related impacts of climate change include change in the range of infectious disease vectors; malnutrition due to decreased food yields; health impacts of extreme weather events; increased foodborne and waterborne illnesses; impacts to drinking water availability and quality; poor air quality leading to increases in cardio-respiratory morbidity and mortality, asthma and allergens.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 2030 and 2050, climate change could cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress, and billions of dollars in direct damage costs to health. 

Furthermore, as a labour union we need to be concerned with emerging opportunities for job creation.

Clean energy has mass potential for job creation. According to a report by the Alberta Green Economy Network (AGEN), Alberta has the potential to create more than 145,000 new jobs — 46,780 jobs in renewable energy, 68,400 jobs in energy efficiency, and 30,000-40,000 jobs in mass transit.

Investing in the low-carbon economy would put Albertans to work right away, while diversifying the economy, reducing pollution and health-care costs and building stronger and more resilient communities in the process.

Clean energy already employs more Americans than fossil production in almost every U.S. state and is creating more than twice as many new jobs across the country, according to an analysis by the Sierra Club. Worldwide, the International Renewable Energy Agency reported in May that renewable energy employed 9.8 million people last year—a number set to more than double to 24 million by 2030.

HSAA is taking the plunge into a greener, cleaner, healthier lifestyle. When will you?

For more information, read the pamphlet here (link to pdf of the Pembina/HSAA pamphlet. To find out about how to save on energy-efficiency products, click here. This program runs until Oct. 29. To find out about savings on home improvements, click here