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A Winning Strategy for Sustainability

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PHSA’s Energy and Environmental Sustainability team hit the jackpot with their recent Energy Wise BINGO campaign to encourage sustainable practices at work and home. 

At the start of the year, PHSA staff were invited to play, win and save the planet with the ‘Green at Home, Green at Work’ BINGO campaign which was created to motivate and educate staff about the small but smart choices they can make to reduce their carbon footprint and combat climate change. Funded by BC Hydro and FortisBC, the BINGO campaign was an idea developed by the EES Energy team with support from Energy Wise Network and Prism Engineering Limited. 

The custom BINGO card featured ‘green’ actions on each of the 25 squares, as well as general tips on sustainability. Staff were invited to complete weekly challenges and upon completion of five actions across the BINGO card, were entered to win prizes, including zero-waste kits for self-care, groceries, kitchen cleaning, and more. “I was intrigued by the different tiles and wondered how many I could do,” says Norman Chow, research assistant, BC Cancer.

In total, 40 staff members signed up with 18 staff completing at least five actions in a row.

It seemed like fun, it was for a good cause, and it was easy enough to do,” says Linda Dix-Cooper, health-care project manager, PHSA Provincial Specialized Programs. 

With the added element of friendly competition, the campaign was a successful push in the right direction for many. For example, Charlene Reid, a procurement buyer at Acute Surgical Intervention, is living more sustainably by reducing her meat intake and consuming at least two plant-based meals a week. Justine Chow, a research assistant at BC Cancer, is committing to turning down the temperature before going to bed and carpooling to work. And Narvi Oliva, a unit clerk at BC Cancer, also now buys her fruits and veggies from local farmers markets. Narvi adds: “It’s striking how small changes can have such a huge impact to the environment and ourselves.” 

The campaign organizers and participants are excited about the results and what they can do in the future. For Stefan Iwasawa, a project coordinator at the BC Centre for Disease Control, part of the motivation for signing up was showing his support for more programs like this and building momentum. “I know the more of us that take part, the more promotion the event will receive and the better the chance of more events like this taking place.” He’s now looking into signing up for the regional Green+Leader’s program.  

However, some old habits die hard, and the campaign organizers recognize that sustainability is not just fun and games. More can — and should — happen to motivate sustainable actions from individual staff and the organization. 

Narvi of BC Cancer says her journey is a work in progress:  “I was not as mindful before as I am now with my life choices, but I am glad that I have improved and continue improving.”